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How Summer Insects Can Ruin Your Beach Day

Serving Suffolk County | Nassau County | Long Island | Brooklyn

Living on Long Island, family beach days are part of the summer season! Unfortunately, even visiting the best beaches on Long Island to soak up some sun can result in encounters with unwanted fellow beachgoers—beach bugs. If your summer beach day plans don’t include laying on your towel with beach pests, fear not. It’s possible to take advantage of our beautiful local beaches without heading home with a ton of bug bites.

Common Beach Bugs on Long Island

On Long Island beaches, there are quite a few different insects you’ll likely encounter. Here are 5 of the top beach insects on Long Island:

Sand Fleas

Contrary to what their name suggests, sand fleas aren’t even insects, but actually crustaceans, lumping them into the same subphylum Four sand lice in wet sandas other beach creatures like crabs, lobsters, crayfish, and barnacles. You may hear them be called beach fleas, sand hoppers, or beach hoppers. They’re actually likely referred to as sand fleas because they jump around in a similar fashion as regular ‘ole fleas.

Sand fleas are very small, ranging from about a quarter of an inch to an inch in length. Usually they’re gray, green, or brown, with several pairs of legs and long antennae. They also have two forked appendages which protrude from their backs. 

Sand fleas are typically found in—you guessed it—sand, but more specifically, moist sandy areas underneath rocks or debris near the high-tide mark. 

If you encounter these pests on the beach, sand flea bites may irritate your skin in a similar way as a typical flea on a dog or cat, leaving behind itchy welts.

Beach Isopods

Beach isopods, or as they’re usually called, roly polies or pill bugs, are another common pest you may encounter on Long Island’s beaches. Typically, these critters live in the moist high tide line area where they burrow in the sand. Aside from being a bit creepy, roly polies are fairly harmless and don’t bite.

Sand Flies

Kelp flies, or sand flies as they’re often called, are often seen in beach areas with driftwood, seaweed, and surf grass in search of kelp. Sand flies are often seen in groups, sometimes near other scavengers like red mites. While sand flies aren’t harmful, their presence can be annoying.


Mosquitoes thrive and breed in areas of standing water, and are often seen in beaches with ample sources of fresh standing water. Mosquitoes at the beach are more likely to be seen at later times in the day, such as twilight. Their bites can cause itchiness and general discomfort, but mosquitoes can also spread serious, often fatal diseases to humans through their bites, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria.

Beach Spiders

Spiders are often found around aquatic environments, making the beach a prime spot for spiders like beach wolf spiders, dock spiders, and sea spiders.

Beach Wolf Spiders

Beach wolf spiders are often found in the sand or under driftwood. These pests are experts at hiding, and will bite if they are provoked. While their bites are both poisonous and painful, they are not deadly.

Dock Spiders

Dock spiders, also often referred to as fishing spiders, feed off fish, so they’re often found near the water. These spiders actually rest their front two legs in the water to feel the vibrations of fish and tadpoles that are swimming in the area. Once it gets cold outside, dock spiders will be in search of warmth, so they will try to make their way inland or into houses. Their bites are poisonous, though they don’t often bite humans. If they do, humans generally aren’t impacted too severely by their bites, unless they happen to be sensitive to their venom.

Sea Spiders

Sea spiders, which are not arachnids, but instead, pycnogonids, can be found in both shallow waters, or thousands of feet underwater! They are carnivorous, and seek out prey such as sea sponges and coral. While they don’t bite, sea spiders do have claws literally growing out of their brains. The sea spiders you’ll see on the beach are usually very small, but there are some true sea spider monsters that live deep in the ocean which can easily span a foot long (or more).

6 Ways to Avoid Summer Insects on the Beach

  1. This one’s a given—when you’re thinking of what to pack for a day at the beach and want to prevent beach bug bites, don’t forget to take your insect repellant! Apply a layer of bug spray before the beach pests can get to you, and just like your sunscreen, be sure to reapply if it gets washed away in the water.
  2. Stay away from areas where beach pests are likely to be found. For example, avoid fresh standing water, which as mentioned previously, is a common breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  3. Bring a change of clothes, and do a wardrobe change before getting back to your car to ensure you don’t bring home any pests in your clothes or car. Be sure to wash your beach clothes as soon as possible when you get home, too!
  4. Take advantage of outdoor showers, and hose down yourself and your family on your way out. Bugs can end up hiding in places like your hair, and will gladly hitch a ride home with you given the opportunity.
  5. Maintain a year-round pest control maintenance service at your house to ensure if beach bugs do make their way into your home, you’re covered. Suburban Exterminating’s services protect Long Island homes from over 25 different pests, including common beach pests like spiders and mosquitoes. Contact us today to get started with your custom pest treatment plan.

How Summer Insects Can Ruin Your Beach Day Serving Long Island and surrounding areas

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