To protect yourself from itchy bites and even infections, you'll want to snag one of the best sand flea repellant. Below, I’ve rounded up highly rated bug repellents, ranging from all natural picks to the strongest stuff on the market. Whether you call them sand flies, no-see-ums, or beach fleas, there’s surely a repellent below to keep you as bite-free as possible.
Repellents abounds, so let this be your guide to effective ingredients that should help you avoid the dreaded sand flea bites.
- Deet: If you’re looking for the most powerful bug repellant available, go with a DEET-based spray. While it’s potent and far from natural, DEET is considered an effective bug repellant for sand flies. Further, DEET has been studied for decades and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it poses no health risks.
- 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 repellants, it’s also important not to over-apply IR3535 — which can be tricky, since it’s often combined with sunscreens that need 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 repellant, 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, below you'll find all the best sand flea repellents whether you are looking for the most powerful or the most natural.
1. The Most Potent: A Sand Flea Repellent With 98% DEET
REPEL 100 Insect Repellent Spray works to ward off sand fleas with an incredibly potent 98.11% DEET. Just note that this high a concentration of DEET isn't advisable for children. Several reviewers did comment on the "greasy" feel, but it still boasts a 4.3-star customer rating on Amazon after more than 3,200 reviews. Plus, one application promises to keep sand fleas at bay for up to 10 hours.
A helpful review: “Outstanding protection. I always use in the tropics and prevents no seeums or sand flea bites.”
2. A Natural Spray That Reviewers Love
With a cool scent, the REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent is a DEET-free option. It relies on oil of lemon eucalyptus as an active ingredient to repel sand fleas instead. This popular pick has a 4.3-star customer rating on Amazon and over 6,800 reviews, and it promises to repel bugs for up to 6 hours before you’ll need to reapply.
A helpful review: “I love this insect spray!! The natural aspect is fantastic and it actually WORKS. I went to the coast of South Carolina for a few days, where mosquitoes and sand fleas run rampant. The first day, without this stuff, I was covered in bug bites after just a few minutes!! After using this stuff, they completely avoided me and decided to eat my husband alive instead. Great for me, sucked for him! This is hands-down the best working natural insect repellent I have ever tried.”
3. The One That Works Double Duty: A Sand Flea Repellant With SPF
Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus combines SPF 30, vitamin E, aloe, and IR3535 to repel sand fleas and other bugs while also protecting your skin from sun damage. This option comes with a 4.4-star customer rating on Amazon and nearly 2,500 reviews. The application instructions suggest reapplying this pick every 80 minutes, but keep in mind that reapplying IR3535 that often may not be ideal if you're going to be out all day.
A helpful review: “I have tried everything for those tiny little no-seeums. This is the best product I have found so far! Our backyard is full of sand, and sand gnats are TERRIBLE in the spring. Works well on mosquitos as well. I love that it also contains sunscreen, and the scent is really nice.”
4. The Best Essential Oil Sand Flea Repellent
Badger Anti-Bug Shake And Spray contains geranium, lemongrass, and citronella oils — all of which naturally repel sand fleas. This pick also includes peppermint, cedar, rosemary, and wintergreen essential oils; plus water, castor oil, and soybean oil. It's free from synthetic chemicals as well, like DEET and petroleum. It's also certified organic, 100% natural, and lab-tested to repel mosquitoes. Additionally, this option comes with a 4-star customer rating on Amazon and nearly 600 reviews. Plus, this all-natural option is made in the United States, it's Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, and Badger is a certified B corporation. This pick also “smells great and feels really good on,” according to one Amazon reviewer.
A helpful review: “There's a beach in South Carolina filled with what locals call no-see-ums. If you've ever been exposed to these little devils, you know there's hardly any deterring them except with some deep DEET spray. [...] The fact that this works on that beach, is a miracle. [...] We use it at the house now (we live in Georgia where it's rained daily all summer and the mosquitos are heinous). It works like a charm.”
5. The Most Outside-The-Box: An Edible Sand Flea Repellant
Marmite is packed with B vitamins, like vitamin B12, that may help keep sand fleas away when ingested. This pungent treat also contains yeast extract, salt, vegetable juice concentrate, and other natural flavors; and it's suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Try eating it on your toast every morning to keep sand fleas at bay — but be warned: Marmite is reportedly quite the acquired taste. If the taste or smell of this option is too much for you, maybe mix it with a heaping spoonful of your favorite jam.
A helpful review: “Nothing quite like it. It is bold and a bit salty. I put it on everything. The 125g is perfectly purse sized for enjoying Marmite on the go. [...]