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. So what exactly can you expect as you head to the beach?
"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.
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 in 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
- Carrions 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.
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 live around the piles of seaweed, they burrow into the sand to escape the heat and dryness of the summer day. They 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! 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 are travel home with you.
There are also blood worms in 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). They are red in color, but they do not harm humans at the beach.
As you're heading for the beach this summer, keep an eye out for these three common beach pests. When you know what to avoid, your vacation time will be as relaxing as possible!
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. 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.