Of all the pesky winged pests, sand flies are the absolute worst.
Also known under the monikers sand gnats, punkies, biting midges, and no-see-ums, these undeniably annoying tiny flies are very similar to mosquitoes as they like to bite and feast on blood. The difference? Unlike mosquitoes which are usually big enough to swat away with your hand, sand flies are super small, extremely hard to see, and can easily slip through the nooks and crannies of windows, doors, and even regular mesh screens.
If these pesky pests are driving you crazy (rightfully so), take a deep breath and keep reading. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about sand flies so you can get rid of them once and for all.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
But First, What Exactly Are Sand Flies?
Simply put, sand flies are small bloodsucking gnats, usually no bigger than ⅛ inch long. However, while they may be very small in size, don’t let that fool you— these relentless insects pack quite the punch when they bite, often leaving behind a red itchy bump or welt.
Hold Up— Are Sand Flies and Mosquitoes the Same Thing?
The adult sand fly is so tiny that it makes a mosquito look like a giant next to it. But other than their size, the two insects are fairly similar.
- Both bugs are after your blood
- Only the females are known to bite
- When they do bite, both pests inject their saliva, which works to thin the blood and prevent it from clotting while they feed
- The males of both species feed on sweet sugary plant nectar
Unlike mosquitos, however, sand flies are known to attack humans and animals in huge swarms. They commonly bite the face, scalp, or hands of their victims, but they’re really not all that picky and will feast on any area of exposed skin.
In addition, sand flies can’t see at night, so they rarely bite in the dark.
OK. Where Do They Live?
Sandflies need humid environments to thrive, and, as their name implies, they prefer sandy areas around beaches, mangroves, and lagoons. The females will also lay eggs in moist soils around lakes, ponds, streams, creeks, and even dripping air conditioners.
That being said, although larvae are active all throughout the year, the adults become most active from June through August (summertime) and enjoy catching a meal around sunset and sunrise.
Do Sand Flies Carry Disease?
Apart from feeding on blood like itty-bitty vampires, sand flies can carry diseases that can easily be transferred through the bug’s saliva. Chief among such diseases is leishmaniasis, caused by the Leishmania parasite found in sand flies.
Other icky diseases transmitted by these awful insects include:
- Chagres virus
- Carrion's disease
- Toscana virus
- Punta Toro virus
- Oroya Fever
- Sandfly fever virus
Needless to say, a sand fly’s bite can cause quite a few complications, which is why it’s of the utmost importance to get rid of them and fast.
How To Kick Sand Flies to the Curb
When dealing with a sand fly infestation, it’s best to treat both indoor and outdoor environments because they can infiltrate almost every inch of space around you. Getting rid of the little bloodsuckers can be tough, but with our tips below, you’ll be sandfly-free in no time.
Tip# 1: Vacuum, Vacuum, and Vacuum Again
Whip out your handy-dandy vacuum and get to work on every nook and cranny of the house — especially carpets. Vacuuming has been proven to kill adults and their eggs.
Tip# 2: Steam Clean Everything
Steam cleaning is another great way to kill eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult sand flies. You see, sand flies can’t survive at very high temperatures, and seeing as the temperature from a good steam clean can rise up to a toasty 300 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s easy to see how this method can quickly eradicate the annoying intruders.
Tip# 3: Use BuzzPatch from The Natural Patch Co.
Avoid harsh chemicals like DEET and arm your little ones with BuzzPatch. Made with all-natural ingredients to confuse the pesky bloodsuckers and designed specifically for kids, our repellent patches are not only safe and extremely easy to apply, but they are environment-friendly, too! Plus, they smell amazing — what’s not to love?
Say Goodbye To Sand Flies — The Natural Way
Here at The Natural Patch Co., we understand the importance of shielding our defenseless little monsters from these bloodsucking, disease-laden pests. However, we also know how terrible harsh chemicals like DEET can be. That’s why we created BuzzPatch — an all-natural, non-toxic repellent patch.
Infused with a healthy combo of Citronella and other kid-friendly essential oils, BuzzPatch is safe, easy to use, smells great, and, most importantly, effective.