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Relieve the Itch… Midges & Sand Flies – facts/remedies

Hidden Valley Tourist Park, Darwin Caravan Parks


Have you ever been on a caravan or camping trip and been bitten (or eaten alive) by those pesky bugs known as midges or sand flies?

Well I have and it isn’t pleasant, midges sandflies are one very few negatives of living here in the tropics. Here at Hidden Valley Holiday Park we do everything we can in accordance with Department of Health on Midgy Management 

Many of our guests have also been a target and while it is unfortunate – it happens, so we thought best to share some tips and tricks to help keep the little buggers (midges sandflies) away, or at least at bay.

Midges or sandflies live in the sand and mud of swampy waterways and mangroves. They are very small and even though they do look like a fly, they are too small to see their wings; they look like a small piece of fine dark cut hair, so this makes them difficult to see. Because they are so small, they can easily fly through normal fly screens.

It is said that midges/sand flies do not bite but actually urinate on you – so we thought I should investigate that further and this is not correct. According to the Department of Medical Entomology of the University of Sydney, they are blood suckers and inject saliva into the skin to allow easy extraction of the blood. They bite during dawn and dusk when there is little to no wind, so best to avoid swampy areas during these times.

Locals in midge-prone areas tend to build up immunity over time, whereas for travellers – they generally do not, so we recommend that all our guests take preventative measures (and stock up on remedies), just in case! midges sandfies Hidden Valley Holiday Park, Darwin Caravan Parks

Generally you will find once you have been bitten – the first few days/nights can be a challenge. The bites are often not itchy straight away, they then can become unbearably itchy, can weep and also form small blisters – this is not uncommon and obviously varies to the individual. When you are playing at an online and mobile casino, you are likely to play real money games. Every good online casino provides a good choice of payment solutions. You can choose from Australian online casino PayPal, Neteller, credit cards and others. The better the casino the wider the choice. You can look through the list of good casinos at casinos reviews sites and choose your favorite online pokies. After a few days, the bites decrease in size and become a darker purpley-red colour and are not as itchy and they become bearable.

Preventative Measures

  • Avoid swampy, wet sand during dawn and dusk
  • Cover your skin with clothing (this can be a little hard when you visit the tropics), a light cotton shirt will make a difference though.
  • Before going outside, use tropical strength insecticide spray/lotions – for those of you conscious about toxins on the skin, you may prefer the next option
  • Apply baby oil (mixed with Dettol) before going outside – Be aware that baby oil will increase your chance of sun damage 
  • Take high doses of B12 [1000mg] daily, at least two months before going to the location
  • Eat lots of bananas- taking the B12 tablets makes much more sense
  • Rubbing vegemite on your skin DOES NOT WORK, and drop bears are not real! 🙂 
  • Locally sourced and owned Tamanu Oil works well as a preventative and remedy and is available for sale in our reception.


  • Bath the affected area with salted cool water. The ocean is great for this. Our swimming pool will do the trick
  • Showering before bed (excessive heat will exacerbate the itch, so opt for cooler a temperature)
  • Applying SOOV cream to the affected area/s – the “cool” in the gel takes relieves the itch.
  • Calamine lotion. Ok for kids but maybe not the most suitable option for adults
  • Numbing spray for instant, short term relief
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Stop Itch or Stingoes lotion from the pharmacy
  • Locally sourced and owned Tamanu Oil works well as a preventative and remedy and is available for sale in our reception.
  • Antihistamine. You need one specific for bites – speak to the pharmacy on which would be best
  • For severe or even allergic reactions – seek a GP’s professional opinion.  In the past,  when I have been bitten badly which resulted in welts – I had to receive special medication and steroid cream to assist with the bites.  The cream/lotion that the doctor prescribed me, once applied to the affected areas – had to also have glad wrap put on around the area, to allow the cream to really soak into the bite – I would generally leave this overnight and it worked very well.  Everyone is different though so do what is best for you.

(Original article by Caravan Living but has been adapted and updated)

102 Responses to "Relieve the Itch… Midges & Sand Flies – facts/remedies"

  • esther
    19-12-2016 - 3:27 pm Reply

    Does this remedies.work.for a three month old baby

    • Terry Walker
      11-10-2019 - 11:02 pm Reply

      I’ve been using the hot spoon method for more than twenty years and it really works.
      Savlon Antiseptic Cream rubbed into the affected area every couple of hours gives good relief.

      • Tochi
        30-10-2019 - 11:20 am Reply

        What do you mean by hot Spoon you

      • Carolyn
        22-11-2019 - 10:20 am Reply

        Wow just used the hot spoon with instnt relief, thank you!

        • Denis
          14-04-2020 - 3:03 pm Reply

          OK, so I got bitten (eaten) on Sunday night walking by the Broadwater of the Gold Coast, practicing social distancing due to the COVID19. Last night I put up with the itching but tonight I was wondering what was worst Coronavirus or the sandfly itch.
          I read through most of the list of items here, I tried the stingoes with little relief, so the next thing was the hot-hot shower. WOW! that nailed it, 5 mins with the shower on my legs, it felt like my skin was peeling off, but it worked, I’m in bed now 30 mins no itching, I’m guessing the spoon would do the same. Thank you…. Remember wash your hands!!!
          If your reading this years from now, we must have made it through the pandemic……

      • Fran Tozer
        02-04-2020 - 11:04 pm Reply

        Have just tried the hot spoon method, just held the hot spoon on the bite until the heat left it and itch gone. Amazing relief! Thank you so much for this tip!

      • Sam
        27-09-2020 - 9:12 pm Reply

        Thank you hot spoon turned me from crazy itchy lady to sleeping like a baby. Works amazingly well.

      • Veronik
        02-11-2020 - 8:58 am Reply

        You saved my night! Thank you!!!! I tried everything and it wasn’t working until this. I’m can finally sleep.

      • Lisa
        25-12-2020 - 12:03 pm Reply

        What’s hot spoon my bite are killing me

    • Julie
      23-02-2020 - 7:44 pm Reply

      You are actually incorrect about the hot shower. Having the hottest shower you can handle will actually take away the itch for about 4 or 5 hours. This is the treatment they use in the Broom Hospital in WA

      • Julie
        23-02-2020 - 7:46 pm Reply

        This is not a response to Terry but to the article. The hot spoon works also this method can do the whole body

  • Julie
    16-01-2017 - 10:32 am Reply

    I have actually found sensodyne toothpaste helps with the pain of the itch

  • Ken lucas
    15-04-2017 - 5:45 am Reply

    I live on th Sunshine Coast on the canals MINYAMA . I have all the trouble with midges and the itch has made me so cranky ( the itch takes o long to get relief of , I have tried everything and I have yet to fined something to help me . I have a bit of success with a hot shower and let the very hot water run on the itchy spots l have on me . I spoke to my chemist and asked him and he said to try Vit. B1 ,so I am giving it ago . I have lived here for 3years and been bitten in the wind ,winter summer , morning , noon and night so if some can help bring it on PLEASE, THANK YOU .

    • fox
      10-12-2017 - 8:34 am Reply

      hey guys vinegar is the best for these bites …apply and watch them gone by morning😁

      • Erika
        28-10-2019 - 10:09 pm Reply

        I agree with the vinegar option. I currently have about 30 bite from head to toe and used calamine lotion and cold showers, I was waking up itchy as hell and grabbed the vinegar bottle with mother and covered the worse spots with cotton wipes soaked in it and fell asleep. I’m not as itchy today. I did another round of vinegar this morning and left off the calamine lotion 🙂 so far so good!

    • Jenst
      28-12-2018 - 4:09 am Reply

      Try cloudy ammonia asap after bites

    • Debbie Brauner
      03-02-2020 - 11:18 pm Reply

      Serene Cream for Insect Bites – Even made on the Sunshine Coast

    • Deb Boutland
      20-11-2020 - 8:56 pm Reply

      Ken it’s B12.

  • Susan
    21-04-2017 - 12:42 am Reply

    I have found Lavender Oil the most effective anti itch for midges/sandflies and I do get a severe reaction.

    • Natalie
      05-11-2019 - 1:25 am Reply

      Thanks so much for the lavender oil! I happened to have one at home and just tried it plus hot water on the bites. I can honestly say that after a sleepless night and constant itching I can finally relax!

  • john mance
    23-04-2017 - 3:35 am Reply

    “Vicks VapoRubu” rub seems to work better then anything else.

    • Barbara Waaka
      19-11-2018 - 8:45 am Reply


  • Penelope Tubb
    23-04-2017 - 8:15 am Reply

    We live in Trinity Beach (Far North Qld) & I have recently been affected.by What I believe are Midge bites.
    Sat outside yesterday morning for breakfast & began to feel strange stingy/uncomfortable sensations on my upper arms & neck area. Was so uncomfortable, I immediately showered, although this provided no relief. Got worse during the day & is extremely itchy & almost painful today – I took phenergan (25mg x 2), immediately, & used Calimine Lotion. I have previously had midge attacks & the bites then became infected, requiring both oral & topical antibiotic treatment. I still have purple scars many months after the first episode & even my Doctor here misdiagnosed the rash as “chickenpox” I am still very uncomfortable today – using cold compresses & still taking phenergan. Barely slept last night & so itchy today.

    • Abby
      10-09-2018 - 6:08 am Reply

      Hi, after 1.5 years now, do you still have the scars?

    • Abby99
      10-09-2018 - 6:08 am Reply

      Hi, after 1.5 years now, do you still have the scars?

  • Judy
    26-04-2017 - 7:25 am Reply

    I have lived in sand fly / midge areas before and found the only way to get rid of the itch was to have a HOT shower with a bar of good old yellow Sunlight soap…..good luck
    If they get into your hair and bite you, move to another location 🙂 you wont be able to stand it
    Be very careful not to scratch these VERY ITCHY bites too much they can easily become infected.

  • Christopher
    17-07-2017 - 7:48 am Reply

    Thank you for this very helpful advice as now suffering from Sand fly bites on Praslin in The Seychelles and they are very itchy indeed !

  • Marie farmer
    04-11-2017 - 5:21 am Reply

    another remedy is baby oil 50ml with some dettol 20ml and apply with a cotton wool patch to exposed parts of body every day. this amount should last 2-3 wks

  • Charles
    06-12-2017 - 3:56 am Reply

    I often hAve been a victim to midge attack. Worst was at Airlie Beach. After several attempts to get some relief I would try anything anyone suggested plus attending the medical clinic for no relief.
    About 2yrs into our journey of life we come across a couple that suggested hot water from the shower, only as hot as you can handle and amazingly, it worked. Normally for one or two bites we just heat a spoon or perhaps heat kettle to 55-60°c and carefully touch bite area to heated surface, hot spoon or kettle, with care.
    It seems to feel as though it itch is magnified for a couple of seconds an then gone, no more itch…….

    • B lynch
      20-12-2017 - 6:56 am Reply

      I used a hot spoon from water in a cup and held on each bite for as long as I could
      Stopped the itch immediately plus redness has disappeared…….thanks for the tip

    • Carlos
      20-03-2018 - 1:05 pm Reply

      Thankyou Charles I thought of a burning method and this one was ideal I just got rid of 16 itchiy bites that I got 3 days ago burning them with a hot spoon I can sleep now thank mate .

  • Heather Black
    08-12-2017 - 2:21 pm Reply

    I tried using Haemorroid cream out of desperation today. It anaesthetised the area after first slathering but second and third application seems to not be as effective.
    Other things i used were tea tree oil,day 1. LATER,DOGS ITCH CREAM WITH CORTISONE.(OK BUT ALSO worked initially and not so good later.Have applied antiseptic general cream,too.Its been about three days and i am manically scratching till one of the creams work. Going to doctor on Monday!

  • Joe
    15-12-2017 - 8:44 am Reply

    Just tried the back of a hot teaspoon (I put it in a mug of boiled water) and it works a treat! Incidentally water as hot as you can stand is also the treatment for a sting ray sting.

  • Dr. Francesca D'Cruz
    15-12-2017 - 12:22 pm Reply

    I live in Airlie Beach and I’m a midge & mozzie magnet. I simply apply a drop of peppermint essential oil and the itch stops in 1 minute. It lasts all night and i just reapply if they reitch.

  • Chrissy
    24-12-2017 - 2:02 pm Reply

    Spray bites with Deodorant, it helps with the itching for hours. After shower and before going to bed rub the affected area with the inside of a banana peel.

  • Marlene Sinclair
    29-12-2017 - 5:48 am Reply

    I used to visit my daughter in Darwin, and she advised me to start daily vitamin B12 2 weeks before I went and stay on it while I am there. It works.
    I forgot once and was bitten to death!

  • Kathleen McGinty
    17-01-2018 - 4:50 pm Reply

    Best solution I have found and doesn’t leave ur skin sticky and smelly the plain old W
    INDEX… doesn’t matter what brand any window cleaner will do.. Beat solution I have found living in the beach with the buggers..

  • Shannon
    22-02-2018 - 2:40 am Reply

    Pinetarsol is the most effective treatment we have found. Bathe in it or apply directly depending on severity.

  • Audrey Johnson
    27-02-2018 - 7:15 am Reply

    Help I like in Deception Bay & the Midgies are
    Driving me CRAZY also my Little Dog .
    There Bites & also thereITCH I Come up in Red
    Bites & Boy can the little Devils Bite then The
    Itch it’s Driving Me Crazy I ‘m constantly
    Scratching i’m Tearing my Skin Making Myself
    Bleed .PLEASE Can Anyone Tell ME How I Can
    I Put Down a Glass Of Water To Take My
    Medication & Bingo it’s Got Black Midgies
    Floating in It .PLEASE SOMEONE HELP Me !!!

    • Gail N
      08-11-2018 - 1:05 am Reply

      Did you try some of these suggestions? I found hot spoon on bites worked well and enabled me to sleep but not sure if I will have to repeat process tonight, wait and see. Also vinegar sounds good and easy as well as onion and potato. Good luck , hope you and your dog get some relief. Maybe best to try vinegar and potato on your dog rather than boiling hot water.

    • Ann
      22-09-2019 - 10:26 am Reply

      Buy cheap old sheer curtains from thrift shop with a fine mesh ( best if smaller holes than the usual 1mm square mesh of flyscreens. Cit them to the size of your windows. Use thumb tacks or nails to put them up so there are no gaps. Stay inside! If u go outside cover as much skin with clothes as you can, the rest use a good moisturiser ( MooGoo is costly but not harmful, all natural) and/ or sunscreen applied thickly then spray wth repellant. If u r bitten get a cotton pad & apply Calamine lotion ( from the chemist) very thickly – it looks pink but worth it

    • Deborah BOUTLAND
      20-11-2020 - 9:05 pm Reply

      Audrey try my aunt- her and her husband produce velcro fine mesh window coverings which can be made custom . Beverly Brookes in Kiama – try messenger app , Facebook.

  • persuasive essay template
    09-03-2018 - 5:08 am Reply

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
    over again. Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!

  • Vicki
    11-03-2018 - 11:38 am Reply

    Hi, spent a week visiting Noosa and went fishing. Well my body was full of bites when I left Noosa and felt the only relief was tea tree oil dabbed on my arms & legs for relief. Having a Hot shower I found some relief. Whatever helps with the itch I would continue. Waiting for the bites to slow feeling me to scratch them. Hope they don’t leave a mark!

  • Sherri
    30-03-2018 - 8:14 am Reply

    I cut the end off an onion and rubbed it on a fresh bite that was pink in the centre and swelling with colour over a large area of my ankle. The onion relieved the pain and itching immediately. I was amazed at how fast the swelling went down. Natural cure seem to work best. I spent a lot of $ on ointments that were not nearly as effective.

  • Vicki
    16-04-2018 - 10:59 pm Reply

    I read these posts after being eaten at a time not usually know for sandflies. I tried antihistamine and soov gel.
    I figured I would try the hot water as easy on legs.
    Absolutely worked a treat. Had it so hot almost unbearable but flicked it on and off when too much. Been free of itch since.
    Thanks for posting. It really works.

  • Beverley Gill
    20-06-2018 - 12:14 am Reply

    Thanks for all the suggestions…I only get really bad leg and ankle unbearable itching because I have blood pooled around my ankles…find vinegar good and have just tried today the
    baby oil and dettol..fingers crossed..I love to sit in the sun but because of the bites I have been unable to do it… Will keep trying all your suggestions…Many thanks!!!

  • Isobel Davidson
    30-06-2018 - 6:34 am Reply

    I Have had a Brain stem stroke few years back On my Bad side I Have some soresIf one has broken out it feels like My whole Body on the right side is itching From head too toe I also just Have one on my head also my Bad side Can someone pleaseReccomend what I can do The nerve pain i get is bad enough But i could cut The right side off with a saw The midges Are eating My bad side only of my Scalp I have Tegaderm Patches for thesores to keep covered I can’t wear a T Shirt I have to keep coveredupin this Heat Please Help me I Cannot bear this anymore The Drs Have gave me antihistamines But with The other 28 pills I get I can’t get them for months at a time They interfere with my stroke polls in at my wits end Anyone help me Thankful just anything I will try

      • Janice
        03-01-2020 - 11:32 pm Reply

        The link you included says this disease exists in every continent EXCEPT Australia. It is also a reasonably recent article written in 2017. Some people may be unnecessarily freaked out reading your link?

        • Kenneth
          22-02-2020 - 1:12 pm Reply

          But they also say that Lime disease isn’t in Australia, but tell that to those here suffering from it, and those who flew to the US and were cured after treatment for Lime disease.

  • Debbie Reynolds
    30-07-2018 - 10:06 pm Reply

    If you do get bitten by midgies cut a potato and apply straight to the bite. The starchier the better. Instant relief. This works on other bites as well.

  • David
    28-08-2018 - 3:24 pm Reply

    It Works. 3am and hands covered in sandfly bites gone. Was going insane. Boiled water, cup of hot water and hot spoon onto itchy bite did the trick. Tried anti-itch cream nothing, hot teaspoon savior.
    Back to sleep now.

  • C. Evans
    17-10-2018 - 6:51 pm Reply

    I live in the southeastern USA on the coast, where it is very hot and humid for much of the year. I am in the process of restoring my flower beds and rose gardens, and have been digging out tree sapling roots and getting the ground prepared for planting. Digging through this leaf litter has unleashed sand flies or some type of biting insect(s) that have eaten me alive. I have mosquitoes too, and know what those bites are like, but these other bites are agonizingly itchy. I get in a frenzy scratching them, and find that extremely hot showers, the hot teaspoon idea, and blow dryer used carefully do work…some. These bites itch up to a month or longer. In the unbearable heat I wear jeans, loose shirt that covers as much as possible, socks, shoes, gloves, and tons of the highest level DEET bug spray I can buy. Still get bitten! Have tried many resources to try to figure out what they are and how to deal with them. Maybe the insects are not sand flies—just don’t know!

    • Vickie Ray
      23-06-2019 - 9:53 pm Reply

      I think you had chiggers. Best thing for that is wear clothing that covers your legs and stuff and then spray yourself, your clothes, with bug spray with deet. Chiggers last a long time. They hang on your clothes and even after you take them off they are still there. They will get on your car seat. They will hang on the bottom of your short and when you go to the bathroom they will get on your body under the shirt and pants. The bug spray keeps them from hanging on to your clothes and getting on you.
      Of you do get bit, I found hot as you can stand water with Epsom slats in it. Then cortisone cream!

  • Gail
    19-10-2018 - 2:32 pm Reply

    Thanks for all the remedies. I am covered in midgie bites from river heads side of Fraser Island. Tried everything today but only got temporary relief. I just tried the boiled water in cup with teaspoon. Worked great. Tapped & held it on each of my hundreds of bites. Took a while. Figured I’d be awake anyway with the itch. Did some couple of times. It actually worked. Not sure why it worked. Could feel the sting reduce for each bite. Thank goodness. I may get some sleep now.

    • Barbara Waaka
      19-11-2018 - 8:57 am Reply

      Going to try hot teaspoon method if there’s a next time for me .. ty

  • Karen Worthington
    04-11-2018 - 10:02 am Reply

    Hand sanitizer- works a treat

    • Barb
      01-10-2020 - 10:02 am Reply

      Yes !!! Thanks so much 🙂

  • John
    07-11-2018 - 3:11 am Reply

    Just tried the spoon soaked in hot water. (East Gippsland, Victoria)
    Worked a treat.

    Thanks everyone. I was dealing with only 5 bites, but I find they itch worse depending where the bites are. The one on my middle finger was intense today. Hot spoon 5 minutes ago and itch is gone. I feel like the wheel just got re-invented as I had about 50 bites a couple years ago and I would of spent hours doing the same to each one had I have known.

  • Barbara Waaka
    19-11-2018 - 8:55 am Reply

    I’ve recently moved to Beachmere in south east Qld and an area right on the water with lots of mangroves .. and midges .. I vege garden alot and watering late arvo thru dusk to dark and was attacked severly when I first arrived .. I told my resident landlords, who have lived here for over 10 yrs and they told me to cover all exposed skin with a thick layer of coconut oil .. it works .. I have not been bitten since … and my skin is lovely .. I don’t recommend using coconut oil in the sunshine tho’ as you will cook your skin … I haven’t had more than a couple of bites thru’ the day which I can cope with using an ice pack for relief but before dusk, it’s coconut oil the way.

  • Kay Batstone
    10-12-2018 - 7:15 pm Reply

    Just returned from the Gold Coast with dozens of sandfly bites. Tried the spoon and hot water treatment and it worked at once. Stingoes did nothing.

  • Sumit
    17-12-2018 - 9:07 am Reply

    One remedy that works like a charm is using a hot spoon on the bites.
    I had several bites on the leg and the itching would just not ease with all the water techniques and creams I used. Finally, I lit a candle and held the spoon over the flame for 3 to 4 seconds each time and quarterized the bites one by one. You can feel the bite burn to the core and then the itch is completely gone. This method actually burns out the itchy liquid left by the flies. That’s it, no more itching.
    That said, I must warn you that this is risky and please do not try this at home.

  • Steve
    27-12-2018 - 2:50 am Reply

    Like Gail I did the same with hot water and spoon on both lower legs. Good for relief. After a while, maybe an hour, I had to reapply to tame the itch a little more. Going to rub some vinegar over the bites for a bit of extra relief.

    Cheers for the tips.

  • Sue
    27-12-2018 - 9:00 am Reply

    Just did the teaspoon thing and it worked!! Thank you whoever posted it.

    • Dr roger
      03-01-2021 - 11:38 am Reply

      Went for a fish on the weekend caught nothing but sand fly bites, missus has been nagging like a kicked dog up until the old hot spoon trick.

  • Jens
    28-12-2018 - 2:33 am Reply

    Cloudy ammonia relieves Itch instantly

  • Jean
    03-01-2019 - 6:42 pm Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks to those who suggested burning the sandfly bites with a boiling cup of water and a teaspoon… 100% works. I’ve been up every couple of hours scratching like mad and then it hit 3:30am and I had enough! Tried this remedy and no more itching! It literally took me over an hour and I had to reboil the kettle a couple of times due to the sheer number of bites on my legs… There must be 50 on each leg… But not one of them itch anymore! It’s now quarter to 5 and Im going back to sleep itch-free… Thank God for this thread!!! <3

  • Kizza
    07-01-2019 - 7:57 am Reply

    I literally have ice packs all over me and it really helps stop the itch. Stings for a little bit but helps a lot.

  • Brian kelly
    07-01-2019 - 9:24 am Reply

    Tried the hot spoon. Worked a treat. My guess is that the heat (as hot as you can stand) denatures the irritant enzymes. This is the case with bluebottle stings, in that hot water is the best first aid.

  • Denver
    10-01-2019 - 9:58 am Reply

    Renember your dog. Neighbour had s small dog she thiught was alergic to the grass. Turned him over and his skin was red with the small bites. Dog was suffering from itch as well. Especially in the groin area where the fur coat is thin and offers little protection. Mozzie spray helps me as a prentitive measure, but spray your dogs undercarruage too, or put the spray on you hands a then rub uut into pooch where the coat is thin/skin exposed.

  • Jen
    11-02-2019 - 9:27 pm Reply

    I had to post the most successful cure I got from the above suggestions.
    Dip a spoon into a cup of boiling water. Dry the spoon.
    Apply the hot spoon with a light up and down touch st first then press firmly over the bite when the spoon is a bearable temperature.

    I am covered in sandfly bites and woke up feeling the itch to be unbearable. I read the posts and did the easiest one.

    Apply hot spoon. It worked!! All of the itch has gone.

    The itch went immediately and hasn’t returned in the last hour. The red marks are reduced in size.
    Thanks to all of you people who shared here.

  • Botany
    15-02-2019 - 5:57 am Reply

    Here in Sydney metropolitan area we have them (the midges) too. I got only 3 bites but I could not stop scratching for half an hour.

    Thank you everyone for sharing the hot spoon method. Worked for me.

  • Hets
    22-02-2019 - 7:53 pm Reply

    Very interesting blog! We recently located to an island with 80% area under mangroves, near Nicaragua. We as well as our guests have various degrees of severe reactions to these nasty buggers. We have read a lot about prevention but what we have found to really help for the itching is coconut oil. Lots of beautiful palm trees and raw coconut oil but I suppose store bought coconut oil would be worth the try! The insect repellent Off with 7.5% DEET and Aloe Vera we have here, does help a little but in the end the itching is what causes the most discomfort and coconut oil not only relieves the itch but helps the skin recover from scratch marks and scars. Also natural and safe for kids and pets.

  • Tam Dang
    01-03-2019 - 2:36 pm Reply

    Thanks for the tea spon and the boiled water trick.It works for me!! After 1 weeks of scratching till boeeding and scaring myself..I finally can feel the relief of itchiness. Heading to bed happily at 1am knowing that i will have a good sleep. I have spent over 50bucks for different medication including antihistamine, Soov, Calamine, cold bath, salt water.. no things works!! Amaxing remedy! Just wondering if it work for other bites..

  • Maxim
    20-03-2019 - 11:47 am Reply

    I believe that heating is a universal remedy for itching of many sources, not just insect bites, but also mild allergies to anything, or just itching without a particular reason. I seems that the true help is not from “destroying the insect saliva agents” but probably from destroying certain compounds of our body that initiate itching (histamine?), or maybe not destroying but diluting and removing them from the itching area through the blood flow activated by the heat.
    After using the heating method successfully many times, I would add that it may not work forever – often it should be repeated for the same place 2-3 times every 24 hours or so. There is also a danger of making a burn – some parts of the skin are surprisingly burning much faster. If you have a hairdryer, directing the hot air flow from it on an itching place can be a better option than hot metal things – less risk for burns.

    • Sean
      31-08-2020 - 7:56 am Reply

      This study concurs with your conclusions!


      Also, using very high temperatures as per your prudent warning is not advisable and not needed to provide relief: the device used in the study operates at only 51°C; I tend to use hot water straight from the tap on a cloth, which would be about 60-65°C by the time it hits my skin, and even that’s just bearable for a few seconds. Anything over that could result in some kind of mild burns and tissue damage as you’ve wisely noted.

  • Jendah37
    14-04-2019 - 7:54 am Reply

    I just got home from Roatan today and my legs were itching so bad I couldn’t sleep. Got bit at least 50 times and I was miserable. Tried my daughter’s Aquafor diaper rash cream. Worked like a charm!!!

    • Sean
      31-08-2020 - 8:02 am Reply

      The single active ingredient in most nappy rash creams is zinc oxide, including Aquafor, so that’s an interesting finding! Sunscreen often contains the same thing at some percentage, so that might be effective also in an emergency.

  • X
    04-05-2019 - 4:29 pm Reply

    Hot teaspoon method worked like a charm!
    Tried all sorts of creams and lotions but none of them worked. Came across this page and decided to give it a go (I was desperate to try anything). Swelling went down significantly almost immediately. I re-did again the next day on some of the bites as they were still itching a little but nothing hot teaspoon cant fix.

    Thank you for the suggestion and comments I can finally sleep in peace!

  • Clare Vernon
    09-05-2019 - 6:53 am Reply

    Neurogenic Gel works a treat, but has to be repeated. Going to try the hot spoon treatment right now! Hope it works, the itch is unbearable!!

  • SM
    21-05-2019 - 11:41 am Reply

    Moved back to the NT this year and was recently attacked by midges, unfortunately my immunity has gone. Surprisingly the hot spoon worked. I’ve found tiger balm/Vick’s/mopiko work too.

  • jen
    11-06-2019 - 8:14 am Reply

    Just get a glass bottle, fill up with hot water. Heating up a spoon is more troublesome.

  • Tochi
    30-10-2019 - 11:23 am Reply

    My reaction to sandfly is so bad that aside the itching and swelling it leaves black spots and patches on my skin making me look rough… What do I do please

  • Denise
    03-11-2019 - 1:32 pm Reply

    Happiness in a hot spoon . I’m so immensely grateful to have bumped into this website and all your comments in search for a relief. I have always instinctively used a hot spoon to relief a sandfly bite or any other annoying bite many times in my life..Now reading your comments alive realised I was doing the right thing and is my forever remedy to the unescapable sandfly bites here in NZ. I’ve spent an hour and so going through each one of them and now I can feel the relief I needed to go back to sleep.

  • Natalie
    05-11-2019 - 1:31 am Reply

    I have tried 3 things today based on all of your wonderful advices:
    1. Really hot water on affected areas
    2. Lavender oil
    3. Apple sider vinegar ( stings at first but then- huge relief)
    I must say you guys are saved me!
    I also applied Stop Itch cream from the chemist last night and have to say that while it works wonders with mosquito bites, it does a very little to relieve the bites of sandflies or midges. I could not sleep last night and was so itchy.
    Thanks to all for taking time and giving all your wonderful suggestions

  • Irene Barbara Moore
    26-11-2019 - 7:19 am Reply

    I live on Phillip island in sandfy or midge prone area.the one thing that works is a. Spray with Bushmams insect spray before going outside after
    4.30 pm on any skin not covered by clothing. b. If bitten use Bushmans. or Rid gel on bites. reapply if it starts getting itchy again.

  • byron mcfadden
    23-02-2020 - 8:07 pm Reply

    Windex or Glass cleaner works perfectly ever time ,spray a good amount on the effected area & gentle. Rub in ,then apply a second coat with out rubbing &within seconds the itchiness stops I found this out myself &half used it on many non believer’s ,&they where amazed ,I also find if u put a little methylated spirits in with the glass cleaner it works even better &quiker ,try it for your selves it works 😉 Windex Glass cleaner

  • Jennifer Southworth
    16-03-2020 - 10:41 am Reply

    Oh my goodness 24 hours of insane itching and no creams worked! Huge patches of bites red and swollen. The hot water and spoon ooooh wonderful ..swelling gone down redness eased off and itching gone ..maybe temporary but I will do it again if needed. Thankyou everyone!

  • Joseph
    04-05-2020 - 4:41 pm Reply

    I went camping on Saturday morning cam home on Sunday morning how long did the sandfly bite for

  • Sean
    31-08-2020 - 7:37 am Reply

    Hi Lucy, thanks for these tips and for leaving comments open for feedback. I’ve been plagued a few times lately by what I think are midge bites with a reaction very much like your photo, but could be anything, and have tried many or most or all of the remedies you’ve listed, where Soov probably provided the most relief (this is because it contains lignocaine as a painkiller, as does Savlon, etc), until a friend suggested applying immediate heat to ‘cook’ the insect’s anticoagulant and other gunk, in their words, i.e. the implication is that heat might chemically denature the irritants in the insect’s saliva. I’ve tried this method now recently and got reasonably good results despite my initial scepticism. There’s one paper from 2011 in a German study of a technique that uses a heating device to 51°C for 3 or 6 seconds on just about any type of insect sting and bite, and they claim very good results also, although they postulate a different reason for its success than denaturing the chemicals in the bite. I tend to apply hot water straight from the hot water tap on a face washer which would be about 60°C for a few seconds at a time or as long as I can stand. This is of course very similar to the hot spoon method. I wouldn’t recommend using boiling water straight from the kettle at near 100°C because it will basically burn you and you don’t need that kind of temperature for a result.

    I’m in Sydney, but apparently midges are migrating further and further south into this climate from more tropical locations.

    See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257884/ for the text of the study, which is reasonably understandable and readable, lol.

  • Patricia Hever
    07-09-2020 - 8:58 am Reply

    Hi I got a lot of midgie bites at Woodgate in Queensland. My husband also did but his disappeared after he walked in the ocean, mine on the other hand became a problem the next day (I have never been in a place where midgies are) I read each and everyone of the comments and tried most. Tea Tree Oil, hot spoon etc but the think I found that helped me was hot water (I have a hand show er) on the bites (ankles) as hot as I could take and got instant relief enough to last all night. I used this method the next day etc. I also was advised to purchase SOOVbite with lidocaine. This also helped.

  • Angelito Palma
    24-09-2020 - 4:38 am Reply

    Wish I’d known about the hot spoon method years ago when I cam back from a Philippine beach with 80+ bites.
    It appears that heat in whatever form may be the key, and may work on many insect bites. Yesterday, I got bitten by an ant and it was really itchy. After I found this blog searching for sand fly prevention, I used a heat gun on the bite and it worked.
    Thanks for the info

  • Karyl
    05-10-2020 - 12:02 am Reply

    I live on Qld Sunshine Coast and am highly allergic to sandfly bites. Most times I require antibiotics as the bites become infected and last months. I even get scarring from some of the bites.
    I have tried everything and I mean everything from crazy remedies like the hot spoon, baby oil and even tiger balm.
    In my medicine cabinet, I have 8 different itch relief creams (Soov, Itch Eze, Stingose, Calamine lotion to name a few) and none of them work at all. I have also tried vicks vaporub, lavender oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, antihistamine tabs like Polaramine, Zyrtec, etc. NOTHING WORKED AT ALL!!!!
    So out of desperation, I tried the spoon in the hot water trick – unbelievable, the itch was gone (replaced by a temporary burning sensation of course but not for long and when you are desperate with no sleep for days, you will try anything!!!) I only put it on each bite for 10 seconds.
    I must confess that the hot spoon does create blisters but I can handle that with antiseptic cream but the itch lessens for some time – about 4-5 hours, enough time to get some sleep.
    People are horrified by this and my husband has to leave the room when I do it as he cant handle it!
    I have just tried Tiger Balm this morning and that actually worked temporarily, see how itchy they get in a few hours. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.
    So I would highly recommend the hot spoon method and the jury is still out concerning Tiger Balm.

  • Mr Ric McInerney
    06-11-2020 - 4:00 am Reply

    I have suffered from midge bites annually for the past 20 years, always resulting in massive weeping sores and debilitating itchiness, but never once have been left with any scars. I’ve tried all kinds of things from creams, stop-itch, bi-carb soda and teatree oil. Each has given a degree of relief, but today I tried the hot spoon suggested on this site. Wow! It works! Thanks for this one!

  • Carol Reich
    05-12-2020 - 7:02 pm Reply

    I went to Darwin in August 2020 and came home with Midge bits .I’m still itchy now Dec 2020 and it has been so itchy and unbearable. I went to the Dr who gave quarterzo cream but didn’t do anything to help.Im going to try the hotspoon method and hope it works as I have put
    Up with this itch for over three months.Hope it works as Im desperate for a cure.

  • Karen
    23-12-2020 - 6:05 am Reply

    I got bitten in the umfolozi game park (unbeknown by me) and the itching only started once I left
    I have been treated with an antibiotic, antihistamines and cortisone for my very bad reaction to them. Although they no longer itch and are pupley red kind of bump/scabs now, I have developed incredibly painful wrists, and then my knees started aching and my shoulder. Can anyone tell me if they have encountered these symptoms. I am roughly 23 days in from the start of the itching so about 3 and a half weeks since I was bitten. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • James P
    29-12-2020 - 1:52 am Reply

    Applying heat really does work, thanks for the advice. But the spoon is too fiddly. Just pour very hot water in a mug and carefully press or roll side of the mug against the bite. Add cold water if it’s too hot (but the hotter the better).

    It reminds me of the old trick of holding a lit match to a bee sting. The heat neutralises the histamine it seems.

  • K
    29-12-2020 - 8:25 pm Reply

    FYI: They don’t actually urinate on you. They bite, inject their saliva whilst removing some blood for their protein source. The saliva is the catalyst for the irritation & itch following after.

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