Mt Yong Yap Expedition: Nasty Souveniers

On: Saturday, August 9, 2008

We were expecting physically challenging experiences during the expedition but we got a lil bit more than what we bargained for. These blood-sucking insects are the main cause of our sleepless nights and irritating itches. Being 1/3 the size of a mosquito, it could easily slip through our tent's mosquito nets and reside inside our tent. These tiny menaces are especially attracted to light from our headlights. Not only are their bites painful, they can also be very itchy and uncomfortable.

On our first morning, I already have countless bites on my neck, arms, hands, ears, legs and even face. Any exposed skin is not left to chance. Even the stench of the mosquito repellant could not deter these fellas from a blood fiesta. Overall I had over 300 bites all over my body.

A week after the trip, the bite marks are still there and more pronounced. It has been itching badly and I had to seek medical attention as I had exhausted my stock of Stingose and ointments. Luckily I stumbled upon a dermatologist at LWE hospital who prescribe some anti-histamines and anti-inflammatory medication to keep the itchiness at bay.

Now, 2 weeks after the trip, the swell and itchiness has started to subside and the only marks lefts are the scars. These tiny creatures really pack a good punch and gave us some scar marks to remind us of our expedition.

I was told later that our encounter with these sand flies are expected as we had camped too close to the river. So if the only way to prevent them from biting is to cover your whole body up. DON'T EXPOSE YOUR SKIN!

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8 comments on "Mt Yong Yap Expedition: Nasty Souveniers"

kazuolim said...

For any future camping trips. Besides, bring along coverall suit must also not forget to bring lemongrass.

Anonymous said...

Hi, may I know any method to avoid sand fly from ur experience?

Shaun Yap said...

Hi, this is my first and only experience with sandflies. So don't put blame on me if it doesn't work...kekeke just joking. I've been talking to some of more experienced hikers and these are some of their comments.
1. Sandflies are tinier than mosquitos so they would be able to get thro mosquito nets of your tents.
2. Don't camp to near a stream or river. Try to find an open space away from trees. Don't always have this luxury.
3. They are attracted to light. So turn off ur headlights so as not to attract them into the safety of ur tent.
4. Mosquito repellent...depends. Mine doesn't work on the blood-hungry sandflies.
5. If all else fails, cover urself from head to toe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips.. Hope it might help on my coming trip :P

may I know when is the active time of this scary sand fly? Besides, is it possible to camp at the peak instead of camp side that near to river to prevent it?

Shaun Yap said...

As far as I know, these sandflies are active mostly in the evening but then again I've seen documentaries showing people getting biten throughout the day as well. Also it's hard to tell as we're only around the campsite during the evening time.

I've heard of people camping at the summit and I think it is possible as there is quite a huge open space. There is a water point on the way to the summit but I think it is quite far away. So it is better for u guys to stock up plenty of water beforehand. Best is to check with your local guide.

I think it is not a good idea to camp at the summit on the first day as it'll be almost midnight by the time you reach there. U'll still have to setup your tent, cook and wash up.

Hope you enjoy your trip. If you don't mind, pls share some of your experiences and photos with me after your trip. TQ

kazuolim said...

Hi, Mr/Ms/Mrs Anonymous

The time when the sandflies active is when the sky starts to turn dark until the next morning. There are still some from time to time throughout the day. Not only sandflies but also some wasps will be around.

When it rains, the sandflies start to reduce but we don't hope for that because it will be very inconvenient while you are setting up your tents or while you are cooking for dinner.

Yes. Certainly it's possible for you to camp on the summit but you must take note that from base camp to summit is still long way to go, probably with another 3 to 4 hours steep climbing. Just imagine with your load on your back. I would recommend at least you stay overnight at base camp and only attempt the summit the next day.

At base camp besides having those disguting sandflies and wasps, you must also take note of the fire ants. That's very painful when it bites you.

Shaun Yap said...

Hi Kazuo, I agree with you. The fire ants' bite is even more painful than the wasp sting. I can't describe the pain in words, it's just excruciating.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate ur useful info provided..

Arigatou gozaimasu..

.. ^o^