Types of Fleas

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

There are thousands of different species of fleas throughout the world, here are the most common ones that are in America. These creatures attack both pets and humans and inhabit their furs, our hair, and homes.

Cat Fleas – These are the most common type of flea, at least here in America. Cat fleas live on cats, dogs, and numerous other animals, they are the common fleas found on our pets and inside our homes. They love laying eggs and infesting the carpets, curtains, furniture and entire households as well as the pets.

Chicken Fleas – As their name implies, these fleas love infesting and living on chickens. They live and breed in the chickens coups, and attached themselves with their heads buried into the skins of the chickens. They can be seen around the faces and heads of the chickens when examines closely, as they appear as blackheads, or small black nodules. When you enter a coup to gather eggs, or clean it, or even to simply visit your chickens, you can become a temporary host for these biting pests.

Rat Fleas – Northern Rat Fleas – These nasty little critters are always feeding off the blood of rats and mice. If you have a pet mouse, and have often spotted it scratching it’s self, or seen fleas on it, these are very likely the culprits. They favor the blood of rats and mice, but like most other fleas, if brought around humans they will also feed of the blood of people.

Oriental Rat Fleas – As their name implies these fleas were brought to Europe and America onboard ships from the orient. These are the nasty fleas that were responsible for the great black death (plague) incident that killed millions, it is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. These fleas are now common in America in coastal towns, and cities, and even along rivers. They often infest not only rats, but raccoons, opossums and other animals that live near these same areas. If you go fishing, and find a flea crawling on your arm, or some other place, it will probably be an oriental rat flea.

Human Fleas – Most folks will tell you people do not become infested with or get fleas! This is not true at all, in fact there is a species of flea called the: Human Flea. It looks very similar to any other flea, except under a microscope. This type of flea likes to infest the hair of humans, it easily finds a host by hiding on the backs of seats of buses and other vehicles, and hitching rides in the hair of new passengers. These fleas love to infest hairy areas of people such as the heads, under the arms and other areas. They live quite well on people, and gorge themselves off the blood. Human Fleas are not that common anymore, thanks to better hygiene and cleaning methods, but they are still out there.

Sand Fleas – These are the little villains that often bite your ankles when at the beaches. When you lie down on the sand, they will bite any body part that is close to the ground. They are one flea that looks different then most others, in fact their appearance is more like that of a very tiny shrimp-like creature. Sand fleas feed on organic and dying plants, especially seaweed that washes up on a beach. If you are near the beach, these fleas may be found any place there is sand, but if there are little piles of washed ashore seaweed, or other vegetation, this is a hotspot to pick up some sand flea bites.


Flea Bites on Humans

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Fleas are little parasitic critters that survive on their hosts’ blood. Fleas can use a large number of birds and mammals as hosts. Flea bites on humans (Pulicosis) itch, can swell up, and are definitely not pretty. The majority of folks, as well as animals, have an allergic reaction to flea bites. This is because they are allergic to the saliva of fleas. On top of that, fleas can transmit several serious diseases and other parasites. If you are worried you might have fleas inside your home, you might want to get familiar with how to identify flea bites, as well as how to treat them.

Flea Bite Symptoms

Fleas are very small animals and, for that reason, flea bites don’t usually cause much pain. However, flea bites tend to itch. This itching can lead to the bitten person scratching the area. This scratching can, in turn, cause sores, scabs, and even infections. Those people who have an allergic reaction to flea bites may develop a rash one to three days after being bitten.

What do Flea Bites look like?

Flea bites look like little mosquito bites. They have a lightly raised red area which may be somewhat swollen. In addition, they will have a small puncture mark in the middle that looks like a little dot. Common places to find flea bites are inside knees and elbows, armpits, neck, waist, and ankles. The bites will usually be in a group (cluster) in the same area. In serious cases in which someone has been bitten an extremely large amount by fleas, the host may contract anemia.

On their own, flea bites aren’t usually dangerous. It is important to know, though, that fleas can carry and transmit parasites and diseases. These parasites and diseases can have much more serious repercussions than the flea bites on their own. There are tens of bacterial and viral diseases (and also parasites) that can be carried by fleas. In fact, it is thought that fleas were the original cause of the Bubonic Plague, transferring it from rodents to humans. Because of this, if you have flea bites and start to have a reaction beyond a moderate rash, it is important that you go seek that advice of a doctor.

Flea Bite Treatment

By far the most crucial thing to do if you have flea bites is to get rid of the fleas! There are treatments for flea bites which will alleviate your symptoms, but fleas don’t go away unless they are forced to leave! These methods are great for treating the bites that you may have:

  1. Make sure not to scratch flea bites. Scratching or itching a bite will only make it itchier and can cause wounds or scabs which in turn can cause an infection.
  2. Take a pill against allergies (antihistamine). This pill will stop your allergy to flea’s saliva. If you have an allergy, this will help to stop any swelling, hives, rashes, as well as any itch around the bites.
  3. Soak a washcloth in soapy water. Use the washcloth to scrub the bites and the areas around them. Doing this will remove any dirt or bacteria that is around the wound, reducing the chance of infection.
  4. If you have any calamine lotion or hydrocortisone handy (if not you can find some in a pharmacy), put it on the bites. This will drastically reduce itchiness.
  5. Use ice on the flea bites if they are swelling up.
  6. If before or after these treatments you see that you are developing symptoms beyond mild rashes and itching, you may need to see a doctor.