Protect Yourself From These 4 Types of Fleas Protect Yourself From These 4 Types of Fleas

Thinking about pests isn’t necessarily fun, but as home and pet owners, it’s certainly something you will have to consider from time to time. Fleas fall under that umbrella and, perhaps surprisingly to some, there is a range when it comes to types of fleas. Typically, these unwanted visitors are associated with pets, but what about those that affect other animals or even plants? Find out all about fleas below so that you can understand the differences between flea types and what to look for if you encounter them.

Fleas Around the World

Around the world, there are an astounding 2,000 varieties of fleas. Unfortunately, these blood-sucking pests are inescapable, no matter where you travel to. Luckily, in the United States we experience only a fraction of the different types of fleas that are out there. These pests are hard to combat, since they lay eggs within 48 hours of a meal and are also known for hopping a distance of up to two feet. Below, we’re delving into the major flea species that the United States battles regularly.

1. Cat Fleas

A tabby cat scratching his head.

As the name insinuates, cat fleas are usually found on cats, but are also commonly found on dogs, other animals, and in some cases on humans. Other animals affected by these fleas are raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, horses, sheep, cows, goats, foxes, and coyotes. Cat fleas are known to lay eggs in carpets or in other places within homes.

These fleas are dangerous to animals and humans alike as they can transmit parasites to their host. This includes the double-pored dog tapeworm. Cat fleas have historically spread plague pathogens. Preventing these pests is important, especially for pet owners. Annually, Americans spend billions of dollars on flea control, treatments, and associated veterinary bills. Many pet owners opt to apply topical insecticides to pets as well as to the environment to keep fleas at bay. Regular grooming of pets is also an effective way to prevent the infestation of cat fleas.

2. Human Fleas

Another variety of fleas is those that make a home on humans. Just the thought of it is enough to make one’s skin crawl, but, unfortunately, it’s a species of fleas that exists in the United States. These fleas stick and hide in the areas of the body that are particularly hairy, such as in underarms or the scalp.

Luckily, keeping these fleas away is relatively easy, as long as one takes normal hygiene measures. These bites usually occur in large groups or clusters, making them easy to identify. The bites from human flesas are small, round, red dots that are accompanied by an intense itching. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to these bites, such as hives.

These bites are highly irritating, and scratching them means that it’s hard to get rid of them. Thankfully, a prescription medicine can easily clear up these bites or you can also use an antihistamine-based lotion. Use ice and cold water to soothe the itching and also to bring down the redness and inflammation of these bites.

3. Rat Fleas

A rat on a piece of plywood.

Another species of fleas present in the United Staates is rat fleas. These fleas feast on the blood of rodents and are known for spreading viral and bacterial infections. These fall into two categories: Oriental and Northern. Oriental rat fleas came from the Orient to America and now inhabit coastal areas and are also commonly found around rivers. Northern rat fleas are more attracted to cozier indoor areas, and are therefore more widely found in homes.

These fleas originate as white eggs, usually laid on the ground in the bedding of the animals they use as hosts. Once these fleas turn into adults, they can live up to one year and they thrive in warm environments.

4. Sand Fleas

A beach with sand and the ocean in the distance.

Another type of flea are sand fleas. These have a different look to them, as they can be compared to the aesthetic of a shrimp, only they are much smaller. These fleas differ from others as they feed primarily off of organic and withering plants. However, they also are known to attach themselves to pets in order to feast on blood, too, as that is their preferred diet.

These fleas are most commonly found around beaches or coastal regions, but they can also flourish in desert areas. Although these fleas are not likely to travel home with you after a visit to the beach (as they like their seaside habitat), there is a chance that female sand fleas can burrow under your skin and lay her eggs. These fleas bite humans and pets alike, leaving behind a small red welt that will be itchy and irritating, similar to other flea bites.

To avoid these pests, refrain from laying your beach towel directly on the sand. Also, wear closed-toed shoes as you walk the beach and always wear bug spray containing DEET when you visit the beach.

These fleas are certainly not pleasant to think about, but it’s important to know the warning signs and prevention tips and tricks. Keep your pet, home, and yourself flea-free to avoid an unwanted health issue and lots of itching.

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