Sand fleas are parasitic crustaceans that vary in size. They can be small like a dot of ground pepper or grow to about the size of a rice grain, to something bigger, visible to the naked eye. Given their name and habitat, some people think they only infest water creatures, which is not the case.
Sand flea bites on humans are known to be limited to certain areas of the body, which is feet, legs and hands. Usually other parts of the body are unharmed. They feed off the outer layer of the skin and slowly eat their way from the top layer until the area appears white, an evidence of the flesh being damaged by the bites.
Are sand fleas dangerous?
This type of flea is generally found in the North Pacific and said to be the most harmful species. Once sand fleas find a host to attack, it is likely that it will stay and multiply, and that may eventually kill the animal.
As their name suggests, they are typically found in the sand, sometimes in muddy places. What’s alarming about them though is that they don’t stay confined in these areas. They also invade homes and cause a number of health risks, skin disorders and their bites can be painful.
It is very important that you take action to get rid of them as fast as you can once you discover their presence in your home.
How to get rid of sand fleas
These pesky creatures cannot be compared to the regular fleas that we are accustomed to. They fight back and bite when threatened. One of the ways they get into our homes is by attaching themselves to pets and other creatures or people that have travelled from the beach to our homes. To get rid of them, here are some important steps to follow.
1. Learn how to spot them and what they look like
If you don’t know what these pests look like, you may not realize when they have invaded your home. After being attacked, your pet may suddenly stop frequenting the yard where the infestation could have started. Once sand fleas have invaded your home, don’t expect to spot them easily. They seek safety in dark parts of the house. If any of your family members or pets start to show suspicious bites, try to investigate if there are larvae or pupae in the areas of your home that are most undisturbed. The common adult sand flea would be about a centimeter long, either gray or brown with a tail and antennae.
2. Sprinkle salt and do a widespread cleaning
It may be a difficult and tedious task to rid your home of an infestation, but a thorough cleaning of their possible breeding grounds is a must. Sand fleas can’t survive salt. They tend to dehydrate and later on die if you sprinkle salt on them. Before vacuuming, especially the carpet, let sprinkled salt stay for 24 hours. Prior to washing, disinfect every linen, covers and other similar materials left untouched for some time, that may have been used as a hiding place.
3. Vacuum, repair and seal off all cracks and crevices
Fleas tend to hide in cracks and crevices and just about any spot they can squeeze in. Make sure to meticulously vacuum all these areas to get rid of all hidden larvae and pupae. Discard vacuum bags properly. Stop the sand fleas from re-occupying these spots by repairing and sealing them off.
4. Use insecticides or natural remedies
You can use a pesticide spray or flea bomb to kill the fleas if you are dealing with a reoccurring problem that seems impossible to get rid of. Steam cleaning using high temperature is another option to kill them and get rid of their hatching grounds. Remember to treat your yard too. If you are growing vegetables, you need a different approach in killing the fleas. Sprinkling a generous amount of diatomaceous earth will work against the fleas while keeping the plants safe and you can also use it indoors to treat your home.
5. Check and treat your pets
A home should be a refuge and not a place for harboring unwanted creatures that could make our pets and our lives miserable. As you ensure that your home is properly treated to be free of fleas, don’t forget to check your pets too, because they could bring the sand fleas right back in. Since sand fleas are not technically insects, flea control products won’t kill them, but you should still treat your pets to avoid other types of flea infestations.
Have peace of mind knowing that you have completely gotten rid of the sand fleas and have used measures to keep them from coming back.