Learn all about lawn shrimp infestation, control, harmful, treatment and bite.
The 3/8 inch long, flattened, reddish brown, shrimp shaped critters were Arcitalitrus sylvaticus, AKA Lawn shrimp. These creatures are actually a land-dwelling crustacean relative of shrimp and crabs.
Lawn shrimp populations are often associated with eucalyptus, ivy, and damp areas with extensive ground cover. According to the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, lawn shrimp live on the surface (top 1/2 inch) of mulch and moist ground.
Rain and flooding in the Sunshine Coast area has been driving the ‘pests’ indoors, where they dry out and then you will find them dying or dead inside your home. Terrestrial Amphipods (Lawn shrimp) are relatives of Hermit crabs and more traditional sea creatures we think of but have adapted to live on land and do just fine.
There are about 90 species of Amphipods in the U.S. and Canada and none are harmful that I know of or even considered a pest. It is also called ‘house hopper’ or ‘big red flea’ this creature needs semi aquatic conditions and eats organic or decaying animal matter. Sometimes confused with springtails, homeowners or pest control professionals alike will spray the yard for control but this often misses the mark. Amphipods also live on beaches, their hopping and resemblance to fleas leads people to believe a beach area is infested with the blood sucking insect but it is just the harmless Amphipod.
What are Lawn Shrimp?
Lawn shrimp, sometimes called shrimp bugs, are related to sand hoppers or sand fleas. These small pests are usually about ½ inch long, are pinkish/brown in color and have a “shrimp-like” form. Look close and you’ll see they have two pairs of antennas, two eyes and they have leg-like appendages. Lawn shrimp are sometimes misidentified as springtails. The way you can tell the difference is that springtails have six legs and only one pair of antennae.
Lawn Shrimp Infestation
Lawn shrimp infestation may be in different areas of house such as pool, garage, garden and fish tanks.
- Lawn shrimp pests like moisture so it’s no wonder they’d aim for your pool. When an infestation occurs in a home owner’s pool it can cause serious problems including clogging of filters. Since infestation is most likely to occur during periods of excessive rain, be sure to clean pool filters often during this period.
- Amphipods like moisture but not too much. When rain falls they are likely to enter your home by crawling beneath your doors to avoid excess moisture. Your garage is one spot they’ll likely end up in such instances. If the moisture level is optimal not too much or too little they will thrive there. To avoid an infestation, keep moisture down. Clean up puddles, use a dehumidifier, de-clutter and so forth.
- What’s in your fish tank? If you see dozens of shrimpy pests appear out of nowhere, they are likely amphipods. They’ll enjoy the controlled settings, especially since it’ll be abundant with food sources. Though many species are herbivores, others are scavengers and will eat any form of animal life their little mouths can handle.
- Terrestrial amphipods can thrive beneath stones or decaying vegetation. They like soft, moist soil which can be very abundant in gardens. Some species also jump about like fleas, making gardening where an infestation is present very annoying. You’ll be able to distinguish between amphipods and fleas as you look closely at the body. An amphipod’s body is usually brownish-white and will turn red when it dies. Also, unlike fleas, the amphipod doesn’t bite.
Lawn Shrimp Control
The best way to reduce the numbers of lawn shrimps is to eliminate or reduce any moist soil/organic matter from around your home. As the Lawn Shrimps are already dead or dying when in your home there is nothing a pest controller can do to help. Keeping moisture away from home is the best way of keeping the numbers down. Lawn shrimp can be controlled by keeping mulch from getting too wet during dry seasons. When it rains weather stripping house and garage doors will prevent lawn shrimp from entering you home.
Are Lawn Shrimp Harmful?
Lawn shrimp can be a nuisance but they don’t bite and are not harmful.
Lawn Shrimp Treatment
The best treatment is to sweep or vacuum them and discard. To manage an infestation, apply the following procedures:
- Reduce moisture in home, especially after excessive rainfall
- Clean pool filters regularly
- Reduce irrigation, where possible, in gardens and lawns
- Remove excessive rocks which often protect amphipod environs
- Clean up mulch, or debris around property including nearby pavements and drains
- Use non-chemical methods that help to dry out your environment.
Do Lawn Shrimp Bite?
Lawn shrimps do not bite. They have small mouthparts that chew and feed off of organic or decaying animal matter.