There's nothing like a nice relaxing time at the beach...
Until the sand fleas strike and you come home with hundreds of bites.
Can you say vacation ruined?
How to do you get rid of these little sand flea demons and prevent them from biting?
That's exactly what this article is all about. This Pest Strategies guide will cover the following:
- What sand fleas are (and why they're a nightmare)
- Sand flea bites, effects, and treatment
- Tips to prevent sand flea bites
- And how to get rid of the bites (if you get bitten)
What are Sand Fleas?
If you are suffering from red itchy welts on your legs after coming home from a rather good time at the beach, chances are that sand fleas may have decided to keep you company for a while.
But what are sand fleas anyway?
Contrary to its name, sand fleas are not actual fleas. In fact, these beach dwelling creatures are a species of crustaceans.
Read More: Click here to learn more about fleas and ticks.
Apart from sandy beaches, sand fleas also live in marshes as well as in coastal and desert areas. But given the opportunity, sand fleas can follow you straight to your house and invade your living space.
Sand Flea Bites on Humans?
Sand fleas are parasitic in nature and hunt for their next blood meal.
These tiny crustaceans are most active at night and at dawn which means that beach buffs who are fond of night swimming or strolling the beach under the clear moonlit sky looking for seashells are more prone to contracting sand flea bites.
Basically, sand fleas bite their victims for two reasons.
1. The most common is their appetite for a fresh blood meal.
Like mosquitoes and other blood sucking insect pests, sand fleas have a special type of saliva that prevent the blood's host from clotting.
As the crustacean feeds on the blood of the host, the latter's skin reacts resulting to an itchy red bump similar to that of a mosquito bite.
2. The second type of bite takes place when a female sand flea considers your skin as its next nesting ground.
In this case, the sand flea burrows and buries itself under your skin to lay its eggs. The aftermath is a swollen itch with a black spot at the center. This second type of sand flea bite is much more irritating and more prone to infection.
In most cases, bites from these crustaceans occur throughout the lower part of the body. This is simply because sand fleas are only capable of jumping up to 40 centimeters from the ground.
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What are the Effects of Sand Flea Bites?
Sand fleas attack their hosts in clusters.
This simply means that falling victim to these parasitic crustaceans results to a number of itchy bites at a time. Sand flea bites are also quite painful. Even worse, these bites can trigger serious allergic reactions.
People who are most likely to suffer an allergy to sand flea bites are those who are extra sensitive to insect bites. Common major allergic reaction includes difficulty in breathing accompanied with chest pain as well as dizziness and nausea.
And if you are unfortunate enough to come across a female sand flea in search for a nesting place, you are most likely to suffer from fever due to infection. Experts reveal that this second type of sand flea bite can lead to a severe skin disease known as tungiasis.
The video below shows a graphic medical footage on tungiasis treatment. Viewer discretion is advised.
How to Treat Sand Flea Bite?
We feel you.
Sand flea bites are very itchy and resisting from the urge of scratching them is next to impossible.
However, it is strongly discouraged to scratch sand flea bites. Scratching the bites will only result to self-inflicted wounds and raised chances of contracting infection.
The best way to deal with the itchiness is to apply a topical solution on the bite areas. Lotion and creams formulated with calamine and hydrocortisone have been long proven effective in relieving itchiness.
If such cream/lotion is not available, an effective alternative for itchy bites is the baking powder paste. On the other hand, having sand flea bites that have dark spots at the center require immediate medical attention.
The following video will teach you some basics in dealing with sand flea bites.
How to Prevent Sand Flea Bites?
As mentioned above, sand flea bites are frustratingly itchy, painful, and can easily lead to infection and serious allergic reactions.
Knowing this, it is imperative to avoid getting bitten by these parasitic beach dwellers.
And here are some effective tips on how to prevent sand flea bites:
Read More: Click here to learn more about DEET.
How Do You Get Rid of Sand Fleas?
In some cases, avoiding the beach or the desert is not enough. Sand fleas can and will follow you to your home.
And since they're tiny crustaceans, getting rid of these nasty parasites from your home can be a very challenging task.
Nonetheless, you need to get rid of these unwanted guests in one way or another. Here are some tips to get the job done:
- Identify: Identify sand flea infested areas of your home. This could be your yard, your living room carpet, or your bedroom.
- Seal Entry Points: Seal all holes, crevices, and possible entry points to make sure their reinforcements don't arrive.
- Treat: Sprinkle ample amounts of salt on recently identified breeding grounds and let it settle for at least 1 full day to dehydrate the parasitic crustaceans.
- Clean Up: Using different attachments, vacuum the floor, furniture, carpets, and crevices of your home.
- Consider Pets: If you have pets at home at the time of the infestation, it is best to take them to your local vet for appropriate treatment.
- Prevent: A final measure may include scatter diatomaceous earth across your garden and in your front yard.
Final Thoughts On Sand Fleas
To put it bluntly, sand fleas are terrible.
We've heard horror stories form some of our readers coming back from vacation with hundreds of little sand flea bites.
They really are a nightmare that can cost you lots of itching.
Our recommendation, a DEET based spray to keep the bugs at bay during your beach strolls.
Other Pest Guides
Curious about other pest related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.