Every perfect place to live has some serpent in paradise, some fly in the ointment, something that bugs you. Death Valley had buffalo gnats. Grand Portage had mosquitoes and biting black flies. St. Simons Island has sand gnats.
Sand gnats are known by lots of different names: sand flies, no-see-ums, granny nippers, chitras, or punkies. They are different from sand fleas, which hop on you and only bite your feet and legs. Sand gnats fly, so they can reach any part of your body. Only the female bugs bite: they need the blood of mammals to reproduce.
Sand gnats may be small but their bite hurts. We have days at Fort Frederica when there are so many of them swarming around that people can’t pay attention on the tours. I had one man come in to the Visitors Center and buy our bug repellent (Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent). He was a big guy – looked like a football player – and said he would pay anything to get rid of the sand gnats! I use Deep Woods Off and think it works pretty well.
The good thing about the sand gnats is that their bites don’t itch very much. There are some people who are allergic to them and they can really swell up and have a bad reaction. But once they bite me, the pain is over. When Dad was here, we were complaining about the sand gnats one day and he said they weren’t bothering him at all. The next day he had dozens of tiny red marks all over his arms. They were bothering him more than he noticed!
Sand gnats are a small price to pay for 75 degree temperatures and sunshine every day. I am thinking, however, about buying stock in SC Johnson, the makers of Deep Woods Off. As much as we use, the stock price can only go up!