What Are Lawn Shrimp And How Do You Get Rid Of Them?

If you’re a homeowner, then you know that keeping your lawn looking nice and tidy can be a lot of work. If you’ve been seeing small shrimp-like creatures in your lawn, don’t fret! You’re not the only one.

These critters are called lawn shrimp and they’re harmless to people and pets. However, some people find them unsightly and want to know how to get rid of them. But what are they? And more importantly, how do you get rid of lawn shrimp? Keep reading to find out.

What Is A Lawn Shrimp?

The Lawn Shrimp, also called a Landhopper as well as Arcitalitrus sylvaticus, is a species of insect that can live in and infest your lawn and garden. They are originally native to countries in Oceania such as Australia, New Zealand, and other islands in the Pacific, but have since become naturalized in both Europe, including the British Isles, and the United States, particularly California and Florida.

Land Shrimp can be between a quarter of an inch and an inch long, and they look similar in shape and structure to small shrimp you would find in the ocean. They are in fact a different family but the same species as sea shrimp and other amphipods.

They are light brown in color, although they turn pink after they die, looking like little cooked shrimps. Their bodies are segmented into 7 sections, and they have usually 6 or 7 pairs of legs, as well as two antennae protruding from their head.

The name Landhopper, as well as the nicknames “House Hopper” and “Big Red Flea”, comes from the fact that they can jump; sometimes these insects get mistaken for fleas due to this fact.

How Can They Infest Your Lawn?

One usually finds lawn shrimp in their lawn, hence the name, but they can also be found in your garage or even inside your house. They thrive best in moist environments, but there is a very narrow band of moisture that they can tolerate.

If their environment becomes too dry, they will die out, and if it becomes too waterlogged or overly wet, they will also seek to move to a more suitable living environment. This could be the reason they move into a garage or house, if the yard around it is either too dry or too wet.

If you have lawn shrimp living in your yard, they are most likely doing so in the top inch of the soil, called the topsoil. They love mulch, and prefer places in the dirt that have some sort of protection and cover, such as under rocks or a pile of debris, or even in a mulched section of your garden.

These insects are not dangerous or destructive to any part of your lawn or garden, and nor do you or your children or pets have to worry about them. In fact, they can sometimes be a benefit to your lawn, as they eat decaying organic material and thus introduce fertilizer and enrich the soil.

However, they can be unsightly and just a nuisance if there are too many or if they’ve infiltrated any of the spaces you occupy on a daily basis. Lawn shrimp are most likely to be seen when they leave their damp, secure habitats and move into garages, houses, and streets or patios.

So, how do you go about getting rid of them?

How Do You Kill Lawn Shrimp?

The first thing you have to do with lawn shrimp and other amphipods is located the source of the infestation.

As mentioned above, lawn shrimp are most able to thrive in moist soil, including in mulched areas, as well as under rocks and logs and other debris.

Natural Methods

Lawn shrimp can die off fairly quickly if their environment becomes too dry, so oftentimes chemical methods of killing them are unnecessary and more expensive. The most effective way to get rid of lawn shrimp are to dry out their moist environments.

You can do this by raking the top surfaces of any mulch in your garden, as well as any moist topsoil or any soil underneath debris such as logs, rocks, or garden furniture or toys. Do not over-mulch or overwater your gardens or flower beds, and if there is excess shaded areas in your lawn be sure to eliminate the obstructions and fill them with natural sunlight.

If you have a pool make sure to clean the filters regularly, and particularly after any periods of rain or inclement weather, as the lawn shrimp can get into and clog up filters in your pool.

Chemical Methods

Because lawn shrimp are so naturally reliant on a perfect living environment, any changes to that environment are incredibly likely to kill them off or have them leave your lawn for good. If they are in your garage or house, they will not survive long and can be easily vacuumed up when they have died.

Because of the relative ease of killing lawn shrimp naturally, it is not recommended to use chemicals on them. Not only is it bad for your lawn and outdoors environment in general, it is more expensive and can do more harm than good. Even local pest control companies will tell you to simply dry out their environment if you want them gone, or to leave them be where they are and let them aid you in fertilizing your lawn.

How To Keep Lawn Shrimp From Your Lawn

The best way to avoid having lawn shrimp in your yard in the first place is to not make it too moist, and to avoid having moist, mulched areas that are not often disturbed or agitated.

If you do have areas like these, such as a stone walking path or pile of debris or logs stacked somewhere in your yard, be sure to move them and rake or otherwise agitate the ground beneath them. Do this maybe once a year. This will keep any infestations from growing, and will dry out the soil in those areas so any infestations that are there will scatter.

Do not overwater your lawn. In fact, in California, lawn shrimp are seen as a sign of overwatering, as they are likely to leave their underground homes and be seen on top of the lawn to avoid drowning.


Lawn Shrimp are tiny amphipods that can infest your lawn. They typically feed on decaying vegetation and other organic matter, and can reproduce quickly. If you don’t want any lawn shrimp in your yard, luckily there are very simple methods to get rid of them naturally.

They don’t like dry environments, and can’t survive in overly wet ones either, so simply denying them a moist and sheltered home is the best way to keep them from taking root and infesting your lawn. Good luck!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.