30 MAY, 2019


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You’re sitting at your desk at home looking out into the city. The room is cold. The weather is dark and gloomy, and all you can think about is sunshine, pure white sand, and the sound of waves hitting the shore. You’re tired of the city and decide to get out and go on a vacation. You pick Boracay since you know it’s the best beach in the country. You pack your beach essentials, bought the earliest flight to travel to Boracay, and you’ve finally gotten to where you wanted to be- the beach.

You walk towards the beach from your hotel, and you’ve got everything set up for the perfect day at Boracay. The weather is perfect, and you think to yourself that nothing can go wrong. But then you start feeling uncomfortable and notice small red bite marks on your legs. You have just got bitten by one of the common bugs that live on beaches.

Here are common beach bugs you need to look out for and things you need to know before traveling to Boracay, so you won’t experience bug troubles on your next beach adventure.


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Horse-flies enjoy hot and humid environments like beaches, so it’s not uncommon to find them in beaches all over the world. It’s very easy to tell if a Horse-fly has bitten you. There will be a red, raised part of the skin where you would have been bitten. The bite is also excruciating so you’ll know instantly that you’ve been bitten. You should also watch out for sudden redness spreading from the bite and pus which are signs of an infection. Never scratch the wound from a horse-fly bite. Clean the wound with soap and water. Apply a cold compress on the wound to ease the pain.

There’s no easy way to prevent a horse-fly from biting you. Common insect repellents are not effective on horse-flies. The best way to prevent yourself from being bitten is by avoiding going to the beach on the hottest hours of the day and avoiding grassy areas near beaches.


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This beach bug has many names; No-see-ums, sandflies, and even biting midges. But one thing's the same; they have one of the most irritating bites that you can get at the beach. No-see-ums bites start as small red dots that can grow larger within a few days. What sets no-see-ums apart is that they tend to congregate in swarms that can bite multiple times. Bites are commonly found on the ankles and legs so make sure you protect these areas of your body right away.

To prevent no-see-um bites, use the same insect repellant or lotion with DEET for mosquitos. Chemical free insect repellants will work just as well. Head to the beach in the morning or early afternoon as they are less active during the hottest times of the day. No-see-ums prefer cold and rainy weather so lessen your time at the beach during these times of the day. Cover your feet, ankles, and calves as much as you can and avoid sitting directly on the sand.

Bed Bugs

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Bed bugs are common pests all over the world. A study by Purdue University has stated that these bugs are notoriously hard to control. You won’t be able to eliminate the chances of you encountering them just because you went to the beach. Bed bugs are found anywhere that people tend to sleep. They hide in small dark crevices like the ones between your mattress or suitcases. Bites from bed bugs become noticeably red and swollen and can be very itchy. To treat bed bug bites, use an anti-itch cream like Benadryl to ease the itchiness and don’t scratch the bite marks.

If you want to know how to prevent bed bugs while traveling you can use these tips:

  • Always book accommodations that have excellent cleanliness reviews. Hotels like Alta Vista De Boracay make the cleanliness of every room and facility top priority. Hotel staff also periodically check the rooms for bed bugs and other pests so you can be sure that your room is bed bug-free.
  • If you’re staying in accommodations that have less than favorable reviews, you need to know how to identify bed bugs in hotels. Inspecting your hotel room for bed bugs should become a habit. Bring an LED flashlight and check between the mattresses and between furniture. If there are rust colored stains or bed bug shells, you should ask to be transferred to another room or look for cleaner accommodations.
  • Cover your travel suitcase with a trash bag or a protective cover while traveling. This can prevent bed bugs from hiding inside your suitcase. Doing this can also reduce the chances of you bringing the bed bugs back with you once you’re done with your vacation.

Sand fleas 

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Sand fleas, as their name implies, can primarily be found on the sands of beaches. Just like the no-see-ums they’re more active during the cooler times of the day so it’s best to only go to the beach during the warmer hours. The bites of sand fleas are small red clusters around the ankles and feet. You should also check if a sand flea has burrowed into your skin. This can cause weeks of discomfort and should be treated immediately if you notice one.

Treating sand flea bites is fairly simple. Drink an antihistamine tablet like Claritin to reduce the itchy feeling and use Aloe Vera to soothe the bite marks. Most bites will heal within twelve hours, but if an infection occurs, it can last up to 2 weeks. Prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to sand fleas so cover up your legs as much as you can and don’t go to the beach during the colder times of the day

Sand wasps

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Sand wasps avoid human confrontation as much as possible, but this doesn’t mean that you should be complacent when it comes to this beach bug. Just like wasps found in the countryside, sand wasps sting rather than bite. Unlike other beach bugs where you won't be able to tell right away if you’ve been bitten by one, sand wasps stings can be excruciating and will swell and itch almost immediately.

Treating the sting should be your top priority. Clean the area with soap and water and cover with a bandage to prevent an infection. You can also take an over the counter antihistamine to reduce the itchiness of the sting. There’s no easy way to repel sand wasps, so it’s best to be aware of where they are and don’t disturb their nests.

Something as small these beach bugs can make or break your Boracay beach adventure so you should make it a point not to be bitten in the first place. These tips will hopefully make all your beach adventures from start to finish free from the hassle of beach bugs.