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Sand Fly Facts & Bites: How to Get Rid of These Blood-Sucking Summer Nightmare

Sandfly isolated on white background.

Sandfly is the term used for the flies that belong to the group of flying, biting, and blood-sucking dipterans that usually reside in the sandy parts of the globe. They are known by different names in different parts of the world. Some of their genres are large enough like the horse flies, while there are others which are as small as the midges like the Old-World sand flies. The females are more aggressive than the males, and it is usually the female that bites which can result in severe skin rashes.

【Read  more about Flies】

Basic Information About Sand Fly

In order to protect yourself from the infectious bites by the sand fly, it is essential to know that where it lives and how it spends its life. Below you will find key biological features related to the sand fly.

  1. Appearance & Size

The sand fly falls under the family psychodid which has five more subfamilies. Among these psychodid subfamilies, only the sand fly is known for its sharp mouthparts that can pierce deep into the skin to suck the blood of the subject. They have long bodies, delicate anatomy and biologically known as the phlebotomine. Their outer appearance shows a hairy body with two large sized eyes in the head region and a pair of wings attached to the body. The overall measurement of the body is not more than 1.5 to 3.5 mm. The wings contrary to other flies are stand at an angle of 40 degrees in a rest position or while sucking the blood.

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  1. Behavior & Habit

The local climate of the née area directly affects the behavior of the sand flies. The fluctuations in temperature, humidity and the amount of rain have an influence on the lives of the sand flies. The lesser the temperature, the lesser will be the number of flies n the region. Some species are abundantly found all over the year in the tropical regions. The adult sand flies are not good fliers. They fly in a horizontal direction and stay close to the ground. The feeding options also vary from species to species, but their major hosts include the dogs, livestock’s, rodents and the human beings.

  1. Distribution & Habitat

Geographically they are found in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. They are found between the 50°N and 40°S latitudes, but the population reduces in the case of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. They are the dwellers of the hot and the humid environment. They find it comfortable to stay in the savanna and the semi-desert regions of the world. The eggs develop into larvae in the humid climate while the larvae then develop in a comparatively cooler and humid atmosphere.

  1. Lifecycle & Damages

Adult sand flies don’t take much time to mate when they grow into an adult. The males use a special tracking chemical called the pheromones that help in finding out the females that are close to the resting locations or sitting on the vertebrates. A female after mating produces not more than 30 to 70 eggs during a single gonotrophic cycle. The eggs are kept safe in the tiny openings like the holes, cracks or burrows. As the eggs get proper environmental conditions like the humidity, they hatch into the larvae. In general, a female lays a single batch of eggs after having a single feast f blood.

Sand Fly Painful Bites

Although sand flies feed on the nectar of the flowers, the blood of the animals and human beings also makes a good portion of their food. They bite the host causing minor to major complications.

1. Symptoms

The sand fly bites can be painful. Once the host is bitten, it faces an itchy and uncomfortable pain followed by the reddening of the skin. Bumps start appearing. In some severe cases, blisters are also reported. If the harsh conditions stay unattended, they can transform into skin inflammation and dermatitis. The bites have following symptoms:

  • Itching and pain

At the earliest stage, the host suffers mild to severe itching. If the itching prolongs the skin starts reddening, then you will feel the pain in the affected regions.

  • Fever and infections in the area

Many hosts are not immune or resistant enough, so they encounter severe conditions once the sand fly bites them. It includes skin infections followed by the episodes of fever.

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  • Red welts and lesions develop

It is straightforward to determine that the sand fly bites the target host as with the passage of time the skin swells, turns red and blister-like structures appear all over.

2. Treatments

  • Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream

Soon after the bite is felt, it is suggested to use the anti-itching ointments and medicines available in the medicine stores. The most common names in this respect include the calamine lotion or the hydrocortisone cream.

  • Essential oils

Nature has extended full support to cure several problems and so is the case with the sand fly bites. The essential oils like that of coconut and the olive oil are great remedial against the sand fly bites.

  • Bath the affected area with salted cool water

The earliest treatments of all include bathing with the saturated solution of the cold water and the salt. Mix a sufficient quantity of salt in cool water and clean the affected area well enough to get rid of the itch, pain and further complications.

  • Baking soda mixed with water

A liquid solution of the baking soda and the water can also be an effective remedy to fight back the sand fly bites.

  • Cold compress

If the pain persists even after cleansing and treating, then use the ice pads to compress the affected regions. It will not only relieve the pain but will also help in reducing the chances of blisters and swelling.

5 Tips to Get Rid of Them

Vacuum cleaner with orange color on gray laminate.It is important t take an early action after the signs of sand fly infestation are discovered around you. The five earliest ways to get rid of the sand fly are as follows:

  • Vacuum every nook and corner of the house

The sand flies can exist anywhere. They can be found both indoors and outdoors. Use a vacuum to clean the interiors. Don’t leave a single space around. Vacuum the furniture, carpet and the curtains to avoid the risk of leaving behind a single egg.

  • Seal off all cracks and crevices

The sand fly lays eggs and finds a way through the narrowest crevices and the cracks. In order to ensure that everything is safe seal any crack or cervix, you find that can be the possible breeding site.

  • Steam cleaning

As the temperature rises in the steam cleaning, so it becomes impossible for the sand flies to sustain it. Hence, steam cleaning is an excellent option.

  • Boric acid near the garbage can

The garbage can is an excellent breeding site for sand flies. Sprinkle the boric acid around the garbage can and its surroundings with a heavy layer to keep the sand flies away.

  • Diatomaceous earth

Sprinkle the dry and sandy outdoors with the diatomaceous earth. Don’t forget to replace it with a new layer after rain.

How to Prevent

  • Avoid swampy, wet sand

Don’t let the water stand for long. The wet areas become a great breeding site for the sand flies.

  • Pack the insect repellent

Use layers of the insect repellants to prevent the sand fly from breeding and growing.

  • Cover you up

If you stay close to the infested area, don’t leave home without covering yourself. It is better to wear some light clothing, or socks to avoid the bites.

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