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7 Ways to Stop Sandfly Bites


How to not get bitten by sandflies.

The best way to avoid the pesky sand flies is to stay indoors for the length of the New Zealand summer. But we all know that this is not going to happen. New Zealand is an outdoorsy country after all! So what else can you do to stop sandfly bites?

Sandflies are about the same problem in New Zealand than mosquitoes anywhere else. Some people get bitten like crazy, while the lucky ones are just sitting next to them laughing. Some people have allergic reactions to it, while some have a couple of small bites that barely itch. But don’t worry, sand flies are not everywhere. They tend to hang out near the rivers, lakes and the beaches along the West Coast of the South Island (with a few stragglers elsewhere).

In this article, we will give you a few ideas on how to avoid getting bitten by sandflies but beforehand, let us give you the best tip of the day. If you get bitten by sandflies and rub a dry bar of soap on it for about 2 minutes to ease the itch. Read our series of Life Hacks to Make Travelling in New Zealand Easier for more good stuff like that.


1. Pray for Wind and Rain

Sandflies cannot handle wind. It simply locks them where they are and they are unable to take off. So pick a windy day or a windy spot by the river and you will be much less annoyed by the flying insects.


2. Keep moving

An early Maori legend says that sandflies were created to punish laziness and it is easy to see where the legend comes from. Sandflies tend to go crazy on people that just sit there and wait. However, keen hikers that are constantly moving or beach-goers that are having fun in and around the water seem to be much less attractive. So keep active and stay sand fly free!


3. Eat Marmite

Ok, let’s face it, only a few can handle the smell of marmite, let alone its taste. However, with marmite being rich in vitamin B, it is proven to be an excellent insect repellent after only a few days of eating it. Our tip is to mix a bit or marmite with a huge spoon of jam to dilute the taste.


4. Vitamin B tablets

So you’ve tried Marmite and told yourself that it was not worth it? We get it, you have to be a tough Kiwi to like Marmite… Your alternative is vitamin B tablet. This will help you raise your vitamin B intake almost instantly and hopefully keep the sandflies away from you.


5. Use insect repellent

There are ton of insect repellents on the market, from the hardcore chemical ones that will kill you before it kills the sand flies to the one that smells like a candle but is not effective at all. Your best bet is to wait to be in New Zealand and get an insect repellent in one of our local pharmacies. You will find that the insect repellent sold here work much better on sand flies than your European or North American one.


6. Wear long sleeves

That’s a bit of an obvious one but if you keep your skin covered, the sand flies can’t come and bite it. So set aside a few light long sleeve layers when packing for your gap year in New Zealand so you have something to wear in summer when the sandflies are out.


7. Travel in the shoulder and off season

Sandflies tend to be out only in summer. It is pretty rare to find sand flies outside of October to March. So that’s just another great reason to travel in the shoulder and off season in New Zealand. You’ll have a great time in New Zealand, plus you’ll have a bite-free trip!


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