Sand Flea

Family Name

Talitridae

Characteristics

Type:

Jumping – Biting

Size:

The European sand flea is about 0.6 inches long.
The long-horned sand flea or Atlantic sand hopper is 1 inch.
The common sand flea is 0.4 inch in length.

Colour:

The European sand flea is translucent in colour; whitish/almost see-through/to light brown.
The long-horned Sand flea or Atlantic Sand hopper is waxy-white.
The common sand flea is dark-brown or grey.

Behaviour:

Also called sand hopper or beach flea. Even though the sand fleas are quite small, they can cause severe skin problems. They typically bite the feet, ankles and legs, because they are closest to the ground. Sand fleas can only jump around 8 to 16 inches, so there’s much less chance of getting bitten on the upper body, unless you’re lying down in the sand. When you do get bitten, it’s most likely to happen during the evening, night or at dawn. This is when the sand fleas are most active, so be on guard if you’re on the beach at this time.

Habitats

Sand fleas are commonly found in beaches along coastal areas and in marshes, but can also be found in desert areas. The good news is that they usually don’t come home with you after visiting one of these areas. They prefer their seaside habitat. The bad news is that the female can sometimes burrow under your skin and lay her eggs.

Tips for Control

If you want to avoid getting bitten by Sand fleas, just follow these tips and you will have greatly decreased the chance of that happening:

• Don’t visit the beach when it has been raining. Sand fleas seem to be more aggressive when the air is cool and moist. You should stay away from the beach in the morning and in the evening for that same reason. Most people go to the beach when it’s warm and dry outside anyway, so that’s good.
• If you do go to the beach when it’s cool outside, please remember to pack your insect repellent.
• Cover yourself up when sitting or lying down to avoid getting bitten on your back, legs and feet.