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Insect Bites

Sand Fly Bites Treatment, Pictures, Symptoms, Healing Time, How Long Does it Last

Sand fly bite picture

How long does sand fly bites last? Get insights on the healing time, symptoms, treatment and pictures.

Sand flies are probably the most widespread and definitely one of the most irritating. Known over the world by a host of names including sandflies, noseeums, no-see-ums, nicnics, hop-a-long, biting midge, punkie, punky, sandfly, sand flea, sand fly, black flies, black gnats, manta Blanca, palomilla, asa branca, quemadores and pringadores.

These are the colloquial names for the small insects that bite and irritate and are capable of discomfort hugely disproportionate to their size.

Sand Fly Bites

sand fly bites on human

sand fly bites

There are a thousands of variations of small biting insects but we are interested in the 1.5 – 4.0mm family of ceratopogonidae who have piercing and sucking mouthparts although only the female feeds on blood.

People in some country are most likely to encounter sand flies in problem numbers around tidal zones and mangrove swamps.

Sand fly bites often occur before the victim even realizes a potential risk. Small and hard to see (no-see-ums) it may take hours or until the following day until an irritated, itching local reaction develops.

Research shows that sand flies create the annoying welts and lesions seen on humans by urinating on them. Sand flies may well urinate on people but it does not cause the common reaction seen on human skin. This is caused by the bite.


The female sand fly bites humans in order to get protein from the blood, necessary for egg laying and reproductive cycles. The bite involves the injection of saliva containing an anti-coagulant, making it easier for the flea to draw blood from its host. The saliva contains allergens that trigger the body’s immune system and red welts and also lesions develop.

In some countries like Australia sand flies are unlikely to transmit disease although they are problematic in more northern countries including the Philippines.

Sand flies activity is heaviest at sunrise and sunset these are the normal feeding times for most things, and reputedly virulent nearing and on the full moon, Although there is no evidence to prove this.

You are probably better off concentrating on other mythological phenomena like werewolves and vampires around the full moon and just developing an overall strategy for sand flies.

Sand fly bites affects some more than others

Sand flies seem to affect some people more than others. In this case one or two people will react to the bites extremely badly while others in a group will only present with mild irritation. It also indicates that humans are capable of developing a natural tolerance and resistance with repeated exposure or it may be simply that one person’s immune system may react differently than the next.

Sand Fly Bites Pictures

sand fly bites

sand fly picture

After this discussion we have several pictures that will enable you to understand how the sand fly can cause damage to your skin.

Moreover, you can learn more on the sand fly life cycle, discover how you can handle skin conditions that result from sand fly bites, and read up on what you can do to prevent being bitten by these fleas.

How Long Does Sand Fly Bites Last

The life history of fleas has shown that they are vectors of various deadly diseases including the plague and typhus. Today, fleas are nothing but annoying parasites that can cause bites on humans and pets.

It also advisable to find out how long sand fly bites can last on humans and pets as well as ways of healing them faster. More importantly, it is necessary to find ways to eliminate infestations so that you can be able to prevent more bites.

How long does the bites last on humans?

Flea bites on humans are accompanied by red blotchy skin. Most people are unaware that fleas have bitten them. However, others may not be so lucky; they may develop allergic to the flea bite saliva that can cause intense itching, red and swollen welts and bite marks in groups or clusters that may take some weeks to heal.

That brings us to answering the question: how long does sand fly bites last? Typically, this depends on several factors which are mentioned here:

It depends on how sensitive is your skin and also if you have visited your doctor to get the bites treated. You also must be sure if it is a flea infestation in the first place. Many skin conditions are actually similar to flea bites, but you may find out they may be something totally different and last longer. In this case, you can also use several natural remedies and products to treat and cure the flea bites on humans faster. Some of these remedies including:

  • Applying an ice pack on the site of bite to prevent swelling, itching and soothe the skin.
  • Washing the site with an antiseptic soap and applying an anti-septic cream or lotion.
  • You can also apply aloe vera gel taken directly from the plant, as well, calendula extracts are also soothing and helps a lot to prevent itching and excess of the rash.

These are tried and tasted methods of healing flea bite on human skin faster so that they do not cause more infections.

How long do flea bites last on dogs and cats?

Sand fly bites on cats and dogs, especially if they are not treated, can result to worse conditions. Some amongst these is flea bite allergy dermatitis where the animal may be overly sensitive to fleas and scratch intensely resulting to open blisters, loss of hair and other symptoms.

It is important to treat dogs and cats with the help of a vet, more likely if the flea bites are taking longer than a week. Prescription steroids or antibiotics may be advised for healing such open wounds faster.

Anemia is another probable effect of flea bites on dogs and cats.

Ways of treating and preventing flea bites faster on animals include:

  • Comb the pet; watch out for signs of flea dirt or flea feces
  • Bathe the pet in soothing baths made of natural products such as peppermint essential oil, lavender oil and others. These are soothing and natural ingredients that can help prevent inflammation and itching combined with sand fly bites.
  • You can use all natural flea and tick prevention shampoos or sprays containing aloe vera, calendula and including others.
  • Use comfortis, oral drugs for flea prevention and treatment as it has very few side effects compared to other oral flea prevention products.
  • Pets can also be treated with soothing natural remedies including a paste made from baking soda and water applied directly to the bite location, which will reduce itching and scratching.

Sand Fly Bites Symptoms

sand fly bites symptoms

sand fly bites swelling

Sand flies are small, winged insects that live, breed and troll areas such as beaches. The sand fly make its home in the sand, which means that someone enjoying the sandy areas where the sand flies live is prone to its bites.

Though not every sand fly that lands on human bites them, a beach infested with sand flies can end up causing problems for people who have not protected their skin. Identifying the symptoms of sand fly bites can help you notice the problem quickly.

Though only the female sand fly will draw or suck blood during a biting episode, being repeatedly bitten by sand flies could lead to small specks of blood to appear. If you are in a sandy area and feel slight pinches on your skin, check the top of your skin for signs of blood. Any blood will be small flecks that signal a sand fly bite.

Once a sand fly bites you, your body and skin react in the same manner as with any other insect bite. You may feel the pinch and then an itching sensation. This is one of the most known symptoms associated with sand flies. Do not take it for granted. If you feel a few bites while on or near the sand, leave the area and check your skin in bright light to look for other signs of sand fly bites.

Dermatitis is another common term for skin conditions that results irritation such as skin slaking, dry patches, itching and redness. When this infection comes up, especially where no history of the condition is present, assess whether you have been in contact with sand fleas.


Since female sand fleas draw blood as they bite, they may have compromised your skin during continues bites. When these fleas bites, they make your skin uncomfortable and irritated.

When a sand fly bites an infected rat or mouse, then transfers contracted diseases to a human, it usually lays eggs at the bite site. The bite may turn into more than a simple welt. Because of this transfer of infection, the point where the sand fly bit you will eventually turn into a pustule or boil. Visit your dermatologist for checkup; you may need antibiotics or to have the boil lanced.

In this case, you may experience tiny bites and have noticed other symptoms, make a visual survey of your skin. You may also find some complications. Look for red and slightly inflamed skin where the sand fly bit you. A hot sun and wind-blown sand can cause redness, but the redness combined with sand fly bites will be more concentrated in the location of the bite.

Sand Fly Bites Healing Time

Sand fly bit can take some time before healing depending on how you are treating it. You can use a good cold pressed vegetable oil, like olive and add a small amount of tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender. Here’s a quick recipe. 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 drops of essential oil.

This is because you are immediately disinfecting and soothing the sand fly or mosquito bite before a reaction begins. It’s not the bite that is bothering you but the saliva from the biter! It can be worse to create an allergic reaction.

Before bedtime

We have found that applying a bite soother as a gentle massage just before bedtime will set you up for a better sleep. It may not be itching when you go to bed, but it might be, those bites will wake you. The body usually does a lot of healing at night, so this is often when you will feel the most distracted by the condition.

Don’t be tempted to scratch!


Scratching extends the healing time and cause more infection. This is where bites can turn into real problems. Do not scratch. Gentry massage a bite soother on the affected area instead.

Heating and cooling

You might develop a lot of heat and swelling accompanied with a sand fly bites. Cooling bites gently will sooth but you do not have to ice them, because the body contracts very greatly that the process of clearing the bite from the body is shut down. On the other side, you don’t have to heat the skin that already has heat, so if you take a bath, not too hot, and also remember not to stay in the sun.

You can place your hand over the bites with the intention of easing pain, clearing swelling or being of assistance as the body needs it. One of the hands on treatment is known as reiki, this can be more helpful and also speed up the healing process.

Sand Fly Bites vs. Bed Bugs

sand fly bites pictures

sand fly bites symptoms

There are some things you need to do especially when you are trying to find out what you are dealing with. This can sometimes be quite difficult, as there are many different types of bugs and bug bites.

Most people when they have noticed red spots appearing on their body, typically on the arms and legs. I know how annoying both sand fly bites and bed bugs bites can be. You need to learn about these bugs in order to differentiate and get rid of both flea bites.

Sand fly bites

Sand fly are typically found on pets like dogs and cats, but they can also be found on many other animals. They usually suck the blood out of the host with their special jaws that cut right through the skin. Some people are more sensitive to flea bites than others. Children are often more sensitive and likely to generate allergic reactions from sand fly bites than adults.

There are also some lucky people that never get bitten or never feel the bites. Whenever you get flea bites, it is a great idea to not scratch the area. The wounds can easily get infected and that will only increase the itching.

Bed bug bites

Bug bites are more difficult to identify because they look a lot like mosquito bites. Most people usually mistake bed bug bites for other types of allergies and end up treating them the wrong way. What you have look for is a certain pattern of the bites.

When comparing sand fly bit vs. bed bug bit, it also important to note that the bed bug are nocturnal and therefore mostly bite after dark. Bed bugs are also much easier to spot as they are larger than fleas.

How to identify

It can be difficult to see the difference between the two types of bites at first, but you will find that it’s not that much of a problem once you learn about the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites. Remember that the reaction to these bites can appear differently on people, so one infection does not always look like the other. In this case, let’s look at the differences.

Sand fly bites usually looks like small clusters of dots while bed bug bites are red, hard and swollen a little. So basically they look like mosquito bites. Normally the flea bites randomly on the body. The bed bug tend to bite more strategically in linear rows.

Where bed bug bites can be found anywhere on the body, sand fly bites are often located on the legs and ankles because these areas are easier to get to. The itching and scratching factor on flea bites vs. bed bug bites is about the same. They are both a pain in the neck for animals and humans, and they can cause allergies and swelling.

After you have identified the problem you should start treatment and pest control immediately. You want to get rid of the irritation on your skin fast and get the bugs out of your home and your life completely. Once you are rid of the fleas or bed bugs, it is important that you prevent new infestations from happening. Do this by keeping your home clean and hygiene at a top priority.

Note that rashes from fleas and bed bugs are not contagious or dangerous for most people. They don’t transmit diseases like ticks do. You should visit your doctor if you feel uncomfortable or sick, and if you are not sure what could be the cause of the bites.

Sand Fly Bites Treatment

You will know how to treat and prevent the bites to avoid this problem in future. People that have already gone through these bites already know that they can be quite painful. If left untreated, they can cause a lot of suffering for several weeks or more, before they usually go away by themselves. Sand fleas can carry diseases and transmit viruses, so you should urgently see a physician if you feel severe symptoms after getting bitten.

Even though these parasites are small but they can lead severe complications. They typically bite the feet, ankles and legs because they are closest to the ground. Sand fleas can only jump around 20-40 cm, so there’s much less chances of getting bitten on the upper body unless you are lying down on the sand. The most likely time you can be bitten is during the evening, night, or at dawn. This is when the sand fleas are most active,

You may have been bitten by these bloodsucking parasites, this is how you treat sand fly bites on human:

  • First of all do not scratch the bites. It increases the chance of getting infections in the wound.
  • Check the bite for breeding sand fleas. They can live under your skin and suck your blood for weeks.
  • Apply some over-the-counter on the bites to control the itching, and take some painkillers to reduce the pain and swelling. You should see a doctor if this does not help or if the symptoms get worse. He or she may also advise you to treat your bites with an antihistamine cream.
  • Baking soda mixed with water may also speed up the healing. Just put it on the affected area and let it stay.
  • Make yourself an oatmeal bath and soak in it to reduce the itching. Use lukewarm water.
  • Aloe plant is great for all kind of wounds and it also has a soothing effect on sand fly bites.

Some of the natural remedies list

  • Soap
  • Rub with garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Toothpaste
  • Tea tree oil-dab on bites
  • Onion-rub bites 30 minutes before having a shower
  • Salty water-allowed to air dry and form a crust
  • Turmeric root-apply by ribbing


Learn how to prevent sand fly bites rather than treating them. If you want to avoid getting bitten, just follow these tips and you will have completely decreased the chance of this condition:

  • Avoid visiting the beach especially when it has been raining. Sand fleas seem to be more aggressive when the air cool and moist. You should also stay away from the beach in the morning hours and in the evening for that same reason. A number of people go to the beach when it is warm and dry outside.
  • If you must go to the beach when it’s cool outside, always remember to pack your insect repellant.
  • Also cover yourself up when sitting or lying down to avoid getting bitten on your neck, back, legs and arms.

Further references:

  1. Sand bites and prevention:
  2. Time taken by sand bites to heal:
  3. Symptom indicators of sandfly bites:
  4. Sand flea bites on human;
  5. Flea bites vs. bed bug bites:
  6. Treatment after sand flea bites:
  7. Dealing with sandfly bites:

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