Friday, 20 November 2009

The Truth about Sandflies

I will tell you something 'not so nice' about New Zealand but something you definitely have to know.
Imagine this scene: you travel with your family around New Zealand. You find a beautiful spot to make a break. You stop next to a river, the sun is shining and there is no wind at all. PERFECT - you think. 'Here we are going to have a little picnic'.

But then: you place yourself comfortably and start to get relaxed and all the sudden, you are under attack! There are tiny little creatures, flying around, black in color and they are here to suck your blood. Sandflies...

Their name is not a good choice, if you ask me; they should be called 'Tyrant-Flies' or something like it. I don't like them at all...
They usually go for your feet or your arms and fingers. They love the spots just at the end of your pants or right there where your ring stops to protect your skin from exposure. They adore to leave their little red spots behind which start to itch after a while. What ever you do: DON'T - under NO circumstances - start to SCRATCH. You will not be able to stop!
The worst part is that the actual sting of the nasty biests really hurts while the feed off you. It feels like someone would use a little needle to pierce your skin - just awful!

But: there is help. You can use a New Zealand insect repellent to hold them off. I observed that local repellents are more efficient for the Sandflies compared to the ones you bring from home. You can buy insect repellents in every Pharmacy. And hey, they work :-)

On occations, those little Sandflies are in Skippers, too. They usually come out and 'torture' us when the air is still moist from rain and as said, if there is no wind. They are carried away with the wind and therefore are not able to land on you. But as soon as the wind is gone, you will not be able to protect yourself without the repellent. On our Skippers Canyon Tours, we usually cary those repellents with us.

History though tells us that the little Sandflies have been living in New Zealand since ... forever. We can find remarks about them in Captain Cook's adventure books, as he re-discovered New Zealand in 1769. Abel Tasman discovered our beautiful country in 1642 for the first time.

At the end of the day, I believe you will still very much enjoy your stay in Skippers and New Zealand, despite of the Sandflies. They are at least not poisonous. The itching of the stings will disappear after a few days, but your memory of the experience will last.


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