THE HEAT & SANDFLIES UP NORTH???

Submitted: Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:23
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Heading up to the tropic's in July/August this year for our first time ever (2 kids and 2 adults) in a camper trailer. Just wanting some feedback on what to expect with the weather "heat" wise and also the sandflies??? Mother and Daughter are both very sensitive to sandflies/mozzies etc and also wondering how the kids will find the heat up there at this time of year??

Any remedies that work for keeping sandflies at bay would be greatly appreciated as well...

Also we are taking a box fan for in the camper for air circulation at night or if the kids have a lay down through the day but obviously no air cond. How do you think they will fair???

We have relatives in Cairns at the moment (in their 70's) staying in a air cond motorhome at Coconut Resort Cairns and both have some out with prickly heat rash all over them and have basically remained inside with the air cond the whole time plus a trip to the Doctors for diagnosis. Must be bad as the doctor thought they both had measles at first.....gave them cream of some sore to relieve the itching but they are heading back down to Mackay today as the weather a little easier for them to handle...there experience has actually been the prompting for my question!!

Thanks in Advance
JUST GOIN'
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Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:27

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:27
Best to cover up at the time they are most active which is usually around sunset. The less exposed, the less bites. They seem to drop off as the evening sets in.

Cheers Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: just goin - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:30

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:30
Hi Mick,
Thanks for the comments. That is interesting to know. Didnt know if the were swayed by certain repellants or not like mozzies etc??
JUST GOIN
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Follow Up By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:47

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:47
JG,

I'm by no means an expert but found that in the top climes of WA in particular, the sandflies were pretty resistant to repellents but were only savage around dusk. The mozzies were more consistent. Much as I hate to recommend it for sensitive skin, your repellent should have as higher content of DEET as possible. The tropical strength "Rid" is probably one of the better ones.

I spent a bit of time in the Amazon, Central and South America a few years back and we were using a 95% DEET solution that came in a very small bottle. It wasn't recommended for prolonged usage as it was carcinogenic. The only things that would stop the squadrons of flying varmints down that way.

Mick
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Reply By: Patrol22 - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:42

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:42
just goin.....the sandflies are not really a problem in the urban areas except at the beaches and rivers. Make sure you cover up to protect yourself from the dreaded Ross River Virus and Dengue Fever - the mossies that carry these bugs are urban dwellers. If you head to Cooktown just pray that the the usual soueaster wind is blowing as this keeps the mossies and sandflies grounded. If the wind drops off......be prepared for the big bite:-)
I've found a gadget call the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent to be very effective over about 20 square metre area provided the wind isn't too strong.
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Follow Up By: just goin - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:49

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:49
Hi Patrol22,
So does your regular repellants like "OFF" and "AEROGUARD" repell these buggers at all or useless in these areas???
We are going to both Cairns and Cooktown but not doing the Cape this trip. We will be heading back down to Townsville and across to Mt Isa from there....hoping that the bities drop off by then!
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:39

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:39
Yeah they work to some extent but you do need to keep spraying. They don't seem to like me too much (I lived in Mossman and Weipa for >20 years) but they like getting into the missus. There is great advice below about NOT SCRATCHING....this is when things can get a bit serious as I've known some southerners (eg my Victorian rellies) who have gotten infected and cause severe ulceration.
There is also a theory that the lighter coloured clothes you wear the less attractive you are....but don't really know.
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Reply By: GerryP - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:52

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:52
Hi Just Goin'

We will also be up that way around the same time doing the Cape. Heard on the news the other night that those BIG whistling bird eating tarantulas are on the move and also Dengue fever is also very prevalent. What with the snapping handbags, midges and who knows what else is lurking around in the tropics, we should be in for an interesting adventure.

Have been to Darwin a couple of times in October. The first time I fell victim to the midges - second time I was much more careful. I found the only repellent that works on them is Bushmans - forget all the others. If you do get bit, DON'T scratch (as difficult as that may be!!), use anti-itch cream and get some anti-histamines into you - and hopefully you'll be right in a week or so!

Anyway, definitely do not want to put you off, just go, be sensible and have a great time. Might even see you around up there somewhere.

Cheers
Gerry
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Follow Up By: just goin - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:57

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:57
Hey Gerry,
Thanks for your comments. Yeah might see you up there - we will have the rodeo and a new tambo camper trailer!
Cheers JUST GOIN"
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Reply By: Serendipity of Mandurah (WA) - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:54

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 18:54
Having lived in Darwin for years I found that this time of year was cool. From down south you might find it an ideal summers evening - not too hot and cooling off towards the early morning.

We would put doonas on the beds at this time of year and often turn the ceiling fans off altogether, which is unusual because they would normally run 24/7.

The sandflies are a curse and the only thing I found that really deals with them is bushmans. I only use the paste and use it sparingly as it is quite toxic. The size of a pinky finger nail per limb. Then I would go up any creek fishing swamps and all.

The advice for covering up is always on. Camping out we would always take mossie nets and I would even set them up inside tents. Always take cans of flyspray to bed to nail that odd annoying mossie. I would spray the camper or tent 30 mins before bed time to kill all resident bloodsuckers. If you or the kids find it too hot to be in a sleeping bag or under a sheet definately have a mossie net over you again. You will often see the long-grassers sleeping under sheets that go over their heads as well.

If we are camping near 240v in the hot weather (xmas) we take house fans camping. Otherwise I have a 12v camping fan that clamps onto a pole or such. The kids had those soft blade battery operated fans that clamp onto the tent fabric with a magnet on the outside.

Mostly drink lots of water - never go anywhere even to the shops without your water bottle. Never go for a scenic walk without 2 or more litres per person. Always have multiple 500ml water bottles in the fridge or readily available for the kids and yourself to smash down. If you get a heat headache drink water. If you feel thirsty you are already late in drinking water and a heat headache is next.
Forget flavoured drinks and colas and sports drinks - just drink lots of water. You get used to it living up north. It is healthy and I found Darwin water to be some of the nicest I have tasted anywhere.

David


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Follow Up By: just goin - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:02

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:02
Hi David,
GREAT ADVICE from a local - thanks v much! We werent sure how far along the lap of oz we could expect to have the worry of sandflies and the like. At least now we can be prepared and buy recommended repellants to have ready and waiting in the camper trailer.

The last thing we want is bitten and bothered kids that cant help but scratch and itch even when you tell them not too....

Thanks Again
JG
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Follow Up By: Rod W - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 09:27

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 09:27
"...never go anywhere even to the shops without your water bottle. Never go for a scenic walk without 2 or more litres per person. Always have multiple 500ml water bottles in the fridge..."

Live there for 20yrs never did non of the above.

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Follow Up By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 16:51

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 16:51
We always fish long pants long shirt, spray the ankles, neck and back of hands. It begining to get cool. 18 Overnight in Cairns and 10 overnight up here on the Tablelands. As above, Fan at night is all you will need on the coast, doonah up here on the Tablelands. Drink lots of water wear sunscreen and the days are just great now. Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: Serendipity of Mandurah (WA) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 18:54

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 18:54
Rod W

I can accept locals who know what the tropics can be like doing their own thing but would you recommend new people to the NT to not take water about with them?

David






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Reply By: jeepthing - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:19

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:19
just goin,

My wife is very sensitive to those little @#$% and use to come up in lumps and would itch for weeks.

However, we found something that works for her, you can get it from Avon it's called Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Insect Repellent.

If she gets bitten before she has put it on she immediately comes up in lumps but within a few minutes of applying this stuff the lumps disappear and no itching after wards.

It works on every insect bite, jumping ants, black ants, apply it to the bite and the swelling is gone within minutes.

Sandflies don't worry me I get bitten and don't come up in lumps or itch so I don't use it that often but when they are heavy I have used it and it does repel them.

I've used it on ant bites and have found that the sting and swelling goes within a few minutes, even on a scorpion bite.

I understand that the Australian Army is now using the same stuff.

When we have been camping, we have on occasions lent it to people who have been covered in lumps and they have found it gets the lumps down and stops the itching.

Anyway we swear by it and use nothing else and it's been the only one that has worked for my wife.

We got on to it after reading the Complete Book of Barramundi Fishing by Dick Eussen. But he mentioned Avon Skin So Soft bath oil, we did try it and found it worked but not long after Avon bought out the insect repellent.

We found the bath oil didn't work on mossies but their insect repellent did so that's all we use now.







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Follow Up By: just goin - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:25

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:25
Thats interesting....will have to try and find someone that sells avon now!
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Follow Up By: jeepthing - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 07:30

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 07:30
I guess everyone uses what works for them and we've tried so many without real success. A couple of years ago we were at Point Sampson and there was a young couple camped next to us who really got attacked a few days before we arrived and they were covered in bite/lumps.

So we gave them some of the Avon to try and within an hour their lumps had disappeared and the itching subsided.

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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:43

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 19:43
Gooday,
just remember to keep drinking water even if you don't feel like it... start when you get up in the morning and continue all day. That way you are less likely to get heat rash as well as dehydrate. Don't wear synthetic clothing if you can help it. Mozzies and sandflies come out at dusk (usually coastal and swamp/mangrove areas), keep skin covered and use tropical rid... the roll on is best. The mozzies and sandflies are not as bad as some make out.... but with care and some common sense you will be fine. Enjoy the trip.
Fred B
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 21:36

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 21:36
Just goin'


You didn't say where up north you are going but if you look at the temperatures for most places in July/August they are only warm. In low 30s. The information is on this site.

Sandflies, etc. use a repellant but you will still get bitten. Use a non-drowsy histamene such as "telfast" to prevent any problems when bitten. In other words take telfast prior to getting bitten.


Tjilpi
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Follow Up By: just goin - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 13:29

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 13:29
Our basic plan is to follow the coastline mainly right around oz. We will be stopping at major towns of interest and any other places that are recommended to us along the way. Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Cooktown to name a few. We will be staying on the coast for our accomm mainly in caravan parks. Not going any further north than Cooktown though on this trip....

Hope this gives you a better idea!
JG
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Reply By: David A A - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 21:43

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 21:43
Hi Just Goin

Eucalyptus oil is good for stopping the itch if bitten, I have used many times, and carry a bottle in the vehicle all the time, a bottle in the first aid kit and a bottle in the ensuite.
Dont know how effective as preventative though.

regards

David
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Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Monday, May 18, 2009 at 21:48

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 21:48
I'm a 'Melburnian' who heads into these parts every Winter. We found the best prevention is to cover up. In particular early morning and late afternoon. SWMBO uses 'Bushman', and I get by with 'Rid'. For whenafter damage has been done, the odourless Dencorub is good. I'll be trying that Avon stuff though.July/August shouldn't be too uncomfortable. We're usually sitting round a camp fire with beanies and parkas on at night. Great days though. Enjoy, and travel safe.

Roger B....
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Reply By: Mr Pointyhead - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 07:34

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 07:34
When I was a kid visiting a relo's beach house at shoal point outside Mackay, my parents used to does me up with one of the Vitamin B 's. I can't remember which one, but it did seem to work keeping the sandfly's away.

Does anyone on the list know which Vitamin B it is ?

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Follow Up By: Member - Vivien C (VIC) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 08:17

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 08:17
It's Vitamin B 1

Viv
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Reply By: wildbill05 - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 08:19

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 08:19
I have lived in Cairns for the last 30 years and can second most of the above.
The Avon works well and has the advantage of smelling good so the ladies like it.
Tried the Vitamin B trick for a 2 week trip to Weipa where we stayed up a mangrove creek. In the end my mate and I used to say to each other "have you had your salt and pepper yet" as we reckoned it must have made us taste better.
There is only one solution - you must withdraw their landing rights - cover up, long pants and long sleeved shirts, preferably with elastic round ankles and wrists and the repellent on the rest.
I have even worn socks while wearing thongs - Bill
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 09:52

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 09:52
Was up on the FNQ tropical coast for the first time in 07 and though wonderful, I resolved not to go back without a van to hide in at night ..... mozzies are a pest in some places but the sandflies can be hell - mostly, they are so small and sneaky you won't have any idea you have been bitten until you see the red blotches next morning. And some people don't react to bites much at all, while others can react badly. Bit of a lottery. Strategies for us ?- we use green mozzie coils (red box - supermarket) and Sandalwood mozzie sticks (big long ones - Mountain brand - hardware stores and some supermarkets) - commercial insect repellent too of course - plus antihistamine tablets (for that 'lottery' - for someone who might get a spreading local reaction to a bite). The heat ? The humidity ? Both are still significant at times even in the dry season (Babinda - low 30's, rains on the hour, in August !). You'll get more used to it, as the days go by, but at times it might be trying - the novelty of the great tropical adventure can help to put the annoying trials aside though. Have a good 'un ! ......PS ..... the kids could be 'blown away' (you too probably) with the esplanade at Townsville if you go there - kilometeres of top shelf, totally free recreation facilities along the shore, looking out onto Magnetic Island. Cairns has something similar. Wonderful.
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Follow Up By: just goin - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 09:10

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 09:10
Thanks for the advice. We will definitely check out the esplanade at Townsville you mention. Our kids are 5 & 2 and always looking for exciting things for them to do that is new and interesting for them...
Thanks again - JG
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Reply By: kelstar78 - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:41

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:41
Best insect repellent is 50:50 baby oil & dettol in a spray bottle.

The thermacell you can buy at Bunnings has been excellent when camping on creeks with the midgies.

July/August is cold and the weather is dry so I don't think you will have a problem with prickly heat etc.

I have lived in Darwin my whole life so have a narrowed down the insect spray to the above and this stuff is good!!

Have a great time. Kelly
AnswerID: 365640

Follow Up By: Member - Malcolm (Townsville) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 11:06

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 11:06
kelstar78

My brother used to swear by that 50:50 mixture (also great for killing Cane Toads) and my doc told me to eat up big on the vitamin B1.

IIRC its not a 'bite' but the urine from the midgy that causes the problem.

BUT !! I HAVE THE BEST SOLUTION .....

I live right next to the beach and if I'm working ouside, just shorts and boots, I KNOW when it's 4 o'clock. Time to knock off, go inside and have a shower and stay inside until 10 the next morning. :-) An extended Happy Hour ?

Malcolm



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Follow Up By: just goin - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 09:12

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 09:12
Can you tell me more about the Thermacells you mention?? What exactly are they, how do they work and roughly how much do they cost etc etc

Thanks in Advance - JG
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Reply By: Russ n Sue - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 11:58

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 11:58
We are at Cossack in Northwest WA at the moment and we breed the sandflies for the whole of Australia here. If you let us know where you'll be I'll try and stop the next shipment .....lol.

Seriously, these sandflies are so small that they don't even have to fold their wings in to go through regular flyscreens. They are viscious little so and so's too. We have found that the following repellents are working and I list them in order of their effectiveness. (Most effective at the top)

Bushman's Red (Don't use it on the kiddies - it will dissolve them)
Bushman's Green
Rid (Tropical strength)
Aerogard (Tropical strength)
Off
Rid Regular
Aerogard Regular
Homebrew remedies

I wear long trousers all the time and when fishing, long sleeves too. Don't leave any uncovered skin unsprayed!

Hope this helps

Cheers

Russ.
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Reply By: neilbis - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 15:51

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 15:51
definately agree the bushmans although may not be great for the skin (havent had any issues)keeps the sandflies at bay better than any of the rid, aeroguard more general brands

i use the green can
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Reply By: sweetwill - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 16:43

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 16:43
hi all
having just come back from cairns and cooktown i must say the weather was a mild 29dg most of the time, it was a misty rain in cairns but cooktown was fine and sunny most days. I only used a repelent in cairns becuse id heard of the dengy fever, not becuse i needed it,hope this helps bill.
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Reply By: Custom Boat Loaders- Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 16:53

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 16:53
We use this mixture - works well!

1 375ml bottle Rid lotion
1 35ml? bottle Citronella (from the chemist)
100ml Dettol
100ml baby oil
100ml Calamine lotion
1 x 50ml Double D Eucalyptus oil

Mix together and apply liberally

If you're already bitten this helps

1 cup brown vinegar
1 cup Metho
Boil the vinegar and let cool, add metho & put in a spray bottle.

AnswerID: 365691

Follow Up By: Twintrail(W.A.) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 21:37

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 21:37
hi bill and di.once bitten for the tough cloudy ammonia ouch regards pedro
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Follow Up By: Twintrail(W.A.) - Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 21:43

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 21:43
hi again. try vegiemite on the bites. works regards pedro
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Reply By: D200Dug- Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 17:41

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 17:41
A few drops of lavender oil in baby oil and slather on regularly can help with sandflies.

The oil prevents the insect from biting the skin. Not useful if you are sweating or working but better when the kids are sleeping and playing.

Long sleeves and long pants. Ask a chemist about dermal ointments that prevent itching I use derm-aid but you need to check what is safe for children.

Keep an eye on any bites to make sure they do not become infected and get medical help quickly if they do.
AnswerID: 365700

Follow Up By: D200Dug- Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 17:44

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 17:44
If you have power get some of the plug in repellant tablet things they are the best for clearing sleeping areas and safer than mozzi coils.
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Reply By: Mikee5 (Logan QLD) - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 13:35

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 13:35
Hi there,
buried in the replies is some good advice. If you go for a commercial repellent it should have DEET as the main ingredient, Bushman and Rid I think are the ones, but read the labels to be sure. We always start taking vitamin B1 two weeks before a trip, this puts a barely noticeable (Vegemite-ish) odour on your skin which the sandflies don't like. We also use the Dettol/baby oil mix, the baby oil makes the sandies stick to your skin and they can't function any more and the dettol fixes any bites you do get. The dettol is also good for after the bites, we use a cotton bud dipped in neat dettol on each bite. Wear only 100% cotton clothing, no synthetics. For sleeping when it is too hot, wet some towels (again 100% cotton), wring them out then lay one on top of each kid. As said above we lived in Darwin for many years and in July/August we were wearing Trackies because it was so cold.
AnswerID: 365819

Reply By: wild dog - Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 14:35

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 14:35
We used to use stuff called KOKODA. It was good enough to use to go into the mangroves after crabs.
Didn't mix with paints and plastics though.
Cover up and use a repellent on the areas not covered.
As for the temp and humidity if July and August are too hard, the rest of the year is definitely out.
AnswerID: 365827

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