Whether you call them sand flies, no-see-ums, or beach fleas, it’s important to protect yourself from itchy bites and even infections. The best sand flea repellents offer protection in the form of high-powered ingredients like DEET and IR3535, or through the help of natural compounds like essential plant oils. Below, I’ve rounded up highly rated bug repellents, ranging from organic picks to the strongest stuff on the market.
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Sand Flea Repellents
In general, you’ll have the option of sprays and lotions, but your biggest decision will be which active ingredients you prefer. Here’s what to know about each:
- DEET: If you’re looking for the most powerful bug repellent available, go with a DEET-based lotion or spray. While it isn’t natural, DEET is considered one of the most effective bug repellents for sand flies. If you’re concerned about using something this potent, rest assured that DEET has been studied for decades, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded it poses no health risk, as long as it’s used as directed.
- IR3535: This is an active ingredient that can also be effective against biting flies, (like sand fleas) plus mosquitoes, deer ticks, and body lice. IR3535 is deemed safe by both the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the EPA. However, it’s generally considered less effective than DEET, and like with all synthetic bug repellents, it’s also important not to over-apply IR3535 — which can be tricky, since it’s often combined with sunscreens that need to be reapplied every two hours.
- Plant Oils: For a more natural way to repel sand fleas, bug sprays infused with plant oils might be your best bet. Citronella is a popular sand flea repellent, and lemongrass naturally repels sand fleas as well. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is commonly used against sand fleas and other biting bugs also. While the EPA hasn’t evaluated essential oils for effectiveness against bugs, it has evaluated them for safety, concluding that essential oils pose minimal risk to human health.
- Marmite: Admittedly, this may sound a bit wacky, but New Zealanders, who are no strangers to sand fleas, say it just might help you avoid sand flea bites. Evidently Marmite is high in vitamin B, which helps to keep sand fleas at bay. If you can stand the taste, marmite could be a way to avoid fleas without having to spray anything on your skin.
With all that in mind, you'll find all the best sand flea repellents here, whether you are looking for the most powerful formula or the most natural.
Shop The Best Sand Flea Repellents
In a hurry? These are the best sand flea repellents:
- A Potent Repellent Made With DEET: Ultrathon Insect Repellent
- A Natural Spray That Reviewers Love: Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
- A Sand Flea Repellent With SPF: Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus
- A Sand Flea Repellent Made With Organic Essential Oils: Badger Shake & Spray
- An Outside-The-Box Edible Sand Flea Repellent: Marmite
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