Mount Maunganui's infamous Mount Maulers have returned, already claiming their first victims of the summer.
Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa noticeboards have been abuzz with chatter about the sand crawlers that discreetly leave itchy, red welts on beachgoers.
One of those affected was Mount Maunganui local Sian Nightingale, who woke up yesterday covered with close to 50 bites after an hour on Mount beach on Wednesday.
Nightingale told the Bay of Plenty Times she was "so so itchy" and looked "spotty and gross" following the attack.
However, after living in the area her whole life, she said she was used to the yearly arrival of the little biters.
Nightingale had just had spinal surgery and her normal tactic to get away from them was to sunbathe under the waterline.
But this year due to immobility, she was forced to lie in the sand dunes and got her "worst bites" yet.
The worst part was the fact that she could not feel them biting her and had no idea until two days later that they had got her, she said.
"People often have no idea that they are getting bitten when it's happening".
Nightingale had posted about her pain on a local noticeboard and had been inundated with remedy ideas from locals.
These included calamine lotion, pawpaw ointment and beeswax.
The critters made themselves at home at local beaches every year and Nightingale said it was "so common" to get bitten.
She said she would be doing her best to cover and treat the bites so they did not get any worse.
Just after Christmas last year, Tauranga and Western Bay pharmacies reported a spate of people seeking treatment for Mount Maulers.