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Aug 30 2012

Delayed-onset insect bites

One of the things that surprised me most about being on safari in east Africa was the distinct lack of biting insects encountered.

Perhaps it had something to do with the time of year we were visiting (the middle of the dry season), but other than an occasional tsetse fly in the jeep, we rarely saw flying bugs, let alone were bitten by them. In fact, we never even got our recently acquired mosquito nets out of out backpacks, leaving me to wonder if everything the western world has been led to believe about insects in Africa isn’t just a marketing ploy by the companies that sell mosquito nets.

Granted, many of the places we visited in the Serengeti had Tsetse Fly traps set up. The blue and black flag-looking pieces of fabric somehow convince Tsetse Flies to mistake them for cattle, and they’re treated with an insecticide so that when the flies bite them, they poison themselves. Simple yet effective.

Tsetse Fly Trap

So the lack of insects was a pleasant surprise, but it doesn’t explain why both Dr. Darling and myself began sporting some very itchy  insect bites over the past couple days without any awareness of having been bitten by something recently, as in since we’ve been home. Really weird. Maybe it was the ghosts of the tsetse flies that didn’t get a shot at us in Africa?

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Feed my ego!

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