Can fleas fly?
Fleas do not fly and are wingless as adults. Their preferred method of movement is for the adults to jump onto a host when that animal passes close by. Flea larvae are mobile and will move slowly from one location to another by crawling. The main reasons flea larvae move are to locate food and a protective, shaded, moist location that is favorable to the flea larvae’s survival.
Do fleas carry disease?
Yes, fleas can transmit diseases when taking a blood meal from a host or via contaminated fecal pellets. Some flea-borne diseases include:
- Plague – transmitted by the Oriental rat flea
- Flea-borne typhus, also known as murine typhus – transmitted by the bacteria-infested feces of infected cat fleas when they enter the body at the time of the flea’s bite or from scratching the area of the bite.
- Bartonellosis –Oriental rat flea and cat flea bites may transmit cat scratch disease.
- Flea tapeworm – can be transmitted if children accidently eat an infected flea or contact infected feces.
- Tungiasis – a tropical area ailment that is caused by the chigoe flea (Tunga penetrans) when it burrows into the skin and takes a blood meal. As the adult female feeds, she grows larger due to the development of her eggs. The bite of the chigoe flea often results in secondary infections and itching.
Flea bites result in red spots surrounded by reddened haloes. They are extremely itchy and cause great discomfort. Fleas often target the legs and feet of human victims and may infest the entire bodies of domestic house pets. Many wildlife species carry fleas as well. If these animals are associated around ones home, fleas may migrate to pets and humans. Be aware that other causes may result in human skin irritation, including other pests, allergic reactions to medications or even ingrown hairs.
In some pets flea saliva can cause allergic reactions such as FAD, and increased scratching can result in hair loss and secondary infections. In more severe cases, affected pet skin thickens and sores appear.