Amphipods

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Order Amphipoda

Appearance

What do they look like?
amphipods image

  • Size: Adult amphipods range from 5 to 20 mm in length.
  • Body: Most members of the amphipod species have flat bodies with large
  • Eyes: compound eyes on the sides of their heads

The majority of amphipods utilize a defense mechanism known as a tail flip, wherein they use their abdomens to propel themselves away from a predator.

Amphipods belong to an order comprised of over 7,000 species, their habitats, characteristics and feeding habits vary. 

How Did I Get Amphipods?

These tiny pests may enter homes after heavy rainfall. An amphipod requires a specific amount of moisture to live and too much or too little can be fatal. When outdoor environments become too wet, the pests often move inside seeking drier conditions. These creatures are not insects, but are crustaceans and go by their common name “yard shrimp” since their appearance is very shrimp-like. When disturbed in their natural habitat, seeing them jump around may remind someone of fleas or springtails.

Amphipods get inside through open doors. Improper weather stripping provides easy access. Moist, humid garages also attract them. In yards, the pests thrive in overwatered soil and take shelter under rocks, mulch and decaying vegetation.

How Serious Are Amphipods?

Most amphipods that get into homes die quickly because there is not enough moisture. Many homeowners with pools have problems with these pests clogging filters. Unlike fleas, amphipods do not bite, so their presence is only a nuisance for residents.

How Do You Get Rid of Them?

How Orkin Treats for Amphipods
Amphipods are crustaceans, not insects. So, a thorough inspection and accurate identification of these organisms is critical since terrestrial amphipods are often thought to be fleas or springtails since they jump around in a manner similar to these insects.

If you encounter pests that you suspect are amphipods, contact your local Orkin branch and get an accurate assessment. Failure to accurately identify amphipods may result in wasted time and expense for efforts that do not properly address amphipod treatment.

The key element for treating amphipods is locating the source of the infestation. Amphipods survive and multiply in moist environments like lawns, under rocks and other debris. Amphipods are often seen when they leave their moist, protected environments and move into garages, houses and onto sidewalks or patios.

Amphipods die quickly after moving to a dry environment, so using chemical treatments is generally unnecessary. If your pest management professional suggests using chemical controls, the appropriate manner of use is a spot treatment where the numbers of amphipods are particularly high.

However, in most situations your pest management professional will recommend non-chemical treatment methods that dry out their moist habitats. Some of the non-chemical treatments include drying out the top surfaces of mulch by raking, plus removing plant debris and rocks.


Signs of an Amphipod Infestation

There is only one main sign of amphipods: the amphipods themselves. They may be encountered in moist damp areas outside of the home or potentially inside after heavy raining periods where the soil and ground cover become saturated.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Where do they live?
All amphipod species prefer moist habitats. Amphipods that live in water are primarily white, although some may also exhibit light brown, green, dark brown or black coloration. Most amphipods become red in color when they die. Amphipods can thrive in marine settings and on moist land. Other species are found in home gardens and beneath flowerpots.

What do they eat?
Some amphipods are herbivores, while others are carnivores. Sand-, mud- and moist-soil-dwelling amphipods feed on bacteria. Other species are scavengers that feed on dead plants and animals.

Reproduction

Females lay their eggs inside a brood pouch where they remain until they hatch. Immature amphipods look like miniature versions of the adults. While most amphipod females produce a single generation of offspring, there are species that can produce several generations within a five-month period.