How do you kill fleas on humans?
Are human fleas real?
You punched one of these pressing questions, or one similar to them, into Google or Bing and the Gods of Search brought you to our lovely abode. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit our site. We hope that you find the information you are looking for and can rest a little easier once you leave.
Let me first allay your primary fear (before scaring the $&8^ out of you) and inform you that the odds of fleas living on your person or you being infested with fleas in a literal sense such as you picture a dog or cat being infested is very low. Fleas are not like lice. The primary reason for this is that we as human beings are not very good hosts and fleas would much rather chase after better prizes like the safe and cozy confines of dog and cat fur.
Obviously, we as humans, can and often do, get bitten by fleas. But this is not because they are living on us physically…unless you are a French woman with a flair for the au naturale.
Putting aside adolescent jokes clearly submitted in poor taste, let’s move on. Oui? Oui! Oui!
As I was saying, fleas and other parasites need a host to feed off and survive on. The body structure and attributes of a flea is geared toward thriving and surviving amongst the strands of hair on your favorite pet. And this fur is a great dumping ground for the hundreds of flea eggs that will be laid by a mother.
If you have ever inspected a flea or studied them with any great vigor or passion you would come to learn that fleas are pretty amazing evolutionary specimens of yucky goodness. They have bodies that have been essentially squished from the sides allowing them to navigate the “forest of fur” on your pet. Moreover, their body is covered with hairs and spines that face backwards and thus protect them from being launched off the body of a dog or cat. They almost act like nature’s seatbelt when those rides can get a little bumpy.
You think bull riding is tough, try hanging on to a mangy mutt that is desperately scratching his side to get those fleas off!
Most of our readers have some familiarity with these little, nasty insects and know from experience that they are difficult to squish and kill and usually when you think you have killed the damn thing it jumps away never to be seen again. This is because fleas have very powerful legs allowing them to jump great lengths (relative to their actual size) and their bodies are very hard and resistant to pressure. And it goes without saying that their mouth structures rival the efficiency and power of drilling rigs when it comes to searching for your blood to satiate their incredible appetites.
So, the good news when it comes to fleas on humans is that it is usually just a temporary rendez vous until the little bastards can run off and find “greener grass”.
Now that we have established the fact that it is very rare for a human being to be infested to such a degree that fleas live on them, we know that human beings are often bit by fleas. So, what causes flea bites on human beings?
Generally speaking, fleas do not go out of their way to find human beings. It is more a “crime of opportunity” if you will. Since the overwhelming majority of flea infestations occur by way of your pet bringing them into the home it is your close proximity to Fido that draws you into the line of fire. Fleas can reproduce quickly and with the explosive population growth on your animals there is naturally a crowding out that will eventually happen causing some fleas to leave your pet and search for better feeding grounds in your home.
No Pet, No Problem. Right?
Your home can become infested with fleas even if you do not own a cat or dog, or any other animal for that matter. There is a great question and answer exchange about this very subject on the Columbia University website.
Fleas can hitch a ride inside on articles of clothing, and can also be carried on the backs of animals, such as bats, raccoons, opossums, rats, and/or squirrels. If a flea-infested animal nests in a nook or cranny of a building, the fleas can spread to different rooms and apartments. It’s also possible that the fleas were already in your apartment when you got there. For example, flea eggs can lie dormant in a carpet for months until a potential meal walks by and disturbs them — telltale vibrations can cause flea eggs to hatch in seconds.
Needless to say, a flea infestation can feel exasperating and impossible to conquer. But, don’t despair.
If you are not discouraged already, please read on because this is the part where I get to scare the crap out of you. It is very important that fleas be taken seriously and that you take quick, decisive and immediate action to rid your home and your pets of these pests.
When it comes to fleas there is no time to bury your head into the sand, procrastinate or think you can merely wish them away.
Female fleas can lay over 500 eggs every couple of months and eggs hatch in one to 12 days. In a short period of time you will experience almost exponential growth in the population around the infected area or animal. Further, it is fairly safe to assume that by the time you first notice their presence (unless you are a hypervigilant person) they have probably been breeding and feeding for 4-8 weeks.
Please keep reading. It only gets more enjoyable.
After the eggs hatch and out comes little white larva-like microscopic creepy crawlers that feed on dried feces from the adult fleas feeding on the cat or dog. In normal conditions where there is ample feces and foodstuffs for the larva, they will start to cocoon after a week or two. At this point, they pupate and emerge from their cocoon as bloodsucking fleas. Please note that fleas can remain in the pupal stage for five weeks or more when there is no host available.
World War Z and the Attack of Zombie Fleas
The new Brad Pitt movie “World War Z” depicts a scenario whereby human beings are infected with some sort of disease and become marauding zombies. The zombies at times rest in a nearly catatonic state and can be awakened or agitated by sounds and noise.
Fleas in the pupal stage will often emerge from their cocoons when they feel vibrations from pets or humans. Sometimes, individuals returning from a vacation or visiting a vacation home may experience this phenomenon. Depending on conditions present, the entire lifecycle of a flea can span a scant five days to more than two-years
Speaking of cataclysmic outbreaks and plagues, fleas can carry the plague, typhus and tularemia. Cat and dog fleas can also be hosts for tapeworms that grow inside your canine.