It’s no surprise that many Australians want to live near the beach. Our beaches are some of the best in the world. Combine that with breezy, lazy summers in the sand, swimming and cool drinks at sunset and it’s little wonder why more than 85% of us live within 50kms of a beach.
Whilst living near the beach does have it’s advantages, there’s also some pests that you will find making their way into your home or making a meal out of you when you visit the beach for a swim or a surf.
Below are some of the pests that are common on and around Australian beaches so you know what to look out for the next time you slap on your thongs and hit the sand.
Pests you may find at the beach
When you walk onto the sand at your favourite beach, there’s an array of different insects, arachnids and crustaceans that can nip, bite and burrow their way into making your day less than optimal. Here’s how to avoid them and what to do if you find them.
Although technically not a flea (they’re not even an insect, but a crustacean) these tiny creatures are known as sand fleas because their bite is similar to a flea bite (and they look similar to a flea also).
Sand fleas (also called beach fleas or sand hoppers) like to bury into moist sand, so if you’ve got the option, stick to dry sand to try and avoid these little critters.
They do jump to bite (similar to a normal flea) so if you’re on wet sand and you find you’re being bitten by sand fleas, if you have a beach chair or something that will get you off the ground, this can help eliminate bites to most areas of your body.
Because sand fleas aren’t insects, insect repellent doesn’t really work to deter sand fleas so you’re better off trying a range of different oils, sunscreens and long sleeved clothing to stop these little buggers getting you at the beach. Our bonkers New Zealand cousins across the pond even recommend rubbing Marmite on yourself, although we will leave it up to our Kiwi mates to test that one.
Rove beetles are a small black insect with a red head and a red stripe through its thorax. Whilst they don’t bite or sting, their blood contains a toxin called pederin that can irritate some people's eyes and skin. Their toxin is usually released when people find them crawling on them and squash or slap them like a mosquito or fly. In severe cases this toxin can even cause pustules and blistering.
If you find rove beetles crawling on you it’s best to flick them off your skin. Whatever you do, don’t crush them as this will release their toxic blood onto your skin and cause trouble.
Spiders on the beach
When you think of the beach, not everyone thinks of spiders, but it wouldn’t be Australia without something trying to kill you, right? When you hit the beach it’s likely you won’t see too many spiders but certain species are known to live near the water, and this includes the beach. In Queensland you’re probably likely to see orb-weaver spiders. These types of spiders aren’t overly aggressive and their bite is low risk.
It’s incredibly unlikely you will actually find spiders on the beach. If you’re living or staying near the beach, you’re more likely to get the usual huntsmans, redbacks, etc in and around your home. If that’s the case you might want to consider a spider pest treatment.
If you’re at a beach with seaweed around, it’s likely you’re going to stumble across kelp flies. These are more of an annoyance than a risk as they don’t bite and aren’t poisonous. They tend to swarm when there’s a lot of kelp or seaweed on the beach (as that’s what they feed on) and may make a picnic frustrating, but won’t ruin your day.
You can’t go anywhere near water in Australia without a mozzie or two floating around. As Australians, we’ve had to deal with mosquitoes since the very first First Nations ancestor placed a foot on our proud, ancient country.
There’s a range of different ways people deal with mosquitoes, but perhaps the easiest is to simply get some insect spray and use this when you hear that distinctive bzzzzzzzzz around your head.
Like most places around the world, there’s always going to be pests, insects, rodents and unwanteds in our homes no matter where we live. If you find it unbearable living with pests in your home and you live in Brisbane, give us a call and we can come out and conduct a pest inspection and let you know the options available for pest control.