Welcome to our website about flea bites (Pulicosis) where we hope to give you all the information you will ever need about fleas.
We have information on how to find if you or your pets have been bitten by fleas and how to treat the bite, how to get rid of the fleas from inside and outside of your home and how to prevent them in the future.
A flea is a tiny irritating bloodsucking wingless bug about 2.5mm long that is know for infesting and biting our pets, sucking the hosts blood they need to live on, in fact the only food source for them is the fresh blood supply they get from their host.
Their bites are not only irritating but can be painful and difficult to get rid of.
Their flat hard shelled body makes it hard to kill them by squashing them unless you can squish them between two hard surfaces such as your fingernails.
They are shiny and reddish brown in colour and mainly prey on hairy animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice and other domesticated or wild animals but biting a human isn’t that uncommon.
They are covered with microscopic hair to allow them to easily move through animal fur and can quickly reproduce to become an infestation in no time at all.
If you do have a pet at home the chances are you will be bitten at some point along the way.
There are many different kinds of fleas but the one thing they all have in common is feeding on humans and animals which means that diseases and parasites are easily transmitted from one host to another.
These pests use their powerful legs to jump vertically as high as 8″ which amazingly is 150 times their own height, if humans were able to do this we would be able to leap over skyscrapers.
The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common species of fleas and is known for biting humans.
Next is the bird flea (Ceratophllus gallinae) followed by the dog flea (C. canis) which is rarer and finally the human flea (Pulex irritans) which are extremely rare.
There are other species of fleas that can temporarily attach themselves to your pets.
Once you have a flea problem the only way to get rid of them is by using pesticides.
Flea bites on humans
First I must point out that you don’t see actual fleas on humans as much as you would see them on your pets and generally speaking they don’t go out of the way to find humans.
They much prefer the to live in the cosy confines of a hairy animal and only bite humans in desperation.
The mother adult flea also likes to lay its eggs in the safety of animal fur.
If a human has been bitten its usually from dog or cat fleas.
These bites are very distinctive and can be seen as clusters, straight lines or large groups that looks like bubbles or red bumps on the affected area especially on people who are very sensitive, they also have a small puncture mark in the middle that looks like a little dot.
Flea bites from cats or dogs are seen as areas of red dots usually below the knee and usually on the ankles since they live in the carpets or floorboards but can also be found around the forearms if you have been stroking or holding your pet.
You can be bitten anywhere on your body especially if your furniture is infected.
Human fleas are know to come in groups of maybe two or three but can also be much more.
It is possible to get a severe allergic reaction from a single flea bite but this happens to just a small number of people.
Again it happens very rarely but its also possible to get a nasty disease from the viruses and bacteria that is transmitted from the flea.
Can you feel a flea bite
When a flea bites it makes a tiny hole in your skin to suck out your blood at the same time it injects a natural anaesthetic that actually numbs the area so you usually don’t feel anything when they bite however some people have reported they feel a tiny prick
Flea bites on your pets
There’s no getting away from it, if you own a pet whether its a dog, cat or even a rabbit along the way it likely that they are going to get fleas.
The flea species has a preference on which host it likes to feed on but they can easily spread and live on other hosts be it humans or other animals.
You may not even notice that your dog or cat are getting bitten by the fleas but if the fleas are left untreated and allowed to spread before you know it they could end up invading your home.
Pets can be more sensitive than humans to some of the substances in the fleas saliva and could develop allergic reactions even after a single bite.
How and why do fleas bite
Over the years fleas have evolved and can now store fifteen times more blood than their own body weight.
The short spikes that fleas have on there legs allow them to hold on firmly to their host and once the have penetrated into the skin of animals or humans were the inject their saliva.
There are more than fifteen different substances in the saliva which can cause a severe allergic reaction.
Dogs are especially at risk of developing a flea allergy after a bite.
All fleas are parasites that live off the blood they suck from their host.
Once the female reaches adulthood it wants to reproduce and it needs blood to do this so they need to feed two or three times a day.
Once the female has mated it doesn’t need to mate again for the rest of its life to be able to reproduce again.
The reality is fleas bite because they need blood to live they don’t bite just to annoy the host.
Are fleas dangerous to humans or pets
Getting bit by a flea is not only annoying but can be a potential threat to certain humans and animals, that said, flea bites are not as dangerous as bites from other insects.
If you do get bitten by a flea there’s no reason to go and see a doctor as soon the itching starts but you still have to be aware of any allergic reactions or rashes that you might get.
Fleas are know to carry many different types of viral and bacteria diseases and have been known to transmit tapeworms.
Disease free fleas in large groups are still capable of driving both humans and animals mad and there not the easiest things to get rid of.
Hopefully reading the articles on this website will help you get rid of them once and for all.
What do flea bites look like
A bite looks like a small red dot, if its not causing and allergic reaction and you may not even realise you’ve been bitten but if the bite starts to itch and the person or pet starts scratching it it can create a hole which could get infected.
If on the other hand you do get an allergic reaction you will find large areas of redness, small pimples and suffer from severe itching that could require treatment
How quickly can an infestation take place
A single female flea can lay up to 2000 eggs in their lifetime of which is about 100days and they will hatch between 1 and 12 days.
As you can see in a short period of time you will see a massive growth of the flea population on an animal or area.
Before you even notice there presence they could have been breeding and feeding for 4-8 weeks.
Flea life cycle
There are four stages in the life cycle of the flea.
Eggs: Female adult fleas can produce between 40 and 50 eggs per day, the eggs are white, tiny and very slippery so they usually fall out of tour pets fur.
Larvae: Larvae hatch from eggs in one to six days depending on the temperature and humidity, they are small, thin and white measuring 1 to 2 millimetres in length.
Pupa: A mature larva transforms into a pupa inside a silk cocoon and the adult flea will emerge in three to five weeks but can also stay in this state for up to a year.
Adult: Floor vibrations from a pet or person can trigger the adult to emerge from the cocoon where they jump onto the host and begin feeding immediately.
Where do fleas live
An adult flea will spend most of their life on an animal but their eggs, larvae and pupae are more than often found in the pets environment, usually in bedding, carpets and under furniture along its edges.
For every flea you might see on your pet there’s probably hundreds of eggs and larvae around your home and in the garden.
Threats from fleas
Although flea bites can cause painful and itchy red bumps they are also the most common transmitter of the very rare bubonic plague.
They can also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus from infected rats to humans.
Its also know that the saliva could cause pets the serious flea allergy dermatitis and its been reported to show similar allergic reactions in humans.
Tapeworms are also transferred from the flea to your pet which can cause anemia.
Flea bite treatment
If you’re unlucky to be bitten by a flea you don’t really need to do anything, but unfortunately if you start itching them and to be honest it is hard to resist itching they will only get worse which can get very uncomfortable let alone frustrating, this can be especially bad if you suffer from a flea allergy.
Help is at hand because there are excellent treatments and medicines on the market today to take care of the problem.
Treatment can be done at home and we have instructions of how to do this below but remember different people react differently so if you try one and it doesn’t work try another one until you find one that is best suited to you.
How to get rid of flea bites
- I know this can be difficult but you need to stop scratching your bites. Bites can get infected with all sorts of bacteria and if that gets into your bloodstream it can cause even more problems to your body.
- I know what your thinking, how do you stop itching the bite, the first thing you should try is using creams or lotions which are readily available.
- Using one of these products should reduce the swelling stops the itching and cleans the area around the bite that reduces the chance of getting unwanted infections.
- If you find that using creams or lotions doesn’t work for you then you may need an antihistamine which can be in tablet or liquid form. Check with you’re doctor before taking.
- One last thing you can try to soothe the itching is ice or cold water, this can also reduce the swelling and could prevent inflammation.
How to get rid of fleas
If you think you have a flea infestation you will need to treat your pets and home with flea killing treatments before it gets out of hand and spreads throughout out your house.
There are plenty of good flea sprays and flea bombs that you can readily buy and you should choose one that not only kills the adult fleas but will also deal with the larval and pupae stage.
Before waging war on the fleas you should make sure those bites are actually from fleas, mosquito bites looks very similar and even rashes and ailments can often look flea bites.
One way of checking is to look for fleas jumping about, if your home is infected you should see them but if you don’t then hold of from buying products that might not be needed.
Watch the video below to see how bad flea bites can be.