Sand Fly Repellent

Insect spray can be effective for a time.
Insect spray can be effective for a time. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Sand flies are active during daylight hours and can turn into a real hassle. Their bites are itchier than those of a mosquito. They travel in swarms, but they are not very fast: You can walk away from them and they will not be able to catch up unless you walk very slowly.

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Chemical Repellents

Chemical repellents against sandflies can be bought in supermarkets and pharmacies. The most common ingredient in chemical repellents is DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). Chemical repellents can come as a cream or as spray. The cream has to be applied to your skin evenly. You only have to cover the skin that will be exposed.

The sprays can either be used on your skin or on your clothing. If you use it on your skin, spray some of it on your skin and then use your hands to smooth the product evenly. For clothes, just spray some of the product on your clothing evenly. Do not apply too much; there is no need to soak your clothing as it will not increase the effect.

Repellents should be applied before you enter a zone that is known to be sand fly territory; reapply according to the instructions on the product packaging.

Natural Repellents

For people who either do not like chemical repellents or for pregnant women, some natural repellents might help. Sand flies do not like certain oil smells; citrus, eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint and clove oil work for many people. The disadvantage to oils is that you have to reapply them at least every two hours.

Some believe that a high vitamin B content in your body may make you less of a target for sand flies. If you want to try that method, start eating vitamin B-rich products a couple of days before you enter a sandfly-rich zone. Foods that have a high vitamin B content are bananas, avocados, beef, Brazil nuts and kefir. Or take vitamin B supplement pills.

Sandflies don't like citrus smells.
Sandflies don't like citrus smells. (Image: Images)


Sand flies are attracted to dark clothing and sweet-smelling perfumes. If you avoid wearing dark clothing and can live without wearing your perfume, you can lower your chances of turning into a sand fly's victim. You can also decrease the risk of being bitten by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts.


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