The COVID-19 shutdown, businesses closing, and the mess our governor has made in the handling of all of this have made New Jersey slightly less pleasant than it usually is in the summertime.

But now, we welcome a new scourge to south jersey beaches: sea lice.

Did you know that this past July was New Jersey’s hottest on record? This makes New Jersey’s oceans warm enough to be a hospitable environment these sea lice, one of the world's most disgusting creatures. They look like teeny-tiny wiggly little butts of exploded jellyfish. Yuck. So far, they’ve only been seen in Ocean City, Stone Harbor and Avalon. But if the warm weather continues, they may be heading to a beach near you. It’s possible that on Labor Day weekend, you could even see them in the water on other Cape May and Atlantic County County beaches.

I learned more than I ever wanted to know about sea lice from an article on OnlyInYourState. I hesitate to even post the link here because it is complete with pictures of the disgusting welts that form after you are bitten by the sea lice. And according to the article, even though we call them sea “lice,” thats actually a misnomer. Sea lice are external parasites that feed off fish. What we are seeing are actually jellyfish larvae that came up to South Jersey, presumably from Florida, during tropical storm Isaias. And the bites, while not dangerous, can be pretty gross.

And here’s something even more disgusting: According to the piece, the “lice” get stuck in your swimwear, so you really have to be careful if you see around you in the water to remove your swimsuit and wash it out after swimming in order to avoid the unsightly rashes and bites.

You’ll know if you’ve been visited by sea lice if you see raised, red, itchy bumps or blisters that develop minutes or up to 12 hours after swimming.

As if New Jersey doesn’t have enough problems this summer.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.