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Old 22-09-2010, 03:46   #1
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Problems with Midges, Mosquitoes and Sandflies ?

I dream of anchoring in quiet tropical estuaries to enjoy exploring the sandbanks at low tide and do some fishing, but I am wondering how much of a problem the biting insects are on a yacht.

The many hours I have spent on the water in estuaries in my kayak have mostly been blissfully free of the blood suckers, even though once I step on shore, the cloud descends. If on the water I get bitten I simply paddle somewhere else where the bities ain't.

But what about in a yacht? Are the bities less of a problem on the water than on the shore?
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Old 22-09-2010, 05:12   #2
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Depends how far away from shore you are, and which shore it is!
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Old 22-09-2010, 05:18   #3
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If we assume that the behavior of biting insects in Australia is similar to those that are found on the western side of the Atlantic, there are choices that allow for more comfort. Most important, choose to anchor at least 100 yards away from the shore foliage. You may be near a sand beach, but avoid mangrove or marsh grasses. Also, the gnats and midges are very temperature sensitive, It's best to avoid exploring during the earlier morning or evening times when temperatures are moderate.
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Old 22-09-2010, 05:22   #4
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... and which way the wind is blowing your scent. A hundred yards does seem to be a limit as to how far they will fly.
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Old 22-09-2010, 06:26   #5
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I came across some research that showed some species of mosquito are capable of flying around 250 meters over water and even further when the air is very still. (I've been trying to find the reference again with no success but I'll keep trying.) Both the anopheles and aedes species are capable of fights up to 15 miles long but wind sheer over open water seems to limit their range. Another factor that limits bites is the direction of the wind, off shore winds prevent your scent being an attractant. On shore winds tend to carry your co2 and pheromones to the insects but limit their ability to reach you. I did quite a bit of research on this and 300 meters from shore seems to be a limit where the likelihood of a mosquito bite is vanishingly small. Of course, having any standing water on deck may mean that you are bringing them with you

P.
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Old 22-09-2010, 20:43   #6
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With the on-shore camping I have done, a surprisingly small breeze from off the sea will keep the sandfly numbers down. But when the breeze drops or swings to blowing sea-ward or from over the mangroves, then look out!
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Old 29-09-2010, 16:42   #7
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Why not use nets? Pests are everywhere. We've got stretchy ones we made for our hatches, and ones that fit the companionways. In Adelaide, where we are currently up a mangrove inlet, we went to Vinnes and bought an old mosquito net that we drape over our entire cockpit. Perfect, keeps the buggers out from both cabins. Two's a Crew
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Old 29-09-2010, 18:12   #8
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All good responses; I can only add that after a year of cruising from Brisbane to Cairns and a few years living aboard in Qld I can only recall one realy bad experience with insects.

I had to anchor overnight in the Narrows (waiting for tide) - I guess both mangrove covered shores were less than 20 or 30 meters away - when the wind dropped away in the late evening, hordes of sandflies attacked. There was no escape and I ended up with mossie coils burning in the main companionway and also the front hatch. Every other vent or hatch was closed off.

By morning I was pretty groggy but bite free; the headache finally wore off later that day.

There were other times when we needed insect repellant or maybe a mossie coil in the cockpit (occasionally) but nothing out of the ordinary.
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Old 29-09-2010, 18:23   #9
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Its been our experience, the colder the clime the bigger the pests. NZ has mosquitoes that fly you away to feast! Scotland, thick black clouds of midges. The Barrier Reef is easy except Whitehaven beach. The one exception, cold though it is, Tasmania has no pests.
But since we go to all those place, we made up a timber trim round the underside of our hatches with a groove that a net snaps onto. Easy then. I hate coils, if they kill pests what are they doing to us?
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Old 29-09-2010, 18:27   #10
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G'Day all,

For those folks who have not experienced the Aussie sandfly, he is a really tiny critter. They can fly through the average mozzie screen in attack formation without even noticing its presence! One can track down stuff that claims to keep them out, utilizing an extremely fine mesh, and in fact it does retard them a bit. Sadly, it also screens out oxygen molecules, etc, resulting in impaired ventillation. One might as well close the hatch/port or whatever. Sometimes spraying the mozzie screen with a strong surface bug spray seems to help, but it's hard to get good data on this.

Of course, Aussies will tell you that theirs are the fiercest in the world, but in our experience the ones in the Marquesas are WAY more toxic... but none of them are pleasant sleeping companions.

So, the advice to anchor well off the beach is good, and pray for some breeze!

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Michaelmas Cay, Qld, Oz (where there don't seem to be many bugs, and the 25 knot SE'ly is blowing any such right on by!)
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Old 29-09-2010, 18:40   #11
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Originally Posted by banyandah View Post
Its been our experience, the colder the clime the bigger the pests. NZ has mosquitoes that fly you away to feast! Scotland, thick black clouds of midges. The Barrier Reef is easy except Whitehaven beach. The one exception, cold though it is, Tasmania has no pests.
But since we go to all those place, we made up a timber trim round the underside of our hatches with a groove that a net snaps onto. Easy then. I hate coils, if they kill pests what are they doing to us?
Yeah the coils are bad news but they do work when all else fails - and my use of them possibly explains my brain state these days .

While I can agree with you re Barrier Reef being relativity free (and on your observations of NZ & Scotland); I wouldn't say the same about the tropical Queensland coast, try spending a wet season among the mangroves of western Cape York.
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Old 29-09-2010, 18:48   #12
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I agree, way back we lived in Cairns when there were only piles next to the mangroves, and the summer wet was a trial of many bites, plus sweat wet bed, equals dah what an I doing here...
Might see you in Perth later this summer
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Old 29-09-2010, 19:14   #13
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. . . . I had to anchor overnight in the Narrows (waiting for tide) - I guess both mangrove covered shores were less than 20 or 30 meters away - when the wind dropped away in the late evening, hordes of sandflies attacked. There was no escape and I ended up with mossie coils burning in the main companionway and also the front hatch. Every other vent or hatch was closed off.
The Narrows is in my area, not that I have boated there yet as no boat, but I have been on the shoreline and experienced for myself its fiercesome reputation as being sandfly heaven. Mangroves and mud everywhere. It is the only place where sandfly repellant can save you from crocodiles. I heard of one bloke standing by the water fishing, spraying on some repellant when a 4 metre croc burst from the water and knocked him over. He thought he was a gonna with only a second or two to live. However, when the immediate crunch did not happen, he opened up his eyes (he had them tightly scrunched closed and was holding his breath) to see that the croc was spraying it's back with the repellant. So, while it was otherwise occupied, he slipped quietly away. I think it's a true story as I heard it at the pub after a few rounds of beer . . . .
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Old 29-09-2010, 19:14   #14
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G'day, mate. We do not have to use screens or nets here along the NE coast of the North Island in New Zealand. We occasionally, get one or two mozzies aboard when we get an absolutely still evening. Definitely a different story when we are shore side, but nothing like the mozzies when we sailed on the Great Lakes. Cheers.
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Old 29-09-2010, 21:24   #15
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The Narrows is in my area, not that I have boated there yet as no boat, but I have been on the shoreline and experienced for myself its fiercesome reputation as being sandfly heaven. Mangroves and mud everywhere. It is the only place where sandfly repellant can save you from crocodiles. I heard of one bloke standing by the water fishing, spraying on some repellant when a 4 metre croc burst from the water and knocked him over. He thought he was a gonna with only a second or two to live. However, when the immediate crunch did not happen, he opened up his eyes (he had them tightly scrunched closed and was holding his breath) to see that the croc was spraying it's back with the repellant. So, while it was otherwise occupied, he slipped quietly away. I think it's a true story as I heard it at the pub after a few rounds of beer . . . .
Many may scoff BUT it is TRUE!, I knew that guy, meet him at the Bajool pub, or was it at Marmor - I forget which. I do remember buying him a beer.

I have even had a croc climb into the cockpit and make off with the mossie coils and matches. It was only a small one (less than 6') so I never bothered to mention it before.

I have been told that the mossie coil smoke can affect the brain in strange ways.......
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