January 2001. Sand flies are a nuisance at many places in the Pacific, and can be especially unpleasant to guests at beach resorts. Those causing a problem to people frequenting a marina in Fiji were the subject of a question to PestNet in 2001. There they were a problem, particularly in the dry season, and the solution is to blanket spray with insecticide. There was a suggestion, from evidence, in Australia, that sand flies were associated with mangroves, and PestNet members were asked to confirm this. And then there is their association with debris. So what’s the story?
PestNet members did not provide a cure for sand flies, but did give information on the types of sand fly: they differ greatly, although collectively “sand flies”. The first matter is to identify the flies. There are many species of flies which frequent the waterfronts and beaches, especially where there is decaying plant matter. The Psychodidae are usually known as sand flies; their larvae live in decaying plant matter, mud, moss, and moist places. The Phlebotomine (Psychodid) flies are blood feeders, and common vectors of Leishmania, causing kala-azar and oriental sore; they also transmit some viral diseases. If not Phlebotomus species, i.e., members of other families, the prognosis would be quite different.