Although relatively small, flea bites can cause severe irritation and often appear as tiny reds spots on the skin.
As with many bites it can be difficult to identify the bite if it has been caused by fleas just by looking at your bites.
Flea bites generally appear on the lower legs and arms although in children may appear on all parts of the body due to them playing on the floor. Even in adults other parts of the body may be affected.
Look for tiny dark spots surrounded by a reddened area. These will normally cause itchiness or irritation.
You may notice your pet is constantly scratching or chewing at it’s fur which in some cases will even lead to bleeding. This will be causing your pet much distress.
Adult fleas are generally 1.5mm to 3mm long. Their bodies are streamlined which enables them to move rapidly through hair. They have large hind limbs which enable them to jump.
Fact: Fleas can jump up to 150 times the length of their bodies. That is the equivalent of a person jumping around 300m.
The eggs are laid in the fur of the host, the larvae hatch after about 1 week and drop off living in dark humid conditions such as animal bedding and carpets and feed on organic debris. A single cat or dog can support a flea population of many hundreds of adults.
The larvae form pupae after 3 weeks and these pupae can survive without hatching for many many months in this condition.
The adults are caused to emerge when stimulated by the vibrations of a passing host animal ( or person ) this accounts for the occasional mass attacks which take place when people enter a long term empty property.
Although the plague was caused by the flea of the black rat, fleas are not now thought to be responsible for transmission of disease in the U.K. Although they can carry parasitic worms such as the dog tape worm.
The previously mentioned flea bites will generally irritate for a couple of days and in a minority of cases may cause serious reactions or secondary infections. A limited number of people may develop hypersensitivity making further bites troublesome.