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 bugs live in the sand on the beach?
Long Island is home to beautiful beaches, and those beaches are home for a variety of different bugs. Some of the most common bugs found on the beaches of Long Island are:
- Sand flies
- Beach hoppers
- Blood worms
- Horse flies
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 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.
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. 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!
What do Blood Worms do?
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.
Where do Horse Flies live?
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.