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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. So what exactly can you expect as you head to the beach?

Sand Flies

"Sand flies" are actually kelp flies and they are attracted to the kelp that washes ashore. They like rotting kelp, and they will not only feed on it, but lay their eggs on it, and rest on it too. Their favorite dinner is bladder kelp, and they often share their washed up seaweed homes with red mites and other predators and/or scavengers.

Beach Hoppers

Beach hoppers are like teeny tiny shrimp (so they are actually not insects at all). 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.

Blood Worms

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 earth worms). 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!


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