As you might know I do have a love hate thing with any flying blood sucker that is around. To sum it up I’m everyone else’s replant, as I have stated before.
We went to Australia and got hold of some stuff called Bushman insect replant clocking in at 80% on the DEET, yeah baby !! We visited some nice locations for BB’s and as soon as we got out the car we slapped on the Bushman and it worked just fine but we did get the odd little bite.
In New Zealand we en-counted the infamous sandfiles and boy where they good at what they do. Soon as we stopped they were there too, biting us to bits. Even when you slapped on the 80% DEET on right way they would get you. The smallest spot you had missed they would go for it with a vengeance.
At one wonderful location for BB’s I was wrapped up covering as much as I could. Then I had sprayed all the exposed skin with some other repellent, since the Bushman “cream” was hard to apply quickly.
The picture on this post is take two minutes after the bite, which happened WHILE I was washing my hands. The sandfly just dived bombed onto my hand and tucked right in, even with water running over my hands. The next morning my hand was swollen up, skin feeling tight and then there is the itch this lasted for a two to three days.
I had my cap on with a buff covering my ears and neck and my rain jacket zipped right up, in a vain attempt to avoid these little biting bastards. These little buggers just went for your eyes instead, the only place I didn’t and wouldn’t apply repellent. And they would do so in their hundreds.
So dinner was enjoyed walking around the campsite as that is the only way to avoid them, as they are slow. But that is really not how you would like to spend a relaxing evening at your campsite. Looking through the ventilation net we could see them hanging around in their drones waiting for us to come out or a little gap in the zip.
Getting in and out of the tent was done to military precision, were both of us had our little part to do to make sure that nothing came into the inner tent. Get ready, open inner zip, jump out, close inner zip, shoes on, open outer zip, get out, close outer zip, run to where every you were going, do what you need to do while doing a funny dance to avoid these BBs, run back to tent, zip outer up, get in, close outer zip, shoes off, zip up inner, jump in, close inner zip and then double check inner tent for BBs.
They might not be a fast flyer but boy are they good at getting in with you when getting into a tent or finding small hole in your defence.
Because Peli ended up with a rash, either from the DEET in the repellent or from the bites, we were looking for a new repellent. Some people told us that one option was not to wash for a few months, not really an option. Or get some cheap moisturiser and add a few drops of disinfectant into it. Yes that will make you smell like a hospital but should do the job.
In one pharmacy we found a few different replants and settled on a small pot of Tui bug balme to test out. It contains lemon eucalyptus which smells rather nice, but you had to apply it quite often. Which is rather annoying as I would rather apply and forget.
The Tui seemed to work but we weren’t in the worst affected area of New Zealand at that point, like the west coast. When we were on the east coast we spotted a few of them but on the west coast, Milford Sound, the glaciers and at Lake Mavora we got hunted down. And that was the low season !!
So I do recommend chemicals and strong ones too if you are visiting New Zealand because if you don’t you get eaten alive and your trip would be ruined. Which honestly not something I wish for you when you visit the land of the long white cloud.