Pest Control for Sand Fleas

Long-Horned Sand Flea (Americorchestia longicornis)

American Sand fleas are worse than dog or cat fleas; not only do they leave large welts when they bite, but females actually bury their eggs under your skin! Yikes! Hearts Pest Management can treat for sand fleas using a combination of methods including Diatomaceous Earth. If you’re not sure what’s been biting your child after they’ve come in from the outdoors – it could be sand fleas. … For information on dog and cat fleas, please visit our page: Fleas

What ARE sand fleas?

Doing research on the internet can leave you a bit confused. Many web articles refer to sand fleas as crustaceans that live along the coast, near water. These sand fleas have exoskeletons. However, not all sand fleas need an aquatic environment to survive. The American Sand Flea is an amphipod, and is also known as the “Long-Horned Sand Flea,” “Sandhopper,” or “Beach Hopper.” It’s about the size of a grain of rice and moves very fast (see video below).

Video of American long-horned sand fleas found in a schoolyard.

Long-horned sand fleas derive their name from their long antennae. They crawl and hop along the surface of sandy areas.  Feeding scavengers; they are active in the early morning and at night. This species of American sand fleas do have gills but when near water, they only enter the water occasionally.

Where does the American sand flea live?

Wherever there is sand, including your child’s sandbox. The Long-horned sand flea lives both on the coast and in any other sandy habitat. The American sand flea gets around because it’s transported by humans.

What happens when sand fleas bite?

When bit, Long-horned sand fleas inject their saliva into your skin which anesthetizes the area so that you don’t even know were bit! The bites turn into red welts that itch and if scratched, can scar.

Sand flea bites.

Sometimes, not always, the female sand flea lays her eggs underneath the skin; the large welts will have a black dot in the center. If that happens, you should seek medical attention because the black dot indicates eggs have been laid. Once the eggs hatch, they feed off the outer layer of the skin and slowly eat their way inward leaving white spots, evidence of the flesh being damaged.

How to treat sand flea bites

The large welts from sand flea bites may appear right away or after a few days. Don’t scratch – they can leave scars. Antihistamines and oatmeal baths can help with the itching. If however, you do have a black dot in the middle of a welt, as stated earlier, it is a sign a female sand flea has laid her eggs under your skin and you should see a doctor.  Explain what and where it happened and the doctor can remove the flea.

Female American sand flea bite – Black dot in the center is a sign eggs have been laid.

American sand fleas can hop up to 10 inches so most bites appear on the ankles and calves. Wearing shoes and socks when walking in sand, and making sure young children have shoes and socks on, will help prevent you from getting bit. And, the chance of a female sand flea sending her eggs back home with you too!

How do you get rid of sand fleas?

Having a professional do an inspection, to ensure in fact that it is sand fleas and not dog or cat fleas is important in the type of treatment and application. Hearts Pest Management will inspect your home, yard, children’s playground, and any areas with sand, free-of-charge. We will treat using organic products, including Diatomaceous Earth, especially in sandy areas where children play. Call today for a free consultation!


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