Monday, April 15, 2013

A Letter From The Hopkins Sand Flea Colony

Dear Fresh, Pale Tourist:

Hello from Hopkins, Belize! We welcome you to our little paradise with open "arms." 

Please, before you run from the airport to the Caribbean Sea to marinate, take your time, walk around the village and let us hop on for a little welcoming nibble! You are our favorite dish! Because your pasty white skin is thinnest, it is much easier to snack on your lower legs, ankles and feet than someone who visits us with a darker complexion or has prior tanning and salt water exposure-their skin has a thicker epidermis which makes it more difficult for us to bite. As a group, we have an insatiable appetite.


We are tiny, pale white or even brownish colored, wingless arachnids, able to leap 20-40 centimeters (that's 8-16 inches) up those tall legs of yours. So for those of you who like to lay out on a towel or chaise lounge on the beach, all we can say is---BUFFET!! We are parasitic blood suckers and enjoy munching on humans and animals alike. We can also be found hanging out on washed up seaweed along our beautiful beaches. We love to be out and about at dawn and dusk, the calmer the breeze-the better our aim! Besides jumping, we can be found hitchhiking on blowing dust particles, saves us from expending too much energy getting around. So, wherever there's dust--we can be there too!



We dine on you two different ways:
1) Mosquito-like, we bite you, suck your blood and just move on to the next snack.
or,
2) If a female is breeding, she'll bite, burrow under your skin and just hang out for up to 3 weeks and then lay eggs (Tungiasis). She'll make the area swollen, it'll  mound up and you'll see a black spot in the center.
Either way--we got ya!! Pain, swelling, itching, perhaps severe discomfort, fever, allergic reactions and even secondary infections are our handiwork.


We hate it when you're prepared!
DO NOT bring or plan to use:
Deep Woods Off repellant, Calamine lotion, 1% Hydrocortisone cream, aloe vera lotions or petroleum jelly. We hate to be repelled, have our bites treated or suffocate.

DO NOT:

Shake out your bed cover every night and leave it in another room! We worked hard to get there and hate to start all over again.
Seek out local bug repellants! Baby oil, coconut oil, those all-natural citronella lotions--they all stink and we don't appreciate the aroma.
Wear full shoes, long pant and sleeves! You'll block our access!

Looking forward to biting you soon!

Oh, and welcome to Hopkins, Belize!

With lots of love,


Sarcopsylla penetrans and Pulex penetrans 

AKA: jigger flea, pico, chigoe flea, nigua, sand flea, chigger flea, bicho de pie, sikka, kuti and piqui.


http://www.stanford.edu/group/parasites




For more information:
www.buzzle.com/articles/sand-flea-bite-treatment.html





6 comments:

  1. Can't wait to visit...
    yls

    ReplyDelete
  2. these little guys are the reason that I built in corozal... they are not only annoying as heck, but carry some really nasty diseases like leishmaniasis. I've heard tell that skin-so-soft coating the legs works best. good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous-We have not been bitten! We immediately found "Barbara, The Hemp Lady" (post will be up next week) who makes an all natural concoction using hemp oil and some other ingredients...no bites! We also have spent some time in the sun and enjoy hanging out in the salt water...all these things in combination have been our saving grace...we do see many pale "sand flea bait" tourists walking around Hopkins--here's hoping they find the right recipe for themselves!-babs

      Delete
  3. Hey there, we're just back from 3 weeks in Corozal, sorry to have missed you. We too made a trip down to Hopkins to show our friend that area and were flea bitten. only there 2 days so didn't have much time to research those pesky critter.s thanks for the info on the hemp lady, we'll look for her next time. Nice area, nice beach for sure. we stayed at Jungle Jeanies, nice cabanas and really nice people. You should stop in and see them, expats for 20+ years. Enjoy yourselves! Corozal Living guys

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous--thanks for the info on Jungle Jeanies place--we'll definitely stop by! Yes, Hemp Lady's lotions are magical!! Sorry to have missed you too! Maybe next trip? -babs

      Delete