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trip canceled due to -- sand fleas?

Posted By: chidiver

trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/21/09 10:32 PM

I was planning a diving and fishing trip with friends but the frequent mention of no-see ums on all the travel sites have compelled my friends to just say no.... They're talking about Little Cayman now.

My friends are pretty bug bite sensitive -- they swell up and get kinda sick and then they have scars for yrs. Seriously, i still see mosquito bites scars on them from Jamaica 3 yrs ago.

In Cozumel, sand fleas were easy to avoid by just not going out at dusk -- i didn't get a single bite in June or Dec. Are they as bad as everyone says -- and why is it worse in Belize vs other Caribb destinations?

I'm pretty bummed as the diving/fishing combo possibilities in Belize seems to be unmatched....
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/21/09 11:07 PM

For one thing, sand flies and sand fleas are two different things.

Personally, I've never been much bothered by sand flies on most of Ambergris Caye, though they can be fierce in some parts of Belize, such as Hopkins and on some remote cayes. They're usually worse after rains and at dawn and dusk.

There are sandflies in the Caymans, by the way. At times, lots of them, including on Little Cayman. I understand they became worse after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, but maybe they've backed off now.


Posted By: Barnacle

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/21/09 11:50 PM

the morning after hurricane iris blew thru here, we were greeted by what?,, sand flies!
we had 130+ winds blow thru here with a water stain 3 1/2 feet up on my buildings. and they were right there when the sun came up!?!?
so,, not being able to see these little buggers hunkered down hanging onto twigs and stuff, we determined that all our sand flies were blown over to Guatemala,, and these new ones rode the winds over from jamacia!
illeagel immigrants?

edit: by the way,, i killed the last one just a day ago.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 12:35 AM

On, my first trip to belize in late October 2005 (was married during Hurricane Wilma), I got bit pretty good up and down my legs. Though, the past several times I've gone have been in spring and I don't think I was bit once.

If I had to guess, it was either the rain from the Hurricane that brought them in or fall is worse than spring. But either way, the biting bugs on Ambergris Caye are no worse than Cayman or any other Caribbean island for that matter.

I always bring mosquito repellent but find myself rarely putting it on.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 12:37 AM

Originally Posted by chidiver
In Cozumel, sand fleas were easy to avoid by just not going out at dusk -- i didn't get a single bite in June or Dec. Are they as bad as everyone says -- and why is it worse in Belize vs other Caribb destinations?


And to answer this, if you avoid dusk on AC as well, you should be fine. That's when I got the worst of it on my first trip.
Posted By: azbob

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 12:38 AM

I've been to AC 3 times within the last year (March, November and February) and I have never been bitten by sand fleas or flys. I'm up a dawn walking the beach and at sunset I'll be walking the beach again to my favorite bars! Your frineds will find bugs in every tropical country. Come on down when you can!
Posted By: skippy

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 01:08 AM

Ridiculous. Five visits, no bites, finally saw the lone mosquito last trip. Let him live, to warn the others.

What's the point of the thread? Want to be begged to come here? Want us to refute some "travel sites" that your "friends" read? Or just want to cast aspersions in lieu of having the facts? Divers aren't going to cancel a dive trip to Turneffe and Lighthouse because of some bugs in San Pedro.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 03:24 AM

sand flies and mosquitoes were around today - went into a screened porch - problem resolved! sun-up and sun-down are the worst.

Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 03:42 AM

In five trips down, we have only encountered sand flies once . .at Matagrande at dusk. A little oil and they were not a problem. Have never had an issue with sand fleas and skeeters only on the lagoon side and only at dusk. To me, anyway, silly reason not to visit!! Ah well, hope they have a bug-free trip wherever they go (good luck with that)!
Posted By: yllowfin

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/22/09 01:56 PM

we just got back.there was 7 of us and not one bite from anything.we went south and north and did not break out the bug spray one time.
Posted By: chidiver

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 04:18 PM

Well, they loved Jamaica and Cozumel (Florida keys was a little rough in summer... we were attacked by hordes of mosquitos after the rains) so if you all are saying there's no particular issue with noseeums on AC relative to these other locales, then they'd love to go.

I've also read Hopkins is particularly bad so we'll just avoid this area? One of the places I was looking to rent on AC was 5 miles north of town (is this far?) -- do the noseeums get worse the more remote the area or is that irrelevant?

I also have a friend with young children who was thinking of a huge family trip on AC in a 6 br villa on the beach. But he's also become worried about kids not being able to hang out on the beach in morning and day. is this concern unfounded?
Posted By: deadserious

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 04:54 PM

If biting bugs are an issue, I definitely recommend staying in town. I believe they spray for mosquitoes in town, and not up north or south.
Posted By: chidiver

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 04:59 PM

that's good to know. So like a mile north/south of San Pedro should be our furthest parameters?

I guess if you google no see ums and any caribbean destination there's bound to be hundreds of pages that pop up....

thanks for the counter-info....


Posted By: deadserious

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 05:39 PM

one mile south is safe. Not sure about north of the cut.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 05:45 PM

A mosquito was reported at Central Park...
Posted By: HavinFun

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 05:48 PM

When I visited in July 2008 I brought my grandchildren and their parents. We stayed at Oasis del Caribe for 13 days. About mid trip my son took his family out to eat in downtown San Pedro, not sure of the restuarant, had a sand floor and the next morning both my grand-daughter's legs were covered with sand flea bites. 85 on one and 47 on the other, they counted them (very competetive with each other LOL). They had been biten by a few before then but I had made sure I used bug spray on them because I'd had problems on prior trips. I did not warn the parents adequately. I've never seen anything like it. I ended up with about 20 bites on my legs as well, that trip. I accumlated them at various places and times. You don't feel them bite, they itch like heck and it takes a while for them to heal.
I ended up with some (8) after our trip in Feb. I made a point of putting on bug spray and baby oil.
It seems once I'd been bitten the little buggers won't leave me alone. My husband never has been bitten.
Mesquitos have not been problem unless we are in wooded areas.
I love San Pedro so I've learned to take precautions as much as possible.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 06:30 PM

Bug sprays don't do much against the sand flea bites. Baby oil is the way to go there. They slide right off I guess.
Posted By: HavinFun

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 07:45 PM

I wonder if Skin So Soft would work as well as baby oil?
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 07:49 PM

It does!!
Posted By: Marty

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/23/09 11:45 PM

ridiculous is right skippy.
Posted By: chidiver

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/24/09 01:20 AM

Hey -- I didn't mean to offend anyone with my question. I know we all get attached to places we love but it's always good to know what conditions to prepare for so we too can also love the place. I've heard various oils added to 90% DEET is the best deterrent but haven't had to use this magical potion so i don't know if it works. http://www.peoplesguide.com/1pages/chapts/health/bugs/pennyroyal-no-see-ums.html

I get super irritated when I hear about people's concerns with crime in Jamaica -- so I know what it's like to hear unfounded paranoia about beloved destinations. But if unprepared tourists frequently run into no-see ums in Belize, I'd like to know how everyone else best avoids them and pass that info on to my friends. No big deal -- no insult -- i don't want to be begged to grace my presence on this beautiful country. I would just like to avoid lots and lots of bites -- that's all. thanks again for the helpful info about what I hope will be my next dive destination!!

Posted By: gabby

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/24/09 04:52 AM

Chidiver - You're exactly right! These forums are intended for people to ask for information and get appropriate responses without being made to feel like a criminal.

I've been to SP about 30 times, own a house there now as I love it so much, and I have been attacked by sand fleas on only one occasion. It was terrible I have to admit, but once I took precautions (skin so soft works for me) I haven't had a problem since. Dusk has been the only problem time for me, and only on the far south end of the island. I've never had any problems in town. I want to invite you and your friends to come to one of the most lovely locations with the absolute most friendly folks of anywhere I've ever traveled. It's one of a kind and I know you'll love it as all the rest of us do.

Let us know if you need any additional information and we'll do our best to answer you openly and honestly.
Posted By: kerry

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/24/09 06:40 AM

i use the skin so soft sunscreen w/bug guard...works great...comes in a spray or cream...i prefer the cream to the spray...
Posted By: Marty

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/24/09 02:55 PM

me too. have used it for years.
Posted By: colomojo

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/29/09 11:00 PM

Someone mentioned there is a difference between sand fleas and sand flies. Can someone fill me in. I noticed the first time we were there in Dec of 07 they (I thought fleas but now not sure) seemed to be worse than in May of 08. We stayed in the same area 3 miles south of town both visits. We did however take an all day Beach BBQ trip up north, I think about 12 miles and there were a few more biting buggers up there but I learned the first time baby oil works great. I actually noticed more bugs on the southern beaches of Cozumel - to the point I was uncomfortable. Either way, come prepared, baby oil, skin so soft, deet and benadryl would be a great Bugger Kit to have. I think I will make one...38 more sleeps.
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 04/29/09 11:47 PM

Avon Skin So Soft!
Posted By: chidiver

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 05/06/09 05:10 PM

thanks so much everyone for all the helpful tips and for your patience. I've booked tix and i'm so excited about the trip.

Will buy some skin so soft (is there only one kind/scent?) and baby oil and anything else people think will help -- and as in Cozumel, I'll avoid being out at dusk.

Posted By: Islenutt

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 05/06/09 08:55 PM

Look here.

http://shop.avon.com/shop/search.asp?find_spec=bug+guard&department=search
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 05/07/09 02:23 PM

Just 1 kind (of skin so soft) and it is an oil so you do not need baby oil. Remember the trick with any bite or allergic reaction is that you absolutely can not touch the area at all as that causes an even greater release of histamines which makes it 10 times worse
Posted By: susie8888

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 05/07/09 05:01 PM

I am a mosquito magnet and I discovered the BEST stuff (and I've tried them all!) for itch relief - I've only seen this stuff in Belize. It is sold all over the place - I don't know the exact name of it, but it is a hemp-based oil, (there is a big pot leaf on the bottle so you can't miss it) - it really works!! Someone warned me not to take it home, as they said the hemp (although there is not active THC in it) would set the dogs off, but I've brought it home twice with no problem. Depending on where you get it, it's about $US6-10 - WELL worth it!! Skin-So-Soft does work for some, but not me. I bring Deep Woods Off, but I have to say, I've been there now only twice, in Dec. and Feb., and have only had about 4 bites total. I was amazed. It was my worry also but all was OK. Good luck!!
Posted By: Moose In Belize

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 05/07/09 09:06 PM

The noseeums are definitely there, just take precautions. Deep Woods Off worked for me, after I had been bitten. The places to be careful are outdoor patios next to the beach. The deep red blotches are caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva and not everybody is allergic. I am also led to believe that some people develop an immunity over time.
Posted By: Islenutt

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 05/08/09 12:00 AM

There is plain old Skin So Soft (the oil) and there is Skin So Soft with added ingredients for bugs. It's called Bug Guard Plus/Picaridin. I've found that Picaridin works much better than any deet based product and it doesn't smell as bad or melt things. Cutter Advanced (with picaridin) is another one that works well.
Posted By: chidiver

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/15/09 04:04 AM

Hello -- thought I should report back that we loved Ambergris and didn't have any problems with bugs. Just problems with leaving and feeling like I was going to cry as the plane took off.

I went armed with bottles of Skin So Soft Bug Guard, Off, Deet 90%, ready to buy hemp oil, etc. -- I might have applied Avon stuff twice but i don't think i was bitten once by a no-see-um and pretty much forgot about it. We stayed on the water, had an outdoor patio connected to sandy area & we were out there at dusk and in evenings, left our doors open so we could see water and let breeze in, etc.

It was freakin great. Ran into a few mosquitoes but the breeze was steady enough to keep everything away. We were on the lagoon side once and I thought I could see mosquitoes swarming so they might be more of an issue there where air/water is more stagnant.

This is easily our new favorite spot in the Caribbean. Thanks so much for everyone's responses.
Posted By: sindy1232

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/15/09 05:35 AM

We were in AC just a couple of weeks ago and none of us ever got bit by any bugs at all!! We were outside at night but we did use Sawyers Controlled release but repellent at all times. The only time any of us were bothered by any bugs was at Caves Branch. Our last two night, when the rain started, there were fleas everywhere but if you put on Sawyers you did not get bit. One evening my oldest son used nothing and sat at the bar for a while and he ended up getting bitten horribly, but only where his legs hung down on the bar stool.

In Jamaica, the bugs are much, much worse!!!!
Posted By: deadserious

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/15/09 06:13 PM

Originally Posted by chidiver
Just problems with leaving and feeling like I was going to cry as the plane took off.


This is the most common problem people have with Ambergris Caye.
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/15/09 06:25 PM

Originally Posted by sindy1232
we did use Sawyers Controlled release but repellent at all times.


Did that work on time-share salesmen?? grin
Posted By: sindy1232

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/16/09 12:32 AM

LOL KC, actually we were only approached once and my son told the guy that we were there to pick up the remains of a family member, as he patted his back pack, and take them home. He left us alone really quickly! LOL.
Posted By: sindy1232

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/16/09 12:33 AM

and I meant to say "Sawyers Controlled release BUG repellent".
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: trip canceled due to -- sand fleas? - 08/16/09 01:41 AM

I was wondering about the "but" repellent.... lol.
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