There are no snakes, crocodiles, leaches or other dangerous and creepy animals in New Zealand. Perfect conditions to enjoy the beautiful nature, right? If it wasn’t for New Zealand’s dark little secret…
They look cute and innocent, like a harmless fruit fly, but don’t be fooled. They’re your worst bloodsucking nightmare.
You would think a bite of one of them isn’t that bad, right? Wait until you get here and get attacked by a gang of sandflies. They love your feet, ankles and hands, weak spots that itch a lot.
Once bitten, the best you can do is to not scratch. Easier said than done, especially for me. The five seconds relief you get when scratching feels SO good, but it will haunt you later at night. The bite gets bigger, a bit infected and it will feel like your foot was dipped in itching powder. For 4 days.
Even adventurer James Cook despised the sandflies:
“The most mischievous animal here is the small black sandfly, which are exceedingly numerous, wherever they light they cause a swelling and such intolerable itching that it is not possible to refrain from scratching and at last ends in ulcers like the small pox”.
In Maori they’re called: “el namu”, which means little devils. Enough said.
Sandflies are found wherever there is water and bush, which you have a lot in New Zealand. I’ve encountered them many times at the West Coast of the South Island. They drive me so crazy that you’ll find me wearing long pants, sleeves and a scarf on a hot summer day…
A beautiful example of how annoying they can be, a little video of me “enjoying” Motukieke Beach at the West Coast.
Have you heard of sandflies? Are there other insects you despise?