How to Keep Biting Flies Away at the Beach

Nothing puts a damper on your relaxing day at the beach quicker than sand flies nipping at your skin. These biting insects are commonly found in sandy areas and while they are not harmful, they can cause an allergic skin reaction that results in red, itchy bumps and in severe cases, a rash. The key to keeping insects at bay while on the beach is with insect repellent, which deters the sand flies due to the chemical DEET in the repellent's formula. As with any topical cream, consult your doctor prior to applying the cream to your skin as DEET is potentially harmful to pregnant woman and those with sensitive skin.

Rub a thin layer of the insect repellent onto exposed areas of your body. Avoid applying the insect repellent onto broken skin, around your eyes, nose or lips. Once applied, the repellent is effective for four to eight hours, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Spray the aerosol form of the insect repellent on your skin. Spread the spray evenly over your skin in a slow, sweep motion. Allow the spray to dry completely before going into the water. Do not spray the insect repellant directly on your face to apply it. Spray the repellent into the palm of your hands and carefully wipe the spray over your skin while avoiding your eyes, nose and mouth.

Wipe the diethyltoluamide-wet cloth over your skin and wait for it to dry. These clothes are a no-mess alternative to aerosol sprays and repellent creams.

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Reapply the insect repellent after being in the water. Water dilutes the repellent on your skin and can lead to sand flies biting you.

Cover your skin with neem oil. Neem oil is a safe, natural alternative to chemical insect-repellent sprays and creams 2. It consists of the oil from neem, an evergreen tree.


Wash the insect repellent from your skin with hot, soapy water to prevent prolonged exposure to the repellent. Wash your clothing immediately after leaving the beach to avoid skin irritation.


Ingestion of diethyltoluamide can result in sickness including vomiting, nausea or headache.