Beach bug infestation at area beaches - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Beach bug infestation at area beaches

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By: Chelsea Priest

cpriest@abc6.com

With everyone rushing to area beaches to escape the heat, the last thing people want to hear is that there are creepy-slimy bugs infesting area beaches. Hundreds and Hundreds of isopods are typical here in Southern New England, but many beach goers explain that there seem to be a lot more this summer.

"They are always in the water, they are disgusting," says one beach-goer at Sachuest Beach today. Another says, "they are annoying, they crawl all over you sometimes."

Seaweed bugs, ocean critters, sea lice, are just a few of the names for the crustacean isopods infesting area beaches, especially the last two days.

Bob Mayer says, "I've been coming to this beach for 30 years and yesterday was the most I have ever seen, there were just thousands and thousands of them." The isopods occur naturally in salt water, they hatch in algae and attach to seaweed.

Marine biologists say the bugs are not uncommon here in Southern New England, but when beaches get a lot of seaweed, the bugs become more prevalent.

Jason McName, a supervisor marine biologist says the weather might have something to do with the increase. "It's been a period of calm weather, low wind, so if there was a group of them they would have hung together and not have gotten broken up by waves."

The bugs are about an inch long and a brownish color, and some swimmers say they bite. One said, "they'll crawl on you and sometimes they will give you a little sting." Another said, "They'll bite you and it won't hurt it's like a mosquito bite."

McName says the bugs are actually good for the ocean eco-system. Beach goers explained that there was a surplus of bugs Wednesday, Thursday there seemed to be less.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013

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