Sandflies are small but ferocious insects that love to welcome visitors to New Zealand by sucking their blood.
Sometimes you can strike it lucky and not see any for days. Other times, you’ll barely come to a stop at a campsite or picnic table before they’re swarming in a black cloud around your head. They mostly stay away when there’s a bit of wind but on a calm night, watch out!
Suffering at least a few sandfly bites is a rite of passage for any cyclist, especially if you’re touring the west coast of the South Island.
To protect yourself, cover up with long clothing in the mornings and evenings, when they try their best to feast on any potential victim. Keep your tent zipped up too or you could end sleeping with a few dozen uninvited guests.
Some form of mosquito repellent will help to keep the sandflies away.
For a homemade repellent, mix half baby oil and half Dettol disinfectant in a spray bottle (the same thing you use to sterilise cuts). You could also add a few drops of citronella oil. Shake and apply.