What are sand fleas?
According to many people, sand flea is a term that can be used to describe many species of animals. They describe sand fleas as very tiny animals that bite and leave welts similar to those of a flea.
The truth is that there are many animals in sandy and coastal areas that can bite and leave you with welts. For example, sand flies, which are found in both sandy and desert places can bite you and leave your skin with itchy welts.
The truth about sand fleas is that, true sand fleas are not insects. They are parasitic crustaceans which are found in sandy areas such as marshes and beaches whose sizes vary.
Some may be small, like the size of a grain of ground pepper, while others may grow to be bigger like the size of rice grain or something larger than that. Some may be seen with a naked eye while others may only be seen with help of magnifying lenses, depending on the size of the sand flea
Sand Flea Repellant
I’m going to jump right in and tell you how you can keep sand fleas from getting on your skin and biting you. There are various different insect repellents out there that claim to prevent sand fleas from biting you. Some of these products don’t even work. This is incredibly frustrating when you’re itching like crazy because a company claimed their product would keep fleas off of you.
The number one most recommended product to keep sand fleas off of you is cactus juice. I’ve used cactus juice before and have read consumer reviews saying this is the best method to prevent sand fleas. Not only does cactus juice prevent sand flea bites but it also prevents windburn, sunburn, and other insects.
Another small trick I know works is wearing long pants. I personally don’t suggest doing this unless cactus juice doesn’t work and you’re itching like crazy. This is because if you’re on a hot beach wearing long pants you’ll be miserable and your vacation won’t be as fun.
Where can you find sand fleas?
As the name suggests, sand fleas are mainly found in the sand and marshy places. However, they cannot stay confined in only the sandy places. They can move away from the beaches and swamps and invade homes. They are harmful creatures, with the most harmful sand fleas found in the North Pacific. Once they invade your home, they are most probably going to attack you, and your pests too. For example, they could attack your cats and dogs and this may increase the chances of you getting attacked.
Where and when do sand fleas bite?
Despite the fact that sand fleas are very small, their bites can be very painful and hence lead to severe skin problems. Since they are found on the sand, they bite you on the areas closest to the ground such as the feet, ankles and legs.
They are only capable of jumping up to the height of 20-40cm from the ground, so unless you are lying on the sand, they cannot reach to bite your upper body.
Another case in which they can reach your upper body such as the arms is when you hold a pet that has already been attacked by them.
They are most active during the night, in the evening and at dawn. This means that you are most likely going to be bitten by one at these times.
Types of sand flea bites.
Sand fleas can bite and leave you with a lot of pain. Sand fleas bites on humans are of two kinds. One is similar to a mosquito bite, which involves the flea sucking your blood and leaving for another host.
The saliva they inject you with to prevent blood clotting as they suck your blood is what causes irritation. This may end up with allergic reactions.
The other kind of sand flea bite is said to be worse. Breeding female sand fleas hide themselves under your skin and stay beneath there until the eggs hatch. The affected areas swell and black spots appear in the middle of the swollen area. If you notice this on your skin, this could be a sign of breeding sand fleas underneath your skin.
Sand flea infection and allergic reactions.
Whichever the type of bite it is, you may experience symptoms such as pain, itching, unpleasantness and severe allergic reactions if you have an allergy of sand fleas.
Some people may be more sensitive to the bites that they experience allergic reactions which are accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, swelling of tongue or lips and feeling nauseated.
If yours is a case of breeding female sand fleas burrowing underneath your skin, it may get worse; fever and infections accompanied by symptoms such as swollen glands pain and redness on the affected area may catch you.
You could possibly have some serious health conditions such as tungiasis, an inflammatory skin disease which should be treated before it results to secondary infections.
Treating sand flea bites
If you are so unfortunate that you have been bitten by sand fleas, this is how you can go about it to treat the bites:
· Try your level best not to scratch the bites. This helps in ensuring that you do not get exposed to further infections as scratching them heightens the chances of developing infections on the wound.
· Check the bite to confirm whether it is a case of breeding sand fleas burrowing under your skin or not. Breeding sand fleas can stay for weeks under your skin; they can stay long enough to hatch their eggs underneath your skin. All this time, they will be sucking your blood!
· You can apply anti-itch creamsor lotions on the affected areas to get the itching under control. Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream are good examples of anti-itch products which you can use to ease itching. It is advisable that you scrub the lotion or cream gently on the affected area. Scrubbing it thoroughly may cause a wound which may increase chances of infections.
· If you use these lotions and creams and you do not see positive changes or the symptoms worsen, you should visit a doctor. If it reaches to this point, your doctor may recommend an antihistamine cream.
· Painkillers are encouraged for easing the pain and swelling that comes with a sand flea bite.
· You could also get some relief from the pain and itching by applying a mixture of water and baking powder on the bites.
· An oatmeal bath could also help you to ease the itching. Make sure that the water is not too hot and soak yourself in there. This goes a long way in reducing the itchy feeling.
· You can never go wrong with Aloe Vera when it comes to wounds. In case you scratched yourself so hard that you developed wounds, aloe Vera comes handy with its soothing effect.
· You could also try some essential oils to take that skin discomfort miles away from you. Try using lavender, tea tree, and cedar wood and eucalyptus essential oils for effective results. If you would like to learn more about essential oils you do so here!
Sand Flea Bite Pictures
Sand Fleas in Fishing (Mole Crabs)
There is another type of Sand flea that is found at the beach. This type of sand flea has also known as a mole crab, sand crab, beach flea, sand bugs, or sand fiddlers. These sand fleas are completely harmless though. It lacks the claws and teeth to bite you.
These types of sand fleas are very closely related to crabs and are commonly used in saltwater fishing. They are really easy to find on the beach and can be used as bait. If you feel up to it you can also eat them. You need a lot to really fill you up though seeing as they are so small. They’re also mostly shells so they aren’t very fun to eat.
For more information on sand fleas or any flea related questions please feel free to message us using our contact page.