susandamato's activity

Questions Asked

We will be back in Umbria in June and I was wondering if anyone had any success with keeping the pappataci at bay.

Tue, 04/09/2013 - 22:33

Hello, I am an Italian-Canadian (dual citizenship, registered on the AIRE in Italy, with a carta d'identita' and paying IMU as prima casa).

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 23:46

Comments posted

Tue, 09/03/2013 - 18:45

I am still convinced that my problem was pappataci and if you can read Italian here is an interesting link with a picture: saw some of these pappataci - sand flies in English - in the house but I didn't realize that these guys were the quilty buggers as they are so small.  Also you have no idea that you are being bitten as unlike the mosquito there is no humming/buzzing sound when they are around you or biting you.  Pappataci in Italian means to eat in silence - mangia e taci.  Tiger Balm absolutely helped with the itch and I brought some antihistamine tablets with me, I would take one a night and I was able to sleep without the itch waking me up......I found that Benadryl worked  best!  The vitamin B is anecdotal and it failed to prove its efficacy in double blind studies and I am not sure that it worked very well anyway but I was desperate to try anything.  I read in several forums that a mixture of half Dettol and half baby oil worked well to keep them from biting and I think that this helped some.  I used the Dettol/baby oil when going to bed (mix it in a spary bottle and spary it on your skin) and a 30% Deet product during the day if I was outside.  But first and foremost is prevention....which means that screens and doors (if they are not screened) must be kept closed during the hot humid weather (I found the little buggers to be biting when the temperature was above 34C).  Even with screens you are not completely safe as the litle buggers are so small that they can pass through.  I had a fan blowing on me all night and this I believe helped.  I also considered purchasing ceiling fans for the bedrooms and will probably do so next summer.  If you purchase mosquito netting for the beds make sure that they are for sand flies as the weave is closer together and the pappataci can't get in. I plugged in the electric diffusers about one hour before going to bed.  As I said before, this year was great for me as the weather was not too hot and humid so we only had a few days of pappataci and with all my vigilance I only had five or six husband had a few more but he took no percautions at all i.e. sprays during the day or at night. Here is a link for Dettol:   As I said I used this at night as I just didn't want to go to bed covered in Deet.  If there is anything else I can help you with please let me know, I wouldn't want anyone else to suffer as I did.  Somewhere I have a photo of the bites on my arms and if this would help you identify the problem I would be happy to hunt it down for you but I am pretty sure that pappataci could be your problem.

Tue, 09/03/2013 - 08:46

I know exactly what you are talking about, I actually posted about this very problem several months ago.  We purchased a house 3 years ago near the Marmore waterfalls in Umbria.  We stayed in our home in March and April and purchased new furniture and matresses and had no problems at all.  Then I returned in June (alone) and didn't seem to have any problem until the weather became very hot and humid.  I woke up one morning covered in small red, itchy bumps on my body but mostly my arms.  I was miserable and I couldn't find any relief.  I knew it couldn't be bedbugs (we would have been bitten in March and April - bed bugs don't only bite when it's humid) and I didn't see any mosquitoes.  I love my house and I love Italy, it was my absolute dream to have a house in Italy and I was all alone and miserable. I counted over 160 red lumps on my upper body (that was what I could see).  I thought that they could be flea bites as there was a cat around the house but I couldn't figure out why it was only my upper body that was mostly affected  and again why only in mid June, it didn't make sense.I did go to see a doctor  when I returned from Italy and I even saw a Dermatologist who confirmed that they were some sort of bug bite but my reaction to this bite was not like my usual reaction to a mosquito.  The reaction was not as inflammed and itched but burned slightly as well the little bumps also lasted for much longer than the usual mosquito bite, weeks in fact.    In spite of my traumatic experience and believe me it was traumatic , we returned (this time I was not alone) to our house in December, nothing... not a bite on me, then again in April, nothing... but at this point I had my husband install screens on all the windows and doors( I was paranoid).  Now we were returning in June and I was preparing for war.  The locals told me about the pappataci and I was determined that I was not going to go through the same thing I had  the previous year and I was going to be alone again during the hottest period of our stay, I was determined that this - whatever it was- was not going to keep me from my dream.  I plugged in  outlet insecticide diffusers in every outlet and I did find a few TINY insects dead on the floor the following morning but you would almost need a magniflying glass to see them.  I also kept the windows closed .I did get  a few bites but nowhere near as many as the previous year.  I also made sure  that I wasn't out after dark and I tried to make sure that I always slept with the sheets covering my upper body.  This situation was not ideal, I was dying of heat and afraid to go outdoors.  Now this year my husband was going to be staying at the house in June with me (the two previous years I was alone) and up until this point I was the butt of several jokes about being the only one to ever have experienced these mysterious bites.  Well not so, my husband got them this year as well.  The only reason why I was the only one to experience this was because I was the only one in the house in June when the weather was hot and humid.  Fortunately this year the weather was not too hot for long so we only had about a week of pappataci in June but when the weather is hot and humid you are a sitting duck.  This year I was more prepared and I took the vit B tablets, tried the Dettol and baby oil spray and used Tiger balm when I did get a bite and it really wasn't too bad.  Apparently the pappataci enter the house during the day and bite at night.  They are very, very tiny (also known as no see ems) and you don't even know that they are biting you.  I assume I was bitten on my upper body at night as I sleep with my arms wrapped around my pillow, my arms were covered in bites!!! Something else I did this year was sleep with a fan directly on me, I read that the pappataci are so small and light that if there is any wind at all they cannot land on you to bite, this seems to have worked.  I hope this answers some of your questions.

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Tue, 04/16/2013 - 21:25

Yes, thank you.  I thought that the Thiamin would do the trick and it is easier to find than Marmite, at least  here in  Canada.  I am determined to win this war!

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Tue, 04/16/2013 - 11:55

I haven't found Marmite in Montreal yet so I am not sure that it will be part of the arsenal anyway.  I did already start taking vitamin B1, we'll see what happens.  Good luck with the house construction!!!

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Tue, 04/16/2013 - 11:01

We are walking distance to the Marmore falls.  I am afraid that you will have to prepare for WAR!  This soldier is going in again in June (they seem to start around mid June when the hot humid weather begins)with an arsenal of products so I'll let you know what works.  The first summer for me was absolute misery so I hope I can spare your wife what I went through.

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Fri, 04/12/2013 - 14:50

Thank you Esme for your help, I hope I am spared the misery this year!!!!!

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 18:25

I live in Montreal, Canada so there is no problem getting the Skin So Soft from Avon.  For now our house in Umbria is just a vacation home that we get to three times a year, with the month in the summer being the most difficult for me.  Hopefully this year I will be able to enjoy all the happenings that go on when the sun goes down.  After my first nightmare of a summer, I had screens installed on all the windows and globes plugged into every outlet with a stockpile of the little RAID tablets.  I'll try the Skin So Soft and hopefully the little monsters will leave me alone. Thanks you!

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 08:08

Thank you, I hope that I am building some sort of immunity through my suffering and one day they won't bother me.  Certainly the Italians don't seem to be as bothered by them as I am or perhaps I am just bait.....put me in a crowd and everyone is left alone!

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 08:03

I'm O- so I guess it is not only the blood bank that loves my universal blood type! I had a few different brands of antihistimine that I had brought with me last year, along with some topical steroid cream and it helped but I am trying to avoid getting bit.  I teach in the medical field so I have access to all types of medical advice but I think it's extermination advice that I need, lol.  I will check the medical literature to see if I can find any studies on B1  being used successfully to repel the little buggers but I have to say that I am willing to give it a try on the anecdotal evidence alone! Thanks for your help and I will check the links you posted.

Answer to: Pappataci-Midges
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:56

Oh they are pappataci alright!  I actually went from the airport to the medical clinic upon my return.  I just couldn't believe that I could have been bitten so many times without seeing, hearing or feeling anything ....until the itching and burning started.  After several medical investigations it was confirmed that they were insect bites and I  was having an allergic reaction to them.  It seems like I am fine until the humid weather starts in mid June, after that I am pappataci meat.  I also have to confess to stockpiling an arsenal of products but so far none have been 100% effective.  I tried Autan and unfortunately it didn't work all that well. I am not a country girl (mostly because I hate bugs and I have such a bad reaction to bites) but I love my Italian home so much that I won't let the bugs keep me away.  I am going to find a way to win this war!