- Don’t eat Bananas – The foods you eat can make you more or less attractive to biting insects. As a general rule, avoid bananas, sugary food and alcohol, and do eat lots of garlic. Some people say taking B Vitamins or eating Vegemite/Marmite works for them but there’s no scientific evidence to show that it stops the bites.
- Sit Smart – Avoid shaded areas of bush and the edges of water. On the occasions when you want to sit in the shade to get out the sun, try and choose a dry spot or a breeze. Sandflies dislike wind and rain but will come back with a vengeance once conditions improve so keep your stops short. If all else fails start walking again and the sandflies wont be able to keep up with you.
- Cover Up – Tuck your pants into your socks, or wear leggings under your skirt/shorts. It’s not going to be sexy but it works! If you are day-walking then a good tip is to carry a sarong. It can give you sun protection, be a handy swimming towel as well as something to wrap your legs up in when you stop for a break. Dark colours make you more attractive to sandflies, so choose neutrals where possible.
- Use a good repellent – Invest in a decent bottle of repellent and put it on before you head outside, especially early and late in the day. Choose a long lasting non-DEET product for the best all-round performance like 2B Insect Repellent. Some people swear by home-made repellents containing dodgy mixes of meths, dettol, kerosene and baby oil – sticky stuff and any protection wont last long, especially if you are sweating or swimming.
- Make friends with a penguin – However tasty you are, sandflies would much rather bite a penguin if they have the option. This one isn’t so easy in practice as even if you find a handy penguin, in New Zealand they are protected so unfortunately you need to keep your distance – hopefully you remembered the repellent before you came out.