No-see-um’s, hop-alongs, beach fleas, biting midge, punky…these are just a few of the “cute” names that sand fleas go by! But cute they’re not! And they are very present in the low country area of Savannah, GA!
Sand Fleas reside on the beach and in other sandy areas during warm weather, double in numbers during the spring, produce a loud whine when in groups, and feed early in the morning and late at night. Sand flea bites may feel like a sting because they are very deep causing welts and lesions with severe pain and itching. The female bites for the blood protein needed for her egg laying, however this saliva can trigger your body to react and the bites can cause infections and fever viruses. Sand Fleas tend to “feed” on people with paler skin, as the skin is thinner making it easier to pierce.
To help keep these fleas at bay, try using an insect repellant similar to those used against mosquitoes. If you are bitten, do not scratch the welts, as scratching can cause swelling, itchiness, skin redness, and can lead to sand fleas burying themselves underneath the skin allowing them to continue feeding on blood. For bite relief, you can take a pain killer such as ibuprofen gels. Seek medical advice should the pain or itchiness worsen.