Sand Fleas

Identification Puce de Sable
  • Size: About 1 to 3 mm long
  • Color: Light brown
  • Distinctive Feature: Bites usually on the feet and ankles
  • Habitat: Beaches, sandy playgrounds

Appearance of Sand Fleas

Sand fleas, often confused with regular fleas, have distinctive characteristics. They are tiny, typically measuring between 1 and 3 millimeters. Their color ranges from light brown to black, making them difficult to spot in the sand. They are equipped with powerful hind legs that allow for impressive jumping. Their body is laterally flattened, an adaptation that facilitates their rapid movement in the sand.


In Quebec, sand fleas are primarily found in coastal areas and riverbanks. They prefer moist and sandy environments, including beaches, lakeshores, and rivers. These insects thrive in fine sand where they can easily hide and find food. Risk areas in Quebec include popular beaches and riverine zones, especially during the summer months when temperature and humidity are high, creating an ideal environment for their development.

Behavior of Sand Fleas

The behavior of sand fleas is mainly characterized by their biting activity and feeding. They are known for biting humans and animals, feeding on their blood. These bites are often felt as intense itching and can cause allergic reactions in some people. Sand fleas are particularly active early in the morning or late in the evening, especially on warm and humid days. They can jump up to 20-40 centimeters, allowing them to easily reach their hosts. It is important to note that sand fleas are not limited to beaches; they can also be found in other sandy areas.

Distinguishing Sand Fleas from Other Insects

Dog Flea

Dog Flea

Regular fleas, while similar to sand fleas in their jumping ability, have notable differences. Common fleas, often associated with domestic animals, measure between 1.5 and 3.3 millimeters. They have a more robust and rounded body compared to sand fleas. Common fleas prefer to live on a host, such as a domestic animal, whereas sand fleas are more often found in the environment, such as sand or vegetation near beaches.



Booklice, often confused with fleas due to their small size, differ significantly from sand fleas. They typically measure between 1 and 2 millimeters, are pale in color, and have an elongated body. Unlike sand fleas, booklice do not feed on blood but prefer plant materials or molds. They do not have powerful legs for jumping and are often found in damp places or where there is mold, such as old houses or books, rather than the sandy environment typical of sand fleas.

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