A “Siphonaptera,” commonly known as a flea, is an insect that sucks the blood of various animals. Fleas are oval-shaped insects and are a common mode of disease transmission. Fleas are the main reasons behind plagues as flea bites can cause various diseases.
Fleas can transfer from one flea-infected animal to another, and in most cases, they can transfer from animal to human. This article talks about fleas in the most detailed manner focusing mainly on the question, “What do fleas look like?” so that action can be taken before another bubonic plague starts.
1. All About Fleas
- The 14th-century plague that was held responsible for the death of about 20,000,000 people in Europe was caused by rodents and transmitted from rodents to humans by fleas.
- The fleas carried “Yersinia Pestis,“.
- Many people got infected with typhus during the outbreak due to flea bites.
- A flea has four distinct stages in its life cycle: an egg, a larval stage, a pupa stage, and then the adult stage.
- Flea eggs are extremely small. They are almost invisible to the human eye.
- They are reddish brown, and they can be found in crevices of homes and other animal habitats that have a poor level of hygiene and sanitation.
- Poor hygiene levels in areas can lead to excessive flea larvae.
2. How Are Fleas Born?
- Flea eggs are laid by adult female fleas soon after a full meal, they can lay up to 15 to 20 eggs at a time.
- If the adult flea happens to live on animals’ fur, then flea eggs are laid there.
- If the flea eggs hatch on some animals, then the chances of transmission increase with the animal’s movement.
- If the flea eggs receive adequate humidity, then the fleas hatch in one week.
- In the larva stage, these fleas feed on flea dirt, which is the dropping of adult fleas or flea feces.
- The fleas then move from the larval stage to the pupa stage.
- After some days, adult fleas release themselves from their cocoons.
- As soon as the adult fleas are released, they begin having their blood meal and laying eggs. The adult fleas are very tiny and black.
3. What Do Fleas Look Like?
To identify fleas, we need to know what fleas look like. Below are certain points that tell us what fleas look like. So that you can stop the flea infestation before it begins.
- Fleas can seem tiny to the naked human eye. Most of them are so small that they seem almost invisible to human eyes.
- Flea eggs are oval, whereas flea larvae might look like grubs and flea pupae look like flea dirt.
- Fleas can be noticed, especially if they happen to be crawling on your pet’s fur.
- Adult fleas look like small spots that are oval-shaped and also dark or light brown.
- The color of a flea’s body can range from black to reddish brown.
- Fleas are capable of jumping from one place to another. They cover long distances, which is how they move from one host to another. This transmission is the lead cause of flea infestation.
- Under a microscope or a magnifying glass, the appearance of fleas can be studied in a very detailed manner.
- All parts of a flea’s body, including its head, abdomen, and up to six legs. Fleas also look hairy under a microscope and are almost 2 mm long.
- Cat fleas and dog fleas are very common forms of fleas. Cat fleas are also known to affect human beings as well. Cat fleas stick to a cat’s fur or cat skin.
4. Pets And Fleas
Animal fur is a perfect habitat for pests like fleas to grow and thrive. If an animal has a lot of furs and is not cared for, then it is more likely to have fleas on its body, especially at the base of a cat’s tail. Fleas affect pets greatly, so we need to know what fleas look like on pets to get rid of them.
- One must look for flea dirt and eggs on their pet’s fur, especially cats and dogs. If flea dirt is on one’s pet’s fur, it might mean that the pet has a flea problem.
- There are many warning signs of a flea problem that pets exhibit that show that there might be a flea infestation. The signs might include constant scratching.
- Too many fleas in an animal may result in an allergic reaction, excessive blood, hair loss, and even anemia.
- Although a flea comb eliminates cat fleas, medical help must be sought for flea treatment if it goes out of hand as it can cause various infections to the pet.
- Fleas can also jump from pets to humans, which may lead to severe itching due to flea bites.
- Fleas crawl onto human bedding just as well as they crawl on animal fur.
5. Flea Bites
- A flea infestation may result in flea bites that look like raised red dots or dark brown dots clustered together.
- Fleas can even bite humans.
- Flea bites cause severe itching.
- Fleas can crawl from one’s pet’s bedding to human bedding.
- Fleabites may also cause a rash or extreme swelling; in severe cases, it can lead to shortness of breath.
- It is, therefore, important to know what fleas look like to eliminate them.
6. How To Treat Flea Bites?
- Most flea bites heal on their own without any specific medical treatment.
- Anti-itch creams and antihistamines can treat flea bites.
- Flea bites may not be extremely harmful, but they may be uncomfortable.
- In such cases washing the infected area with soapy water and a paper towel and avoiding scratching it is prescribed.
7. How To Get Rid Of Fleas?
To get rid of fleas and flea dirt to make their home flea free, one must:
- Keep in mind to vacuum all furniture and other surfaces of the house to keep the house clean.
- Flea powders or baking soda can help dehydrate flea larvae from furniture and bedding.
- Carpets and rugs should be steamed twice weekly to remove flea dirt.
- Sheets from pet beddings must be washed quite frequently in hot water to kill fleas if they are present.
- Flea prevention shampoo or soapy water must be used to keep pets free from fleas and hygienic and to get rid of fleas.
- Flea prevention pills, flea combs, collars, and lotions can also combat flea infestation.
- The pet should be groomed well to check signs of fleas, and owners should know what fleas look like to get rid of them beforehand.
- Pest control services can also be used to eliminate actual fleas.
- Flea-infested things should be discarded instantly.
- From this article, we got to know how do fleas look like.
- This article also told us that a flea happens to be an insect that sucks the blood of various animals.
- Fleas can transfer from one flea-infected animal to another, and in most cases, they can transfer from animal to human.
- It also talked about how the 14th-century plague that was held responsible for the death of about 20,000,000 people in Europe was caused by rodents.
- The fleas carried “Yersinia Pestis,” a bacteria responsible for the plague transmission from rodents like rats and moles to humans. Many people got infected with typhus during the outbreak due to flea bites.
- This article told us that a flea is too small to be seen by the naked human eye; we also learned that they are a few millimetres big and are either brown or black.
- This article also talked about flea bites that may look like raised red dots or dark brown dots clustered together. Fleas can even bite humans. Flea bites cause severe itching.
- This article also talked about how one can get rid of fleas, like using pest control services to eliminate actual fleas, using flea powders or baking soda to dehydrate flea larvae from furniture and beddings, and checking on pets, and keeping them groomed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What is the scariest fact about fleas?
- The scariest flea fact is that in only 9 months a female flea can be the matriarch to up to a trillion blood-thirsty decedents.
- Besides their role as ectoparasites, the major medical importance of fleas is their role as vectors of various pathogens to humans and animals. While more than 550 arboviruses are found in arthropods, so far surprisingly, no arbovirus has been detected that uses fleas as a biological vector.
- Fleas do not live on humans. They generally bite down at the feet, ankles, and legs by jumping from an infested pet or other animals, but it is most likely to be from an infested pet bed.
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