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Expat Diaries / Sydney Living

Expat Diaries: (Don’t) Bite Me

There must be something in my blood*. No matter what lengths I go to disguise myself they always find me. My fiancé (when does saying that stop feeling weird?) thinks I am the ultimate protector – he knows he will never be bitten with me in the vicinity.

Bugs just absolutely love me. Mosquitoes, sand flies, unidentified biting ant creatures – no matter where I am or what I do, they find me.

The mosquitoes of Sydney are having an absolute field day since I moved here. Apparently the wet Spring followed by super hot Summer has caused even more to breed in the city than normal. That and the fact I moved here to feed them.

At present I have 14 bites just on my right leg. Who gets eaten 14 times on one leg? Two cheeky buggers even feasted on my little toe. It’s not so little any more as my allergy to bites means the area swelled, so did my ankle, knee, the flabby bit below my armpit…

It’s not like I’m walking around unprotected. On the evenings we dine on our balcony we light citronella candles, burn those coil things you often find in Thailand AND I liberally spray myself in Deet. But somehow the b*astards find the one spot I forget to cover. Like the sand fly who feasted on my ring finger and those surrounding it the night I got engaged. (Think it was the flies attempt to stop me taking over-posed announcements shots – took photos anyway, was applauded for ‘keeping it real’). Then last night a cheeky critter found his way into the crease between my left butt cheek and thigh below. (Must have got me whilst lying down as it’s a pretty tough spot to reach in any other position!)

So this is my plea to you, fellow travellers and Aussie dwellers, to share with me your tips for not getting bit. I’m willing to try anything at this point (apart from staying inside as that’s not exactly what we moved out here for!). Any old wives tales or miracle products I should know about?

*There is lots of cake and diet coke. Could this be the problem?!

About Author

I'm a freelance blogger and writer who loves boutique hotels, brunching and shopping. I've been blogging for 11 years, visited 60+ countries and called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (oh so briefly) New York home at various points during the last decade. We purchased our first home during the pandemic & have been infusing it with a feeling of travel while we wait to see the world again.

26 Comments

  • Stacey
    January 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Ah, one think I don’t miss about home (that and the spiders). My favourite brand of insect repellent is called “Off!”. It has a better scent than most brands and feels good on the skin. Aeroguard is another family favourite but doesn’t smell particularly nice. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:23 am

      Thanks Stacey – I’ve been using the ‘tropical strength’ Off (which isn’t too smelly or sticky) but still managed to get bit! Maybe I need to apply more liberally?

      Reply
  • Amy Lynne Hayes
    January 9, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    We have the same issue in Florida The mosquitos never go away, even in the winter! Garlic is a great natural remedy for keeping bugs away. Especially if you eat it and therefore sweat it out of your pores (we used to feed it to our horses for the same reason). But if you don’t want to walk around stinking like garlic, citronella candles help. Or Avon Skin-So-Soft. It’s a bath oil that for some reason protects against mosquitos. https://www.avon.com/category/bath-body/skin-so-soft/original/ They might have it, or something similar, in Oz. Good luck! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:25 am

      My mum swears by the Avon products but I didn’t find it effective on me. Best get me some garlic!

      Reply
  • Hannah
    January 9, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    i ended up with over 100 in South America (no exaggeration). I found out that deet just doesn’t work for me and instead switched to sprays containing citronella which worked so much better! May be worth a try for you? X

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:26 am

      O you poor thing. I (sadly) know exactly how that feels – think my record was 42 bites on one arm in the Amazon! Will give the citronella spray a go next time 🙂

      Reply
  • Megan
    January 10, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Oh you poor thing. I got attacked by sandflies in Queensland and I was ready to cut my hands off! The Stingoes spray helped relieve some of the itching. Eventually….

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Sadly this sounds very familiar. Thanks for the Stingoes tip – shall look that up for a bit of relief!

      Reply
  • Monica
    January 10, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I’m exactly the same. I’m sure I was put on this earth just to feed bugs and protect everyone within a one mile radious of being bitten. There must be a few of us spread out every couple of miles!

    I find I get bitten on my ankles the most so I wear socks when I’m at home in the garden. A sexy look with your flip flops!

    But my main tip is to not scratch and the bites go away within a few hours or a day. I use loads and loads of Tiger balm to numb the bite and then I don’t scratch it.

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:28 am

      I have heaps of Tiger Balm somewhere, shall go roll myself in it!

      Reply
  • Monica
    January 10, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Oh and one more thing – put a half drunk can of coke in the corner if your balcony. This should attract the bugs and then they get stuck. Could potentially backfire and you’ll attract a swarm but might be worth a try. I used to work in a pub next to a river and this is what we did when there were loads of them.

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Interesting. We have a can of JD and coke in the fridge that a friend left over. Could be worth a shot!

      Reply
  • Kathryn Burrington
    January 10, 2015 at 10:58 am

    When I was studying Zoology I went to a lecture about fleas and they said the best protection is to be with someone whose blood they like more so I’m afraid you’ll have to ditch your fiancé and find a tastier one!
    I get bitten a lot too. I once counted thirty on one arm, in one night, from one mosquito getting into my room. Also had 8 on my face, which one friend kept trying to do dot to dot on. Not a good look.
    The best thing I’ve found for relieving the itching is Mòa. It’s brilliant! I wrote about it here http://travelwithkat.com/2013/06/11/girls-travel-club-and-my-june-giveaway/ Can highly recommend it. You can get it from http://www.girlstravelclub.co.uk/.

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:30 am

      On your face? You poor thing. I think that might be one of the only places I haven’t been bitten. Thanks for the tip on Moa though – it sounds great!

      Reply
  • Janice Stringer
    January 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Jayne,
    try some good old english vick if you can get your hands on it or if not, if you have any tiger balm left over from Thailand that you can massage into your flesh. That works for me and those bugs love me also!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:30 am

      I do have Tiger Balm! I’ll give that a go – thank you 🙂

      Reply
  • Maitha
    January 10, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Oh you poor thing! There seem to be lots of ideas for how to avoid being bitten and I hope they work for you because nothing seems to work for me when I travel! But fear not, I learnt a tip in Mauritius and it really works – using your fingernail make a cross over the bite and DON’T scratch it, they’ll be gone in two days!xx

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 11, 2015 at 7:31 am

      What!? This sounds a little wacky but I’m willing to give anything a go at this point! x

      Reply
  • Kirsten
    January 11, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Oh Jayne, I feel your pain. Mosquitoes absolutely love me and seem to only have eyes (/mouths) for me when there are other people about. Even when I was a baby they covered me head to toe in bites one hot Czech summer (feasting on a defenseless child, they’re monsters!).

    As well as covering myself in sprays, I have a light I plug in that supposedly gives off some mating scent for mozzies (as well as using their attraction for light, of course). It’s a bit hit and miss on whether the culprit is feeling more hungry or horny, but like you, I’m willing to try anything…

    Something more useful though might be to grow a citronella plant or garlic, and using an oil burner for oils like lemon eucalyptus or lavender. Worth a try I guess?

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 12, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      O man it sounds like you have it bad too. It’s a small relief to know I’m not the only one who is targeted but preying on babies is not ok!! I like the oil burner idea, it might smell more attractive than rolling one’s self in garlic. I’m also trying a new app which emits a sound that is supposed to repel them – shall see how that goes!

      Reply
  • Lorena
    January 12, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Hi Jane,
    I’ve found your blog through my search on SMG and I have to say is really great, informative and fun to read.

    Try Listerine …yeap! the mouthwash… it does work!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 12, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Lorena, thanks so much for coming to say hi – glad you like it! And Listerine is one I haven’t heard before? Do you wear it?!

      Reply
  • Kait
    January 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Jayne,

    It’s like I could have written this exact same post! I am ALWAYS getting bit by things. Even in places that you wouldn’t normally! I was in a pub in London last weekend and SOMEHOW managed to get bit by a mosquito. In London! I just don’t get it….

    When I lived in Sydney last January, my flat didn’t have aircon so we unfortunately had fans and left the lounge window open at night. Big mistake for me! I would wake up every morning completely covered in mossie bites. After extensive research, I found 2 things to help after a bit of time.

    Super B Vitamins – Apparently mossies don’t like blood rich in vit B so get yourself a bottle from the nearest pharmacy and start popping those pills every morning.

    Lavender Oil – This is great for your skin and evidently mosquitos don’t like the smell, so maybe try rubbing it on your skin. I found this didn’t keep all of them away, but I did find I was bit significantly less than when I don’t use it. Hopefully your fiance won’t mind the overwhelming smell too much.

    Good luck — And be sure to share if you discover any new remedies that work for you. Us girls with yummy-blood need to stick together!

    Kait xx

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      January 14, 2015 at 1:38 am

      Hahaha that last line made me laugh in a ‘I feel so sorry for us’ kind of way! Thanks so much for your tips though. We have to do exactly the same thing with the open window and fan situation. I will get popping those vitamins though as it can only be good for me. I also realise I have a lavender pillow spray somewhere that I sometimes spray to help us sleep – maybe I’ll douse the whole bed in it and see how that goes! I’ll keep you updated with a progress report 🙂

      Reply
  • A series of unfortunate events | JET SET CHICK
    January 15, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    […] with the rains, came the mosquitos. I recently read a blog post on Girl Tweets World about her battle with mozzy bites and I can completely sympathise. I too, seem to be a magnet for […]

    Reply
  • […] with the rains, came the mosquitos. I recently read a blog post on Girl Tweets World about her battle with mozzy bites and I can completely sympathise. I too, seem to be a magnet for […]

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