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Westin St. John **Don't go to sleep**

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I feel obligated to post an update to my original post. I received an email on my facebook page from a very nice gentleman who is an owner of a Starwood property and brought to my attention that they may be "noseeums" and not bed bugs. I did a little research on noseeums and this is what I found.


"They’re a problem nearly everywhere in the Caribbean, and I can attest to that. While lying on a beach in the Bahamas, I got 147 bites, which ruined a day of diving. On the Honduran island of Guanaja, they chewed me up again, leaving 60 marks on me while I waited for a 7:30 a.m. flight. Regardless of where you are in the Caribbean, chances are you’ll get a few bites.


The no-see-um obviously gets its name because it is nearly invisible, small enough to go through window screens. The ones coming at me on the Utila beach were little black dots the size of a period, flying down at me like a miniature fleet of Luftwaffe. The scientific name for the no-see-um is Ceratopogonidae, but it has accumulated more common names, including sand flea, sand fly, biting midge and punky. They’re common to wet areas like beaches, wetlands and creeks. Divers will experience them at their worst in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Mexico’s southern coasts. Many resorts spray their grounds but can’t get them all – besides the Fantasy Island reports we mentioned above, Belize’s Isla Marisol resort is also a big breeding ground. And of course like any blight, no-see-ums breed like crazy. They lay eggs in standing water, where larvae hatch and feed on dead vegetation. Within just a few days, the larva becomes a pupa, then an adult that leaves the nest in search of food.


Though one-third the size of a mosquito, its bite is inversely more painful. While mosquito bites cause raised lumps on the skin that become very itchy, they can be soothed with calomine lotion, Benadryl, or aloe vera. No-seeum bites result in typically a whole bunch of red welts that irritate the skin, are slow to deflate, and cause three to four days of severe itching. No-see-ums on the beach will bite most often on the ankles and lower legs, just because they’re closer to the ground. But if you’re unlucky enough to pass through a dark swarm of them, no part of your body is off limits and they could fly into your eyes, ears, nose or mouth.


Every person reacts differently to no-see-um bites. Two people may receive an equal number of bites, and one will not be affected while the other will turn into a walking pincushion. For divers who suffer allergic reactions, one treatment of antihistamines may work for one person, while another may need a bigger, stronger dose of something more potent."


In thinking back, I do remember being on the beach only one day that week and there were several "gnats" flying around and bothering us. I did not notice them in my leg area but more in the torso area. I was not laying in the sand, but on a chaise. Based on the pictures I found on the internet, my bites look just like noseeum bites. I am so glad he contacted me but I am still disappointed in the way it was handled by the Westin. My MOH also contacted them and they told her that I had to call them, WTF! I do feel a little better about the fact that they may not be bed bugs.

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