We are being eaten alive.  Location: Palo Alto.  Favorite target areas: lower legs (have taken to wearing long pants)  elbows and back of upper arms - see photos.  Do not see or feel them biting, it is only after they have bitten do the bites start itching.  The bite looks like a mosquito bite - a puncture mark in the center with a welt surrounding it.  My husband was working in the yard yesterday afternoon. and was bitten about 20 times  on each arm (just below his T shirt sleeve).

No see ums?  What repels them?  How do you avoid being bitten?

We do not get bit when we hike or are outdoors in other areas, but our yard/garden area is not safe.  Any and all suggestions are apprecaited.


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Get the Cloud Forest Botanicals " Rapid Heal"..this will immediately take down the swelling and pain, it is an excellent and fast healer  for bites ( works great for scorpion bites too) burns, psoriasis, other fungal problems and allergic skin reactions. It is truly an amazing remedy. Put it on before you go out in the garden too, has a repellent action. Made from all organic plants grown here in Jaramillo. Call Elizabeth 6636-8663

For more info  www.cloudforestbotanicals.com

buena suerte!

Looks like coffee fly bites, noseeums, same thing.  Bug repellent works.

Do you have any coffee plants near your house?  If so, that's the likely culprit as they are very stealthy and give a bite that hurts and lasts longer than mosquitoes.  As a preventative measure, the Earth Mama Soap woman (think her name is Lynn), on Tuesdays, sells a bug repellant made with natural citronella which smells good and is all natural and works well....called "Bug Blaster"  Also, as Dianne suggests, try some of the Rapid Heal salve...great stuff for bites and great for your skin!

Thanks for all the great information. I hate bug spray. I think between the Bug Blaster & Rapid Heal we should be covered. I'll be at the market looking for my bug relief next Tuesday.

The rapid heal does work!! I was bitten up one of my visits and boy did it do the trick!! And I love that it's natural ingredients. I'll try Lynn's stuff next time I'm there.

Word of caution...try not to scratch as much as possible. I found that the no-seeum bites leave a scar if you scratch at them.

I live in Palo Alto, too, and your bites come from what are called coffee flies. They do seem to be in areas where coffee is grown, but I believe they also live in grass and shrubbery. When we sit on ou rcovered terrace, they don't bother us. But if we take one step onto the grass, there they are.

Long sleeves, long pants, and socks go a long way toward deterring them. But they also like the thin skin between fingers and on the ears, which produce an agonizing itch. Personally, I haven't found natural repellants to be of much use against them. If I'm going to be outside a while, I lightly spray my clothing, not body, with Off. That seems to do the trick. For the bites, I apply a dab of vinegar or alcohol. Fortunately, the itching usually doesn't last long in any event--except on the hands and ears.

My first 2 trips to Boquete were HELL. I loved the area & people, but I was covered in bites & scratching like crazy- No sleep- only scratching in spite of Benedryl gel & having used Deet before going out. I did a lot of research on the Internet before my next trip. I bought some of this "miracle stuff that was also a SPF 30 sunscreen too and headed down for another trip with my short sleeved shirt & shorts in tow. Amazingly I did not get a single bite of ANY kind and headed back to the US in a happy, pain-free state. I bought some of this before moving, & was lucky enough to find someone here who sells it. I will be happy to give anyone her contact info if you are interested. My email is bjall@aol.com

B.j. Allen

Probably not chiggers as we've never experienced them here in Palo Alto, an I believe Ms. Hurst lives a few steps up the road. More likely coffee flies, to which everyone seems to react differently. They're just a nuisance for me; they itch for about half hour and then disappear, leaving no trace. Others have more severe reactions.

They are not fruit flies, which look altogether different and don't bite.They are plentiful in the house when you have fruit around. And I don't believe they're chiggers because I know of no one who has experienced chiggers in Palo Alto during the five years I've lived here. Palo Alto is a coffee growing area, and everyone here is aware of the small, black insects that hover about in coffee areas. You can hardly feel the bite, or sting, but the itching begins immediately and, upon inspection, you can see a small red puncture. For some people the itching goes away pretty quickly without leaving a trace, but for others it produces a welt. The insects here are not always the same as they were back in North Florida, where I'm from, or as they may be in Ft. Worth.

Founds this post after I was told that the spots appearing on me today are Coffee Flies.  I don't have much of a reaction, just a blood red dot, with a pink patch around it. No swelling, no itching. But after 9 months of Chitras (no-see-ums) in Bocas (to which I am now immune from reaction) perhaps I have immunity to these little beasts too.

Anyway… I wanted to post that the most effective commercially available repellant I found for the Chitras in Bocas is the Theraneem repellent. Here is a link to it on Amazon.com


Wow, there are a lot of ingredients in that product! I can understand why....neem oil stinks. It wants to make me gag. I bought some and mixed it with a warm water, an inert liquid soap and a sented essential oil, and it it still was so bad I could not stand it, never mind put it on myself.

But, I have to say, it has been 5 months now and, I still get bitten, but the reaction to the bite is not that severe. Not as itchy, not as red , not as swollen, and goes away sooner. So I do think you get sensitized to them.......there IS hope!
Personally I do not think they are "coffee flies " they are small black flies that bite.

Coffee "flies" don't really look like flies but more like black gnats, but a little bigger than most gnats.


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