How to Prevent and Treat Sand Flea Bites

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Learn How to Treat and Prevent Sand Flea Bites

There’s nothing like a day at the beach here in South Carolina. The sun, the ocean breeze, the sound of the waves -- who could ask for more? But even the best beach vacation can be spoiled by red, itchy, painful sand flea bites. Think you might have encountered sand fleas at the beach? Worried that you may have brought them home with you? Keep reading to find out more about how to prevent sand fleas and treat sand flea bites.


What Are Sand Fleas?

Unlike common fleas, sand fleas aren’t actually insects at all. Rather, sand fleas are tiny crab-like crustaceans. These creatures are found in coastal areas, where they inhabit the sand in much the same way that common fleas inhabit the fur of animals.

Sand fleas are often mistaken for other biting or stinging insects, including the common flea species found on dogs and cats. While sand fleas are only encountered at the beach, other biting insects can infest your home and often require the help of a professional pest control company. If you think you may be dealing with another biting insect in your home, take a look at our online pest identification guide for help with identification. If in doubt, contact the professionals at Home Pest Control for assistance.

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Sand Flea Identification and Behavior

Identifying sand fleas can be difficult, as they’re typically microscopic in size. It’s more likely that you’ll be bitten by sand fleas without ever seeing them, rather than noticing sand fleas in time to avoid bites. These crustaceans are small and tan in color (much like the sand they inhabit), with a hard exoskeleton and the ability to jump up to 15 inches.

Sand fleas are generally encountered on beaches, along coastal areas, and in sandy marshes. They can also be found in desert regions. Here in South Carolina, they’re commonly encountered around the coast

Not all sand fleas will bite and feed on humans, but those that do can cause painful, itchy bites. They hop through the sand much like the common flea, eventually landing on human skin and inflicting an uncomfortable bite. Sand fleas tend to be the most active around dawn and dusk, which means you’re the most likely to be bitten if visiting the beach during these times of day.

Sand flea bites look much like common flea bites. They often present as small, red, raised bumps on the skin, generally located below the knee. They’re most commonly found on the calves, shins, ankles, and feet.


How to Avoid Sand Flea Bites

One of the best ways to avoid sand flea bites is to go to the beach at the right time of day. Visiting the beach early in the morning or late in the evening increases the likelihood that you’ll end up with sand flea bites. On the other hand, sand fleas are the least active during the daytime. By avoiding the beach around dawn and dusk, you’re less likely to suffer from sand flea bites. Cool, wet conditions also tend to heighten sand flea activity. As a result, it’s best to avoid the beach right after it’s rained in order to minimize your chances of being bitten. Windy days can also reduce the likelihood of sand flea bites.

If you do find yourself on the beach when it’s cool and wet, or if you’re spending time at the beach around dawn or dusk, do your best to keep moving. Sitting or lying on the sand makes you an easier target for bites. Do your best to keep your feet, ankles, and lower legs covered if at all possible.

Commercial insect sprays and repellents can help ward off certain types of sand fleas, although they’re not effective against all of them.


How to Treat Sand Flea Bites

Sand flea bites can be incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are a number of options when it comes to treatment.

First and foremost, do your best to resist the urge to scratch sand flea bites. Scratching will only irritate your skin further, and excessive scratching can increase the chances of suffering from a skin infection.

Over the counter anti-itch creams containing hydrocortisone can help to reduce inflammation and cut down on itching. Some individuals find that aloe vera gel is cooling and soothing for bites, while others have success reducing itchiness with a colloidal oatmeal bath.

While sand flea bites are typically little more than an uncomfortable nuisance, be sure to seek medical attention if you suspect that you’re having an allergic reaction. Talk to a doctor if you’re concerned that one or more bites may be infected.


Home Pest Control: Your Home Pest Resource

When it comes to sand fleas, there’s good news: they aren’t capable of infesting your home. So while you may end up with sand flea bites after a day at the beach, you don’t have to worry about a sand flea infestation.

If you’re experiencing bites at home, however, you may be dealing with a different home pest. Our online pest identification tool can help you determine what bugs might be present in your home. If in doubt, consult the professionals at Home Pest Control. Our experts have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you identify any pests present in your home, and we’ll design a custom pest control strategy to rid your home of insects.

Want to learn more about how to prevent pests all year long? Download our free pest control calendar for homeowners!

Schedule a pest control service now!

August 12, 2019

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