SAND FLIES: WHERE ARE THEY AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF?

Sand flies, small flies, parrots, beach flies, many are the names that identify the hateful insect that often ruins the holidays of those who go to tropical areas. These gnats can’t be seen, can’t be heard, don’t make any noise, you don’t even realize you’ve been stung…until you suddenly find yourself full of red stings that itch annoyingly. Itching that differs from that of the mosquito bite because instead of disappearing in a few hours persists for days… Sand flies tend not to be dangerous because they do not transmit malaria, but in some rare cases they can be carriers of leishmaniasis.

Where are sand flies?

Unfortunately in all tropical paradises, as they share the same hot and humid climate. However, the areas where the most reports of “massacred” tourists arrive are Honduras (for example the island of Roatan), the cayos of Belize, the islands of Thailand and Cambodia, the Caribbean and the Seychelles.

The Maldives are relatively safe with few flies.

Many large resorts “clean up” their beaches but some precautions must be followed because no pest control is fully functional. It should also be noted that in many countries pest control is prohibited, to protect the ecological balance of the environment.

How to avoid being bitten by sand flies?

The basic rule is to get away from the beach before sunset, now when the gnats are unleashed. Better to enjoy an aperitif on the terrace, preferably dressed. So the hours of sunshine in the tropics start early in the morning!
Sand flies love beaches where vegetation almost reaches the sea. So it is better to have an umbrella and avoid being in the shade under the plants, especially after a downpour.


Mosquito repellents are useless because these insects do not smell. Many people suggest sprinkling plenty of Johnson oil. The usefulness would be that because of the slime of the skin the gnats can not sting.
Avoid lying in the vicinity of wrecks and any kind of rotten wood (even a tree trunk). The same is true for piles of dry algae and the like.

There are a lot of natural products that can scare away the smell of mosquitoes and flies. These are essential oils of Siberian fir, cloves, lavender, anise, geranium, eucalyptus, citronella, valeriana. They can be applied to clothes, drop on hair, on wrists, on curtains, on window frames or door jam, before going to bed to drip on the edges of pillowcases for yourself and your child.

Or there are more effective sand flies repellent. They are applied to the skin or clothes. Repellents are divided into olfactory and contact repellents. The former act on insect receptors that perceive the smell. The latter work when blood-sucking insects come into contact with skin or treated clothing. That is, by applying them, a person simply becomes unpleasant for insects. Repellents are available as creams, lotions, emulsions, and aerosols.


Not everyone is bitten by sand flies! And the effect of the bites depends on your allergic predisposition.