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How to Avoid Sand Flea Bites

Sugar Bay Resort on St. Thomas doesn’t want you bugged

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Sand flea biting a finger

Sand fleas are tiny and irritating and can be avoided with proper precautions.

Photo offered in public domain on Wikipedia

No one wants to be bugged while they’re on vacation, either from beach hawkers or from actual bugs. At the Sugar Bay all-inclusive resort on St. Thomas, they’re pretty proactive in making sure guests stay bug-bite free.

They give you a handout when you check in outlining the issue about sand fleas, known by several names including sand fly, beach flea, hop-a-long, biting midge, punky, punkie or the most appropriate no-see-um, because they’re so small. The handout says that they are crustaceans; though they resemble insects, the little buggers aren’t. What they are is annoying, sometimes less than an eighth-inch long and very hard to see. The shrimp-like creature ranges in color from black to brown and bites on humans are normally found in clusters around the ankles, arms and back.

I saw them on occasion and batted them away before they could nibble. Bites are most likely to occur at dawn or in the evening, and night on the beach or other sandy areas near water or grassy areas.

Despite its size, the bite from one of these is painful, and can cause a large welt or rashes that can persist for days. Welts or hives produced from the bites are itchy, and scratching bitten areas should be avoided which will prolong the symptoms.

The handout advises:

  • Wear bug repellent (available in the shop at Sugar Bay), especially in early morning or at dusk, or when there is cloud cover and the beach is cooler, since that’s when they tend to come out the most.
  • Return beach towels before heading to your room; don’t give the little critters a free ride to your room where they’ll bug you anew
  • Keep your balcony door closed after sundown.


Not bad advice to keep from getting bugged on your vacation.

Sugar Bay Resort and Spa
6500 Estate Smith Bay
St. Thomas
U.S.Virgin Islands
Phone: (888) 582-9104
Website: http://www.sugarbayresortandspa.com/

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