Lawn shrimp, also known as amphipods, are small crustaceans that are often found in gardens and lawns.
They usually thrive in damp and moist environments and can be seen after heavy rainfall or watering of lawns.
While lawn shrimps might appear somewhat alarming due to their large numbers, it is important to note that they are not harmful to humans or pets.
These creatures are primarily detritivores, meaning they feed on decaying organic matter such as leaves and grass clippings, making them beneficial for your lawn’s overall health.
However, lawn shrimp may sometimes accidentally find their way into homes, causing annoyance to homeowners.
In such cases, they can be easily removed using a broom or a vacuum cleaner, without the need for harmful pesticides.
What Are Lawn Shrimps?
Lawn shrimp are tiny, translucent amphipod crustaceans often found in gardens. They have a pale brown color and long antennae.
Some characteristics of lawn shrimp include:
- Tiny size, usually around 5-20 mm in length
- Translucent bodies, ranging from pale to darker brown
- Tendency to live in damp or moist areas, such as under rocks, leaves, and pots
Lawn shrimp are not typically harmful, but they can be a nuisance when present in large numbers.
However, they help in breaking down organic matter, essentially acting as harmless decomposers.
The most common species of lawn shrimp is the terrestrial amphipod called Arcitalitrus sylvaticus. This species usually resides in damp or wet environments.
Some features of this species include:
- Preference for high humidity environments
- Nocturnal and active during the night
- Capable of living on both land and water
Table showing different lawn shrimp species
|Characteristics||Lawn Shrimp (General)||Arcitalitrus sylvaticus|
|Size||5-20 mm||Similar to general lawn shrimp|
|Habitat||Damp, moist areas||High humidity environments|
|Harmful to Gardens?||No||No|
Are Lawn Shrimp Harmful?
Effects on Plants and Soil
Lawn shrimp, also known as terrestrial amphipods, are small crustaceans that feed on decaying organic matter. They mostly thrive in moist soil and mulch.
Though considered harmless to plants, their presence might be an indication of an infestation of insects.
Dangers to Humans and Pets
Lawn shrimp are generally considered harmless to humans and pets. They do not transmit diseases or bite.
However, their populations may increase rapidly under certain conditions, leading to larger infestations in homes and gardens.
Features of Lawn Shrimps:
- Size: 5mm to 20mm
- Color: Pale brown to whitish
- Habitat: Moist soil, mulch, decaying organic matter
Characteristics of Lawn Shrimps:
- Harmless to plants
- Harmless to humans and pets
- Considered a nuisance when present in large numbers
- Feed on decaying organic matter
- Indication of healthy soil
- Contribute to the breakdown of organic matter
- Attract beneficial insects
- Nuisance in large numbers
- Can enter homes
Comparing Lawn ShrimpGrass Shrimp
|Lawn Shrimp||Grass Shrimp|
|Decaying organic matter||Detritus, small aquatic organisms|
|Moist soil, mulch||Freshwater or brackish water environments|
Lawn Shrimp Diet and Habitat
Lawn shrimps can be found in moist environments. They prefer living on the surface (top 1/2 inch) of mulch and moist ground, such as in mulch beds, leaf litter, and under shrubs.
These creatures are most active after rain when they can migrate into garages and homes.
Decaying Organic Matter
Their primary food source is decaying organic matter. This includes decomposing leaves, grass, and other plant materials.
Lawn shrimp help break down this organic waste, returning nutrients to the topsoil and creating a healthy environment for plants.
Lakes and Ponds
Although they are called “shrimp,” lawn shrimp are not related to the popular seafood species found in saltwater and brackish environments.
Instead, these freshwater invertebrates live in close proximity to lakes and ponds. However, they can cause problems when overwatering gardens, as they may enter homes in search of dry areas.
Lawn Shrimp Vs. Seafood Shrimp
|Features||Lawn Shrimp||Seafood Shrimp|
|Habitat||Mulch, moist ground, leaf litter||Saltwater, brackish water|
|Diet||Decaying organic matter||Algae, plankton, small invertebrates|
|Impact on Gardens||Recycling nutrients, can invade homes||Not typically found in gardens|
Pros of Lawn Shrimp:
- Help decompose organic matter
- Recycle nutrients back into the topsoil
- Maintain a healthy garden environment
Cons of Lawn Shrimp:
- Can invade homes when seeking dry areas
- Overwatering gardens may attract them
Controlling Lawn Shrimp
Pest Control Methods
Lawn shrimp, also known as yard shrimp, are small, pink pests commonly found in damp areas of lawns in regions like Florida and Australia.
While they are considered harmless to humans and don’t bite, they can be a nuisance in yards and gardens, especially when their populations grow out of control.
To get rid of these bugs, several pest control methods can be applied. These include:
- Pesticides and insecticides: Use chemical treatments to target lawn shrimp directly. It’s important to choose a product that is specifically designed for these pests, as some general pesticides may not be effective.
- Natural predators: Introducing natural predators, such as fish and frogs, to your backyard ponds can help keep lawn shrimp populations in check.
Preventing lawn shrimp infestations often involves addressing moisture-related issues in your yard. Lawn shrimp thrive in wet topsoil areas, waterlogged lawns, and damp ground cover.
These methods can help in controlling lawn shrimp infestations:
- Reducing irrigation: Limit your yard’s watering frequency to make it less appealing to lawn shrimp.
- Proper yard management: Maintain your yard by regularly removing weeds, mushrooms, and other damp-loving organisms.
- Aerating your soil: Aerating your lawn helps improve water drainage, which can be helpful in controlling lawn shrimp populations.
- Ground cover: Opt for ground cover plants that require less water and prefer drier conditions.
Different Pest Control Methods to Control Lawn Shrimps
|Pesticides||Effective at killing lawn shrimp directly||Chemicals can harm other beneficial bugs|
|Insecticides||Can target specific insect pests||Potentially harmful to the environment|
|Natural predators||Chemical-free and eco-friendly||May not completely eradicate the problem|
Lawn shrimps are not harmful to humans and do not bite or cause pain. However, they can be an unpleasant sight when their populations grow too large.
By using effective pest control methods and preventing infestations through proper yard management, you can keep these pink bugs under control.
Lawn Shrimp Life Cycle
Lawn shrimps reproduce rapidly, which can sometimes lead to infestations and become a nuisance for homeowners. The life cycle of lawn shrimps include the following stages:
- Hatch from eggs
- Go through several growth stages
- Become adults capable of reproduction
Uses of Lawn Shrimps in Aquatic Environments
Lawn shrimps are not harmful to humans or pets, and they can offer some benefits to the aquatic environment. These include:
- Lawn shrimps serve as a food source for fish
- They provide natural fertilizer for plant growth
However, some drawbacks are that they can become a nuisance in large numbers and are not suitable for consumption like their marine counterparts, such as prawns and other types of shrimp.
Comparison of Lawn Shrimp and Marine Shrimp
|Lawn Shrimp||Marine Shrimp|
|Habitat||Moist ground or mulch||Lakes, oceans, and other water bodies|
|Consumption||Not suitable for consumption||Can be eaten raw, cooked, and frozen|
|Benefits in aquatic ecosystem||Food source, natural fertilizer||Food source for larger aquatic animals|
Lawn shrimps may evoke curiosity due to their frequent appearances in gardens and lawns, particularly after rain or irrigation.
Despite their sizeable presence, these crustaceans pose no harm to humans or pets. Serving as detritivores, they contribute to the ecosystem by breaking down decaying organic matter, benefiting your lawns.
Their occasional intrusion into homes can be managed easily without resorting to pesticides.
By recognizing their role and employing appropriate measures, humans can coexist with these harmless creatures.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – BUG OF THE MONTH MAY 2009: Lawn Shrimp
Bug cult found dead on kitchen floor.
Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 3:54 AM
I went into my kitchen earlier today and saw brown spots on my floor, I lean in to see what it was. Hundreds of dead bugs lay on my kitchen floor all dead like some kind of bug cult that just drank the cool aid.
I have no idea what kind of bugs these are, they kind of look like little roaches, maybe bed bugs, I dunno.
It was just after a pretty big storm, also I have a punching bag that I brought in before the storm and am hoping they didnt some how come from that…
We have decided that your highly entertaining and descriptive letter and photo of Lawn Shrimp will be our featured Bug of the Month for May. Lawn Shrimp are terrestrial amphipods, an order of Crustaceans. They live in ivy, shrubbery and fallen leaves and go virtually unnoticed until it rains, at which time they enter homes and die in great numbers.
They are also called House Hoppers and are in the family Talitridae. According to Charles Hogue in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, the species found in Los Angeles, and quite possibly Houston, is Talistroides sylvaticus. They are gray while alive and turn pink or orange after dying.
Letter 2 – Introduced Lawn Shrimp hit North Carolina
Subject: Lawn Shrimp
Location: Castle Hayne, NC
August 3, 2016 7:01 am
I found these little creatures in our pet’s water bowl yesterday and googled what they might be, your site gave me the answer and now I’m letting you know they are also just outside of Wilmington, NC!
Signature: Becky H.
Thanks so much for reporting this North Carolina sighting. Lawn Shrimp are an introduced species from Australia that are well established in California, and BugGuide indicates they are also found in Florida, though the data on the site indicates Georgia reports.
This North Carolina sighting cannot be considered a normal range expansion as this is an introduced species, but there is no telling how far North they will be able to survive in North America. We have already reported Lawn Shrimp in South Carolina.
Letter 3 – Lawn Shrimp
Little shrimp-like bugs
Sometimes I find a bunch of these little guys dead on the floor of our downstairs bathroom during ant season, the little corpses sometimes attract ants. What is it?
This is a Lawn Shrimp or House Hopper, Talitroides sylvaticus, a terrestrial crustacean. They become most evident just after rain when they are found dead inside homes. They are not a problem, just a nuisance.
Letter 4 – Lawn Shrimp
Curious bug found in kitchen
Location: Camarillo, Ca
January 13, 2011 2:50 am
I live in Southern California, Ventura county, and found a bunch of these bugs on my kitchen floor. They all seemed to perish soon after I discovered them.
Anyway I took a picture, and was hoping you could identify these bugs. To give an idea of scale, pictured next to the bug are the tines ofn a fork.
Signature: Mystified in Camarillo
This is a Lawn Shrimp or House Hopper, a terrestrial amphipod that can become quite numerous in gardens. Though it needs a damp environment to survive, it shuns saturated soil, so heavy rains cause Lawn Shrimp to seek drier locations like garages and homes where they promptly dry out and die.
The Lawn Shrimp is not a native crustacean, but an introduction to Southern California that was accidentally imported from Australia. Like many Australian natives, Lawn Shrimp find the climate in Southern California to their liking and they proliferate.
Thank you so much for solving this mystery and maintaining your website. I will definitely contribute!
Letter 5 – Lawn Shrimp
jesus help me idenitfy this
Location: Orlando, Florida, Downtown.
May 29, 2011 12:31 pm
what is this? I live in orlando fl. this is the second wave of insects I find in my sun room. they’re always dead, and they appear overnight all over my floor.
I’ll make a donation if you can identify this.
Signature: guillermo navarro
Our earthly staff is at your assistance without any divine intervention. You have Lawn Shrimp or House Hoppers, Arcitalitrus sylvaticus. These terrestrial Amphipods are native to Australia, but they have been accidentally introduced to Southern California, and apparently Florida as well. Lawn Shrimp are found in moist soil and organic substrate and they breed in well-watered landscaping.
They cannot tolerate flooded soil though, and when it rains, they often seek shelter indoors where they promptly dessicate in the drier conditions, causing them to die indoors in large numbers. Reducing the amount of water you provide for you landscaping may help to reduce the population of Land Shrimp.