VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (FOX 5 DC) — Lifeguards in Virginia Beach say the water appears to be clear of pests after receiving multiple reports of people being stung by sea lice at the Oceanfront earlier this week, WTKR reports.
Commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean, sea lice are translucent and extremely small blue crab larvae that are known for getting into bathing suits, hair, ears, as well as towels, shoes, or any fabric touched after contamination, according to staff at the Virginia Beach aquarium.
WTKR reports that sea lice appear in the water every year, but water temperature and current direction determine how many we see yearly.
“They are around from July into the fall. August tends to be when they are most abundant. Blue crab eggs are continuously hatching once the water warms to 70, so you would expect to see sea lice in July. There is nothing unusual about them close to shore at this time of year,” said Chris Witherspoon with the Virginia Beach Aquarium.
Beachgoers told WTKR on Thursday that they were only in the water for a few minutes when they started feeling a tingling sensation.
"It felt like sand on your clothes and then it started to feel like things were biting you. If you, like, scratch, it will feel like sand and if you look, you'll see a clear thing with blue eyes,” said Virginia Beach resident Cade Welsh.
A common side effect for sea lice is a rash or bumps that usually disappears after rinsing with fresh water.
Last summer, officials in Ocean City reported they were seeing an uptick of sea lice in the area. So far this year, no known reports there have been made.