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Sand Flies Still An Issue?

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I've never been to Roatan, and I have an RCC port of call in March 2020.  I've read so much about sand flies that I'm wishing that I was not taking my elderly mother in law on this cruise.  I'm worried about her.  Yes, I have read all about how to protect ourselves.  BUT, in all the reading that I've done, I haven't found any recent posts or articles on the subject.  Everything I read was posted 3 or more years ago.  So I'm wondering if it's still a problem.  Is it?  

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Posted (edited)

The bug problem varies from person to person, possibly from time of day, possibly from time of year and possibly from location. There is no way for us to know if you or your mother will have a worry. I reccommned going prepared to deal with the bugs and if you don't need to implement those measures count yourself lucky. 

 

The Trip Advisor Roatan forums maybe of help as well. 

Edited by Guest 2000

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We have been to Roatan 3 times in the last 2 years.  One trip was to a resort on West Bay for 8 days.  We did not encounter sand fleas on any of our trips. I do remember years ago, a had a red rash on my lower legs that I though may have been from sand fleas.  Nothing in the last several years.

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They are sometimes worse on non windy days which isn't often but can't be planned for

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Husband and myself both had sand flea issues the first time in Roatan.  We took a tour that ended up at Bananarama Beach Resort where we spent about two hours at the beach swimming and lounging on the chairs.  We didn't notice any issues until we woke up the next morning in our cabin with small itchy bites on both legs below the knees.  We thought we had bed bugs in our cabin bed.  We knew that could not have been it because we had slept in that bed for a few nights and the bites were only on our lower legs and no where else on our bodies.  I then remembered reading about sand fleas in Roatan and figured out that must have been what happened to us.  Next time we went to Roatan I brought along spray.  We went to a beach for a few hours but it was not Bananarama, can't remember where we went.  We didn't have bites on that trip.  We are going back this December and I will be packing the spray!  Those bites were not comfortable.

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I suppose it really doesn’t matter much but the culprits are sand flies, not sand fleas.  I recommend you consider repellent wipes instead of spray.  I used them at Lamanai in Belize and they worked great without the overspray going all over everyone around me and no wind blowing it back in my eyes.

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lifes-a-beach...thanks for the idea.  I would rather use wipes instead of spray.  I will look for those on my next shopping trip.

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I ordered them on Amazon. Just enter “insect repellent wipes”. I’ve used the Bens, Deep Woods Off and Repel. The Deep Woods Off probably work best for us but we mainly use them for mosquitoes in the jungle. 

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15 hours ago, lifes-a-beach said:

I ordered them on Amazon. Just enter “insect repellent wipes”. I’ve used the Bens, Deep Woods Off and Repel. The Deep Woods Off probably work best for us but we mainly use them for mosquitoes in the jungle. 

I used the Bens wipes and they seem to work fine.

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The first time we went to Roatan we went to a resort and spent a little time laying in loungers on the beach.  Before the end of the day I immediately noticed red bites all over my legs - but they weren’t itching.  BTW, my legs were covered in bug spray as bugs seem to love me!  By that evening the bites were barely noticeable.  However, exactly one week later, I woke up in the middle of the night with the worst intense itching on my legs.  It was those same bites!  It’s like they had incubated under the skin and then came to life - it was awful!  We are visiting Mahogany Bay in a few weeks.  We would like to spend some time on the beach in the area reserved for cruisers, but I’m having second thoughts as I remember the bites from last time.  I may just have to get the strongest repellent I can find and go for it.  Yuck.

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49 minutes ago, LHARTWICK said:

The first time we went to Roatan we went to a resort and spent a little time laying in loungers on the beach.  Before the end of the day I immediately noticed red bites all over my legs - but they weren’t itching.  BTW, my legs were covered in bug spray as bugs seem to love me!  By that evening the bites were barely noticeable.  However, exactly one week later, I woke up in the middle of the night with the worst intense itching on my legs.  It was those same bites!  It’s like they had incubated under the skin and then came to life - it was awful!  We are visiting Mahogany Bay in a few weeks.  We would like to spend some time on the beach in the area reserved for cruisers, but I’m having second thoughts as I remember the bites from last time.  I may just have to get the strongest repellent I can find and go for it.  Yuck.

 

I use deep woods off wipes. 

 

Many members of  the Roatan Trip Advisor forums reccommed a very high percentage of deet...with that said I know at least one person it did not work for.  You need to find a product which works well with your body chemistry and apply it often. There is also talk of the bug liking people more with a bit of salt water on them so be attentive to application when getting out of the water. 

Edited by Guest 2000

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It was the maximum strength.  That’s all I buy.  Bugs just love me!  They won’t touch my husband.  Guess he’s not sweet enough!  LOL!

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We were there March/April and didn't encounter such a problem. I hope you won't have to deal with the bugs either.

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Just got back and for the first time I got eaten up by the sand monsters.  Both calves got dozens of bites within minutes of walking out of the water.  I didn't even have time to wash off before I saw them, never felt the bites either.

My son got not one bite, either.  I figure it was a reaction to some medication I am on possibly.  Either way, I still have red bumps and its almost a week later.  They are starting to fade, but yuck...  

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Posted (edited)

We have been to Mahogany Bay 2 or 3 times.  Never a problem with sand flies.  Looking at my signature, I think all of these trips were in April or May.

Edited by skiorcruise

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10 hours ago, skiorcruise said:

We have been to Mahogany Bay 2 or 3 times.  Never a problem with sand flies.  Looking at my signature, I think all of these trips were in April or May.

 

This was my first time getting the bites and it took exactly 2 weeks to clear up.  Clear aloe gel seemed to help the most.  I thought maybe I got them on the beach, but then I was reminded we walked thru the jungle area Nature Walk first and maybe they got me there.  I don't know, but it was crazy.  I looked like I had some disease all over both calves for 2 weeks.  I won't do that again without some spray.  

 

 

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Well,  After reading these posts, and then doing even more research on Tripadvisor and other cruise and traveler sites, this is the sum of what I've learned about these critters that leave intense itching:

 

1.  Sometimes they are not a problem, and sometimes they are.  Some seasons might be worse than others.

2.  They are picky biters!  Some people they won't bite, and other people they bite alot.

3.  They love salt on your skin.  So IMMEDIATELY put on protection immediatly after leaving the ocean water.

4.  Avoid damp sand near the water. 

5.  The tiny critters cannot fly against the wind.  So breezy days are your friend!

6.  They suffocate in oils or other "goop" people put on their skin.  So slathering this goop on helps ALOT.

7.  Insect repellent such as Backwoods or other 100% Deet helps ALOT.

8.  You can read up on all the goop people put on their skin, such as different types of oils, and Avon skin so soft.

 

So this is what I'm going to do:

 

1.  Not worry about the season, since I can't change it.  But I'm glad I'm going in early spring!

2.  Have goop in my swimsuit button-down pocket and put it on IMMEDIATELY upon walking out of the water.  Then find a place to rinse off and then goop up again. 

3.  Put Backwoods OFF ON TOP OF THE GOOP. 

4.  Which goop will I choose to use?   I'm going to use that which is sold locally, apparently "all over the place" locally for the purpose of keeping sand flies at bay:  Sunscreen that has cactus juiice as it's base.  But I'm not going to go shopping for the stuff while I'm in Roatan.  I want to put some on before I get off the boat, or at least before I get off the pier.  So I will buy at least one container online, prior to my cruise departure.

5.  Some people get bitten because they forget to keep the goop or oils on.  I will make it a point to stay slippery goopy and constantly put Backwoods Off on top of it.  Constantly.  Yes, it's bad for my body, but only for a day. 

6.  I will have clear aloe ready back at the cabin on the ship.  Maybe some .1% Hydrocordisone acetate or cream, also.

7.  I will notify the parents of the problem of sand flies if I happen to see a baby playing in the sand, and the baby appears to be with a tourist family. 

 

After all this preparation, I am going to make VERY sure that I enjoy my time in Roatan.  Apparently, it's such a great place to be that many people keep going back to visit, and even to retire there, even though they've been bit many times!

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Allen, 

 

You have the right of it, well done. 

 

I used mineral oil one year, it works but not only does it suffocate them they get stuck in the oil. I was forever picking little black dots off of my legs. Granted I may have chosen the wrong kind of oil to use. 

 

I went back to Deepwoods off wipes.

 

Enjoy you holiday! 

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I will!  Thank you!  I am so excited about this trip:  RCC Liberty Of The Seas, Lv Galveston, March 15, 2020.  I can't wait to hold a sloth and to snorkel that barrier reef!

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While such things are subjective, many believe the snorkeling to be the best in the Caribbean. 

 

It has been several years since my last visit. My family,  knowing my schedule for the past couple of years,  has pretty much demanded I go to the beach. So, I am returning for my 17th visit in Jan. I don't get to stay as long this trip but that's okay I still have a chance to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. 

 

Cheers! 

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WE are going in two weeks so I just ordered some Deep Woods Off wipes to take.  If anybody is getting bit it will be me!

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2 hours ago, whitsmom said:

WE are going in two weeks so I just ordered some Deep Woods Off wipes to take.  If anybody is getting bit it will be me!

 

 

Good choice, enjoy the island! 

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