Although sand flies can be found throughout the world it is the females of about 20 species of sand fly which transmit parasites that cause leishmaniasis, a disease that affects animals and humans.
The symptoms of being bitten by an infected sand fly are similar to the flu; chills, fever, lethargy. Sand fly bites may leave large, red itchy bumps that may turn into a rash. These bumps are as itchy as mosquito bites, and tend to last longer. If you have travelled to a hot country and suspect you have been bitten by a sand fly seek medical advice immediately.
The sand fly is small and looks more like a mosquito than a house fly though varies from species to species. The adults are seen from April to September and are 10â€“11mm. Adults live on sandy riverbanks with an open habitat free of shading trees.
The body has a pale grey colour, eyes are bronzeâ€“brown, and legs are dark reddishâ€“brown. The larvae can take up to two years to develop and lives in loose sand. In the pupal stage the larvae curls into a circle or “u” shape lasting one or two weeks.