No-see-ums!

Okay, so when you think of a tropical location, what do you think of? Sun, beautiful beaches, hot weather, getting a sun tan? Do you ever think of the bugs?

It started in Key Largo, Florida with some mosquitoes, which were annoying, but treatable. Then when we got to Bimini, it was the no-see-ums! We put the screens in all the windows and hatches of the boat, but no-see-ums are so small, that they can fit through the screens. The mosquitoes and flies stayed out, but those little ones kept coming. You can feel them biting you, so you can slap and kill them, but it is too late, the damage has been done.

I was plagued by them. Ethan and I had the most amount of bites as they tend to bite and bother us the most. Ethan had a cluster of them on his calf and a patch on his arm along with a few other random bites. My legs and arms and even parts of my torso were covered with old, healed over bites, scabs and fresh ones. Even the scabbed over bites from two or three weeks ago still got insanely itchy. I usually lost about an hour of sleep every night from 12-1 when I woke up hot and itchy. I just couldn’t stop scratching them!

I have been taking anti-histamines morning and night for three weeks now. I have tried calamine lotion, distilled witch hazel, after-bite, hydrocortisone cream and even resorted to using a nasal spray on them (I read online that it is supposed to help.) We had spoken to local pharmacists and other cruisers and everyone seemed to be getting bitten. The key is to prevent the bites from happening in the first place so I have been hosing myself down with bug spray and not the unscented, family care kind, but the formula with 15% deet.

No-see-ums are also called sandflies and yes, they plagued us at the beaches. It’s difficult to keep bug spray on when you are splashing and playing in the water though. Like mosquitoes, the female bites and sucks as she needs the protein in the blood to make her eggs. Unlike mosquitoes, a noseeum bite is several times as itchy and they tend to last longer as well.

So hopefully I can stop the bites from happening in the first place and let the current bites heal and fade away. And it seems to be working. We are currently in Big Major’s Spot, Exumas and there are far less bugs here and my bites are slowing healing and fading. Ethan’s have been gone for a while now, thankfully.

L

3 thoughts on “No-see-ums!

  1. We wait in anticipation for every post! Thank you both for sharing this adventure with us. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 2 and a half months. I remember no-see-ums from northern Ontario but back then allowable Deet levels were higher. We had to put it on so heavy and had a shower every night, but had breaks with cooler weather :). Not that you would want that! Glad that you are presently at a better bug port and have improving methods for future! Miss you all, the Gagnon’s

  2. Miserable, Leah! As someone whom the bugs love, I sympathize. What I do is rub in hydrocortisone cream immediately after being bitten, and it does keep the bite from being so crazy itchy.

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