What Kind of Bugs Live at the Beach?

Mother watching her children enjoying the beach

As you head to the water this summer, you might be wondering what kind of insects you are seeing along the shore, and you might have heard some tales of "sand flies" or other creepy crawlers. Let our expert exterminators on Long Island walk you through all of the different types of beach bugs you might run into.

What are Beach Bugs? 

Most of the time when we refer to "beach bugs," we are actually talking about a couple of different types of insects that might be found near the water. If you are a resident of Long Island, you are probably familiar with these pests when you venture out to the ocean front. 

What Bugs Live on the Beach?

Long Island is home to beautiful beaches, and those beaches are home to a variety of different bugs. Some of the most common beach bugs found by the ocean of Long Island are:

  • Sand Fleas
  • Sand flies
  • Blood worms 
  • Beach Hoppers
  • Horse Flies

What are Sand Fleas?

Sand fleas are tiny little insects that are found near the water all over the world. These bugs are known to cause a number of problems for people, and they can be quite persistent when it comes to getting their way. Sand fleas measure in at about 1/16th of an inch long, and they have a reddish brown coloration to them. These insects are known to be able to jump up to 7 inches into the air, which might not seem like much, but when you consider their size it is actually quite impressive. While sand fleas might not be able to fly, their ability to jump so high makes them very adept at getting around. If you have ever walked along the beach and felt something jump on your leg, chances are it could be this pest.

Are Sand Fleas Dangerous? 

When it comes to humans, sand fleas are more of a nuisance than anything else. These insects are known to bite humans, and they can be quite persistent when it comes to getting their way. The real worry is sand fleas latching onto your pets. Just like a normal flea infestation, think of sand fleas as causing the same amount of trouble, so make sure this pest does not hitch a ride back to your home. 

What are Sandflies?

"Sandflies" are actually kelp flies and they are attracted to the kelp that washes ashore. They often rest, breed, and feed on rotten kelp. Their favorite dinner is bladder kelp, and they often share their washed-up seaweed homes with red mites and other predators and/or scavengers. While male sand flies are not blood feeders, female sand flies must consume blood in order to develop eggs.

Are Sandflies harmful to humans? 

Sandfly bites can be very painful and are often active during the evenings and at night. During the day they rest in hollow logs, dry tree holes, palm tree crowns, and other cavities close to the ground. If they're able to enter your home, they love to rest there too. The most common sign of a sandfly infestation is the painful bites during the evening or secondary infections and diseases that they can cause. These pesky insects can cause a variety of illnesses, including: 

  • Vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Carrion's disease
  • Sandfly fever
  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis 
  • Visceral leishmaniasis 
  • Pappataci fever

If you suspect a sandfly infestation in or around your beach home, contact your local mosquito exterminators for prompt and efficient relief. 

What are Beach Hoppers?

Beach hoppers are like teeny tiny shrimp (so they are actually not insects at all). They are also known as sand fleas, sand hoppers, or beach fleas. They come out at night to hop around the beach looking for food, but don't worry, they cannot bite humans. Despite their unsightly appearance, beach hoppers are entirely harmless to humans. Unlike other amphipods, beach hoppers cannot latch onto your belongings and travel home with you.

Where do Beach Hoppers live?

They live around the piles of seaweed, they burrow into the sand to escape the heat and dryness of the summer day. Beach hoppers make 2 holes as they burrow, one on the way in and one on the way out. You may have noticed these holes in the sand as you wander the beach, now you can tell everyone what is making those holes!

What are Blood Worms? 

Blood worms are segmented worms that are found in both fresh and saltwater environments. They get their name from their red color, which is a result of the hemoglobin in their bodies. Blood worms can range in size from less than an inch to over a foot long. Blood worms are opportunistic feeders, meaning that they will eat just about anything they can find. They are a favorite food of many fish, amphibians, and reptiles, as they make good bait for fishermen. 

What do Blood Worms do?

There are also blood worms on the sandy beaches that make holes as well, they live under the sand and actually clean the sand! That's right! It's known as "deposit-feeding" and they ingest the sand, then digest the organic materials found between the grains of sand (just like earthworms). If you see a blood worm, don't let it cause too much of a concern as they do not harm humans at the beach. 

What are Horse Flies?

Horseflies enjoy the water as much as we do, so beach towns are often susceptible to their annoying presence. They are most active during warm seasons and thrive on beaches backed by marshland or dune grass. 

Appearance and habits of a Horse Fly

Horseflies can grow up to almost 1.5 inches, making their appearance menacing. Not only do they appear menacing, but their bites are extremely painful. Similar to sandflies, horseflies require a blood meal to create eggs. Unlike mosquitos or sandflies, however, horseflies will sit and wait for a potential host, attacking anything that passes by. When they get a hold of you, they'll continue to bite until they get their fill or are killed.

Can Beach Bugs Get Inside My Home? 

Although these pests have a home at the beach, this does not mean your home is safe. Beach bugs, like sand fleas, can jump on your belongings and create an infestation in your home. Horse flies can migrate to your home if you live near the beach and will host their eggs close by. Whichever beach bug might be infesting your home, it's vital to make sure you take control of the problem as fast as possible. 

Professional Pest Control: Even For Beach Bugs!

No one wants to enjoy a day at the beach just to bring back pests that are hard to get rid of. If you are dealing with an infestation from any type of beach bug, look to A&C Pest Management for over 50 years of expert pest control services. Our family-owned company offers same-day servicing as well as eco-friendly products, so you can feel safe that we are doing the job right the first time around!

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