Sand fleas are parasitic nuisances that feed on fresh blood. Contrary to their name, sand fleas aren’t fleas but are actually species of crustaceans.
What is the natural way to get rid of sand fleas? To get rid of sand fleas, you can use diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle into the areas where you believe sand fleas are living. This material causes sand fleas to dry out and eventually die. You can also include salt with this ingredient.
In this article, you’ll learn what sand fleas are, how to get rid of them, and prevention tips for you and your pets. Keep on reading!
What Are Sand Fleas?
Sand fleas are small biting creatures found in moist areas, like beaches, under rocks or debris, but not on yards.
But, if you see happen to suspect them in your yard, you or your pets might have brought them from your beach walk. You’ll notice their presence when they begin to feed on you, as their bite can be painful and itchy.
What Does Sand Fleas Look Like?
Sand fleas are about a quarter an inch to an inch in length. They vary in color and could be either gray, brown, or green.
These small crustacean species possess long, thick antennae and have several pairs of legs. In addition, they also have two forked appendages protruding from the backs of their bodies.
Where Do Sand Fleas Live?
Sand fleas live on sandy beaches and are most active at night to search for food. These tiny creatures stay buried during the day and are native to tropical areas like the Caribbean, South America, and Madagascar.
These crustacean species can also be found along the Atlantic coast.
Do Sand Fleas Carry Diseases?
Sand fleas can cause tungiasis, which is also called sand flea disease. Female sand fleas cause this disease through penetration in the skin, usually in the heel or toes. According to World Health Organization, its symptoms are inflammation, extreme pain, itching, and wound at the bite area. If repeated infection, it may cause disfigure of the feet to severe bacterial superinfection that leads to life-threatening complications.
How to Naturally Get Rid of Sand Fleas?
You can use diatomaceous earth and salt in areas that you suspect any presence of sand fleas. Diatomaceous earth dehydrates sand fleas, leaving them to die. To do this, you can follow the steps below:
Step 1: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth and salt around the affected areas.
Step 2: Let it sit for 24 hours, then use a vacuum to suction the dead pests.
However, diatomaceous earth (DE) is only effective if not wet or raining. Reapply these elements as needed.
Additionally, diatomaceous earth (DE) is a registered flea control powder that also eliminates other insects that cross it. Although this matter is not toxic, it could be harmful when inhaled, so wear a mask during application.
Will Apple Cider Vinegar Eliminate Fleas?
Apple cider can’t eliminate fleas, but they’re better as repellents as fleas hate their taste and smell. To make a natural apple cider flea repellent, make a solution of apple cider and water in equal parts.
Does Baking Soda Eliminate Fleas?
Baking soda can eliminate fleas and other parasites. A baking soda bath can eliminate fleas naturally, as well as neutralize odor. To do this, follow the steps below:
Step 1: You can put some baking soda on your carpets, take a stiff brush and rub it into the fabric.
Step 2: After that, vacuum your place thoroughly.
Step 3: Once done, empty your vacuum by placing its content into a bag, and then dispose into the trash can.
Will Coconut Oil Eliminate Fleas?
Coconut oil can eliminate and repel fleas due to its lauric acid ingredient, which fleas avoid. Thus, if your pet has fleas, you can rub this solution into your pet’s coat or let them have it orally.
To do this, add a teaspoon of coconut oil per 20 pounds of your pet’s weight twice daily in the food.
Will Dawn Dishwashing Liquid Eliminate Fleas?
Dawn dishwashing liquid can eliminate fleas. The dishwashing soap creates surface tension, compromising the exoskeleton of fleas, making them drown and die.
Does Vinegar Eliminate Flea Eggs?
A vinegar spray can’t eliminate flea eggs as it’s not strong enough to infiltrate the shell of flea eggs or larvae. Thus, using vinegar is ineffective when it comes to eliminating flea eggs.
How Do You Stop Sand Fleas From Biting You?
Avoid Going to the Beach After the Rain
Sand fleas tend to go out of their hiding when the rain starts to fall, so don’t hit up the beach when you see that it’s about to rain.
Go to the Beach During Mid-Day
If you decide to go to the beach, choose to go there mid-day. Sand fleas tend to go out from their burrows when it’s not hot or when the temperature starts to cool down.
Use Oil Instead of Bug Spray
Bug spray doesn’t tend to work on sand fleas. Thus, it would be best to use oil that repels sand fleas, such as peppermint, tea tree, rosewood, eucalyptus, citrus, and more.
How to Get Rid of Sand Fleas on Humans?
To effectively eliminate sand fleas on humans, it’s best to call a doctor for treatment options, as an infection may occur if left untreated.
In the meantime, you can make a mixture of water and white vinegar and spread it on the affected area of the body to temporarily relieve the pain. You can also apply aloe vera to ease the redness and swelling.
Here is a video about how to treat sand flea bites in case of an encounter:
How Do You Make Homemade Flea Spray?
To make a homemade flea spray, you can do the following:
Step 1: Mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 3 drops of lavender or peppermint oil in an empty spray bottle.
Step 2: After mixing the ingredients, fill the rest with water. The mixture of oil and vinegar deter the fleas from staying, and the oil conceals the strong smell of the vinegar.
Can Dogs Get Sand Fleas?
Dogs can get sand fleas, and you’ll know your dogs have fleas if you see red marks or bumps into your pet’s skin. They’ll also be scratching incessantly, so it’s better to check the gravity of the bite and consult a veterinarian if needed.
If you notice them, you can also make an essential oil spray and spatter it on the site of the bite to ease the itchiness and swelling of the affected area in your dog’s skin.
How to Free Your Dogs from Sand Fleas?
You can get rid of fleas on your dogs by using vinegar as shampoo. Add a quart of white vinegar to the bathwater for your dog and use it to wash your dog. After that, dry off your dog.
Use Essential Oil
Another way to get rid of sand fleas on your dogs is by using essential oil sprays. You can make your own spray by adding a few drops of essential oil into a spray bottle and filling it up with water.
Choose a strong scented essential oil, like peppermint, citrus, or eucalyptus. This can help repel fleas from your dogs.
Do Dryer Sheets Repel Fleas?
Dryer sheets repel fleas. They’re the best weapon you have to repel them, but they contain toxic chemicals that can burn the mouth of your dog if they eat them.
They can also cause ulceration and GI tract burns. So, if your pet has eaten the dryer sheet and shows signs of vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea, call your veterinarian right away.
Sand fleas are parasitic crustacean species, not fleas. They can cause tungiasis, which bears all the characteristics of a neglected tropical disease (NTD).
Bug spray doesn’t usually work in repelling these pests, so you have to make an all-natural spray using essential oils. Opt for strong-scented oils like peppermint, citrus, lavender to repel the sand fleas successfully.
List of Sources
About Leishmaniasis. (2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Coastal & Shoreline: Atlantic Coast. United States Department of Agriculture.
Steven, M., et al. (2015). Phenotype-Environment Matching in Sand Fleas. National Center for Biotechnology Information.