Sand Fly

Family Name

Family Psychodidae; Subfamily Phlebotominae



Flying – Biting


Adults are small flies, only about 0.12 inches long.


Golden, brownish or grey coloured.


Sand fly bites may leave large, red itchy bumps that may turn into a rash. These bumps are several times as itchy as mosquito bites and tend to last longer as well. In the various sorts of sand fly, only the female is responsible for biting and sucking the blood of mammals, reptiles and birds. The protein in the blood is necessary for the production of eggs, making the sand fly an an-autogenous reproducer.


Sand fly is a colloquial name for any species or genus of flying, biting, blood-sucking dipteran (fly) encountered in sandy areas. Daytime resting sites include cavities close to the ground such as dry tree holes, hollow logs, palm tree crowns and the canopy of tropical and sub-tropical rain forest jungles. Another commonly found place for daytime resting is inside the home.

Tips for Control

Over-the-counter repellents with high concentrations of DEET or picaridin are proven to work, but may not be suitable for some people, e.g. people with sensitive skin and pregnant women. A particular extract of Lemon Eucalyptus oil (not the essential oil) has now been shown to be as effective as DEET in various studies. Most information on repellents focuses on mosquitoes, but mosquito repellents are effective for sand flies and midges as well.