Sand flies, also known as phlebotomines, are small flies belonging to the the subfamily Phlebotominae within the the family Psychodidae. They are responsible for the transmission of leishmanisis and other diseases to humans and animals. Sand Flies are typically found in Central and Latin America but could also be found in tropical and semitropical regions of the world. They prefer to bite humans although their bites are typically painful.
Classification and Importance
The family Psychodidae is divided into six subfamilies with only Psychodinae (moth flies) and Phlebotominae (sand flies) being medically important. Moth flies do not bite but some species in the genus Psychoda are involved in myasis. Certain species of moth flies such as drain flies and filter flies are also common household pests. Sand flies on the other hand, are important vector of human diseases such as leishmaniasis and vesicular stomatitis. Phlebotominae contains around 600 species worldwide. The area of distribution of phlebotomine species range between 50°N and 40°S (reference). More than 380 species occurs in the New World with about 14 in the United States and Canada. the Phlebotominae, it is essentially the species of Lutzomyia and Phlebotomus that are responsible for the transmission of pathogens.
Bio-ecology of Sand Flies
Sand Flies and Disease Transmission
Sand Flies Prevention and Control Strategies
Sand flies control and prevent rely heavily on the use of insecticides. Most often destruction of breeding sites and resting positions is the most important way to prevent establishment of large population of sand flies. Surveillance and collection (by using traps) of sand flies constitute an important way to monitor and prevent sand flies population build up. It is recommended to adopt personal protection measures whenever camping outdoors to limit exposure to sand flies bites. Head nets, gloves and insecticide -treated nets can also be used to limit exposure to sand flies.