As temperatures reach sweltering levels in the Bay of Plenty, more and more people are heading to the beaches to cool down.
But there is one little critter hiding in the sand waiting to pounce. The dreaded Mount mauler is back and is making some people think twice about going to the beach.
“I went the other day after work to cool down before going home. I felt like I was being bitten by something, but was too hot to take too much notice,” says one person who doesn’t want to be named.
“A few days later, my legs and arms started coming up in the huge red welts. They were so itchy and annoying. It drove me nuts.”
The woman says it took her weeks to get rid of the bites.
“I was using all kinds of creams and taking antihistamines.”
After three weeks, the welts started to disappear.
The woman wants people to be mindful when heading to the beach. She says the coastline along the Mount and Papamoa is beautiful, but people need to be aware of this little, annoying insect.
For those new to the Mount and Papamoa, the ‘Mount mauler’ is the local name for a kind of beach insect that lives principally above the high-tide mark.
In the past, sunbathers have complained of coming home and finding themselves covered in bites, although most people only get them on their feet from walking across the dry sand.
To avoid being bitten by the Mount mauler, people are advised to stay below the high-tide mark, and spray themselves and their towels with insect repellent.
There is some debate over what the insect looks like, and whether it is the adult or larvae form that causes the irritating bites.
If you have conclusive evidence of what the culprit looks like, email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org