Sunshine, waves, sand — and bug bites? Believe it or not, even the most pristine beaches can house a host of insects.

beach bug

If your beach vacation dreams don't include any extra critters, never fear. It’s possible to enjoy the sun and the sea without the insect bites. Here are the most common beach bugs and how to help avoid them.

Sand Fleas

Sand fleas aren’t actually fleas or insects at all. They are tiny crustaceans. They're called "sand fleas" due to their bites, which are similar to a regular flea bite. These critters bury themselves in the sand and their bites are itchy and uncomfortable to some people.

To help prevent sand flea bites, don’t sit directly on the sand. In fact, it’s best to not even put your towel directly on the sand, but to relax somewhere elevated, like on a lounge chair.

Beach Spiders

Spiders can be found around most aquatic environments, and the beach is no exception! Beach wolf spiders and dock spiders can be seen both on the sand and the surrounding areas on a beach. If you see a spider on the beach, try to keep your distance. These beach spiders are venomous and while their bites aren't fatal to humans, they can be painful.


Isopods, also known as roly polies or pill bugs, are very common around beaches. They are typically associated with the high tide line area, and they can be found burrowing in the sand. Beaches are a great environment for them because they need a moist environment to survive. Fortunately, isopods are harmless to humans and don't typically require pest control.

Rove Beetles

There are many beetles that may be found on the beach, but rove beetles are one of the most common. Rove beetles are found on beaches because they prefer moist environments, like isopods, and they feed on organisms that are found in the sand and by water. While you may not want them joining you during your vacation, they are completely harmless to humans.

Kelp Flies

Kelp flies can be found on beaches where seaweed, driftwood and surf grass is present. They use these materials as a food source for nutrients and for reproduction. Kelp flies typically are found in groups and are active all year round. As they feed primarily on kelp, it's unlikely that they are dangerous to humans.


Mosquitoes love the water, especially standing water in which they need to breed. So you are likely to find them at the beach where there are probably ample sources of fresh standing water.

To help prevent itchy bites from bringing down your vacation, use an insect repellent, but be sure to choose the right one.

Try to avoid the water or areas close to the water during peak mosquito times, such as twilight. If you want to venture out and watch the sunset, be sure to wear long pants and sleeves, if possible, to help safeguard your skin from potential bites.

Bed Bugs

While you might not find a bed bug lounging on the sand, they can be lurking wherever you stay the night. Bed bugs don’t discriminate — they can show up even at the most luxurious resorts. While that sounds like the stuff of nightmares, helping avoid taking bed bugs back home with you can be fairly simple. When you check into your hotel, inspect the bed, nightstands, window frames and carpets for any bugs.

Also, make sure you keep your suitcase off the floor and off the bed. Use a luggage rack or desk to store your suitcase instead. When you get home, wash and dry all your clothing immediately, following the label instructions. If you do happen to bring an infestation home, it’s best to contact a professional. Bed bugs are notoriously hard to eliminate and often require special equipment and treatments that aren’t accessible to the average homeowner.