It is an undisputed fact that Australia is home to some of the most incredible landscapes and water views in the world. And accessing these remote areas with your caravan is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling ways to experience them.
But it’s also a fact of life that where there’s water, whether it’s a waterfall, coastline or lake, there will be sand flies. Also colloquially known as midges, these tiny, whining fleets of pests can deliver dozens of painful bites to any exposed skin in a short amount of time.
These itchy, painful bites can very quickly divert the attention from the stunning scenery and make you think of a hasty retreat indoors. So with that in mind, here are some preventive measures and remedies.
Prevention Better Than Cure
Old wisdom is also the best, and in the case of sand flies and midges, avoiding a bite is much better than trying to treat one. Fittingly for blood sucking vampires, sand flies are most active at dawn and dusk.
If you are around wet sand or an area with mangroves at these times, you can be sure that sand flies will be too. If possible, avoid going near those areas at these times of the day.
But if you are wanting to enjoy the sunrise or sunset, then the simplest thing to do is cover any exposed skin. Camping and outdoor stores have a great selection of lightweight long sleeved shirts and full length pants to keep the midges at bay.
You can also apply baby oil or moisturising lotion to any exposed skin to avoid bites. This works because sand flies inject their saliva into the skin to allow them to draw blood. This surface layer or oil or lotion creates a barrier for them.
Another more unconventional option is to incorporate foods with more B12 in them, as it is said that this vitamin repels mosquitoes and sand flies. Bananas are high in B12, but high doses can be more easily eaten through taking a pharmacy supplement.
And of course, tropical strength insect repellents and sprays can also do the job, if you are willing to make the trade off with the smell!
If you are unfortunate enough to get a handful of bites on your skin, there are a few things to help alleviate the symptoms. Bathing in cool water is great, and the ocean is twice as good because salt water has natural antiseptic properties.
Numbing sprays and tea tree oil can also stop the itching, as can specific antihistamines for itching that require a pharmacy subscription to obtain.
Don’t let sand flies and midges ruin the incredible landscapes and views near the water during your next caravanning holiday, and keep our remedies and tips handy for next time you hit the road!