Sandflies (black flies) bite us and suck our blood giving rise to itchy swollen lumps on our skin.
Identify the problem
Sandflies can ruin a good holiday in many parts of New Zealand. After mating, the female needs a meal of blood to produce eggs. Males do not bite and are vegetarian. The females attack vertebrates such as humans, birds, bats, seals, and domestic animals. They pierce the skin, creating a drop of blood that they suck up. This photograph shows the sandflies on a tent after a night on the west coast.
The numbers of sandflies around your home can be controlled by:
Did You Know
- Sandflies cannot see at night, so they rarely bite in the dark. They do not often move indoors. Biting most often occurs when light intensity increases in the morning caused by young sandflies that have recently emerged from pupae. A second risky period is at dusk, often the result of sandflies taking blood after laying eggs earlier in the day. Sandflies are most active in dull, overcast and humid conditions, when they may bite at a similar rate.
- New Zealand sandflies are in the genus Austrosimulium, and are a type of black fly.