Sand Fleas- Facts And Information

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This article about Sand Fleas-Facts and Information will present to you the lesser-known knowledge about sand fleas.

To begin with, there are two distinct types of sand fleas: the ones that live on beaches and bite humans, and the ones that live in common sand and don’t bite humans. Sand fleas are small animals that feed off decaying organic material.

They can be found on beaches all over the world, and they often bite people who are walking or playing on the beach.

Let us learn more about these fascinating animals.

What is a Sand Flea?

Sand fleas are tiny, crab-like crustaceans that live in coastal areas. They are often mistaken for other biting or stinging insects, including the common dog fleas and cat fleas.

sand fleas

However, sand fleas can inflict a particularly nasty bite, which is why it is important to be able to identify them.

They are highly active at night and can cause a great deal of itching and irritation. While they may look like other biting insects, sand flea identification is necessary in order to take appropriate action.

Sand Fleas- Facts and information

Fleas are a type of tiny crustacean that can be found all over the world. There are many different types of fleas, but the most common one is the sand flea. Sand fleas are so named because they are commonly found on beaches and in other sandy areas. Their stable diet is blood, which can cause a lot of irritation and itching.

Sand fleas are mostly found in North America. They are most commonly found on the East Coast, but they have been known to spread as far west as California.

Sand Flea Appearance

Sand fleas are small, barrel-shaped creatures that measure between ½ inch and 1 inch long. They get their name from living in sandy areas near water.

Interestingly, female sand fleas are larger than their male counterparts. They can grow up to 2.2 inches long. Male sand fleas are only about three-quarters of an inch long.

Sand Fleas generally have a reddish-brown body with a black head and can be easily identified by their large jumping legs.

An interesting fact that you should know about sand fleas is that juvenile or young sand fleas are typically dark-brown to black in color. However, some may have a slight tan hue. Additionally, adult sand fleas are lighter in color and look almost beige, white, or translucent.

Sand Flea Anatomy

Sand fleas are a type of flea that can be found on beaches and in the sand. They are distinguished by their long legs and reddish-brown coloring.

Sand fleas have gills that they use to breathe, and the telson located at the rear of their underbelly protects their soft underbelly. They also have a hard exoskeleton that helps protect them from the elements.

Female sand fleas lay orange eggs on the surface of the sand. The eggs hatch into larvae, which can be seen as small black dots moving around on the sand. They can be quite easily distinguished from other types of fleas by their long legs and antennae.

Sand Flea Habitat

Sand fleas are tiny, tan crustaceans that can be found on beaches and in sandy marshes. They live in warm environments and prefer to attach themselves to sand or mud.

Sand fleas are most active around dawn and dusk when they come out to feed. They can cause painful bites that often result in a red welt on the skin. They look much like common flea bites but are more commonly found on the calves, shins, ankles, and feet.

Sand Flea Feeding Habits

Sand fleas primarily consume organic waste, such as seaweed. As the waves recede, the tiny creatures lift their antennae-like feeders to gather the organic waste. Sand fleas have a craving for blood and will bite humans if given a chance.

Is it sand fleas or sand flies?

Sand flies, also known as sand fleas, are tiny little creatures that can cause a lot of problems. They are notorious for spreading diseases, such as leishmaniasis and malaria. They are present all over the world and can be a real nuisance.

Interestingly enough, there is a bit of confusion about the names of these flea species. Some people refer to them as sand fleas, while others call them sandflies. The scientific name for these creatures is Ceratopogonidae.

Regardless of what you call them, if you’re planning a trip to a beach that has these pesky critters, you can treat your clothing, blankets, and skin with a DEET spray that will give you hours of protection from their bites. 

Sand Flea Bites on Humans

room beach sea city bed bay pet

Sand fleas are a type of flea that feeds on organic debris, such as seaweed and plankton. They are commonly found near the water’s edge and can bite humans if they come in contact with them. Sand flea bites often cause an itchy, red rash.

Female sand fleas are the ones that are responsible for biting humans. They are more susceptible to doing so because they need blood in order to reproduce. Male sand fleas, on the other hand, feed on nectar and other organic matter.

The most commonplace for sand flea bites on humans is around the legs and ankles. However, if you are lying down on the beach where they live, they can bite anywhere on your body. Sand flea bites are similar to regular flea bites in appearance – clusters of 2-3 red bumps with a red hallow or ring surrounding the bite.

Are Sand Fleas Dangerous?

White dog with ticks on ears summer nature sand beach background. Animal fell insects. Puppy hair surface. Pet care, advertisind backdrop for treatments against flea on dog's coat.

Although sandfleas are not considered as dangerous as other types of fleas, they can still cause extensive damage to human skin if they get trapped inside the body. For this particular reason, it is important to take precautions against sand fleas when you are visiting a beach or coastal area.

Having said that, there is another type of sandflea that can infest a human- the Chigoe flea. And sand fleas are the cause of chigoe flea infestations, which can be very dangerous for humans. Chigoes can cause a variety of health problems, including skin infections, fever, and even death.

This infestation does not involve burrowing into the skin. Rather, it penetrates through unbroken skin and lays eggs inside the body.

Tunga penetrans or chigoe flea

The chigoe flea, also known as the sand flea, is found in Central and South America, the Atlantic regions, as well as Florida. They are not commonly found in North America but can be transported through items such as luggage or shoes. Chigoe fleas are most commonly found in sandy or moist environments.

Tungiasis is a skin infection caused by the chigoe flea. The chigoe flea can infect both humans and animals. Tungiasis causes severe skin inflammation, lesions, and ulcers. It is a serious health problem in many developing countries.

Cases of tungiasis have been reported in India and sub-Saharan Africa, but they are extremely rare in North America.

How to Treat Sand Flea Bites?

Understandably, these bites can be itchy and uncomfortable. However, scratching will only make the itch worse and increase your risk of infection. There are various ways to treat sand flea bites, including topical treatments, oral medications, and home remedies.

As annoying and itchy as the bites can be, fortunately, most over-the-counter anti-itch creams are effective at relieving the symptoms. If you are experiencing excessive itchiness, you may want to consider taking an oral antihistamine.

Furthermore, if there is no improvement, try taking ibuprofen to address both symptoms, i.e., itching and pain. If the itching or pain becomes severe, seek medical attention.

Lastly, there are people who may experience an adverse reaction to the bite, such as a severe allergic reaction or infection, in which case it is important to seek medical attention right away.

Tips for Avoiding Sand Fleas and Bites

Sand hopper, Talitrus saltator, small crustacean on the sand

Sand fleas are highly active at dawn and dusk, so if you can avoid the beach during those times, you’ll be less likely to encounter them. However, they can be present at any time of the day, so it’s always best to take precautions by wearing insect repellent and clothing that covers your skin.

It is not recommended to wear sandals or socks while visiting beaches because they are popular places for getting bitten by sand fleas.

It is also advised to use a good insect repellent, as well as be careful of what you end up bringing back with you from the beach, such as food.


While sand fleas can carry a disease, the ones found commonly in the united states are not generally considered to be a health threat. They can, however, cause skin irritations and other minor problems. If a sand flea bites you, it is important to clean the wound and apply antiseptic cream.

Most people don’t experience severe or adverse reactions to sand flea bites. In fact, the majority of people won’t even know they’ve been bitten. However, for those who do experience a reaction, it can be quite irritating and uncomfortable.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.