What Do Fleas Look Like & How To Get Rid of Them, No Bite Is Right

What do fleas look like?

Fleas are a few millimeters long and wingless, but they have back legs that are modified for jumping. These nasty little parasites can jump up to 30 cm high, which allows them to jump from the ground and onto pets with ease.

Fleas are small (about 3 mm long), brown or reddish brown insects that have flat bodies and feed by sucking blood from animals and humans, causing itchy bites. Although fleas are tiny, they can make your dog or cat’s life miserable. Once on your pet, fleas can bite up to every 5 minutes leaving your cat or dog itchy, sore and uncomfortable. Flea bites look like small red spots that often appear in lines.

In Canada, flea populations usually peak in the summer and fall seasons, but warm temperatures and high moisture can generate an ideal environment for fleas year-round. Fleas lay eggs which roll off the pet and into the home.

How to tell if your dog has fleas?

Seeing a flea on your well-cared dog or cat can be a horrifying experience. Here are some signs you might look for to determine if your pet has fleas:

  • Little dark spots that move in the fur
  • Small black particles (flea droppings) or white specks (flea eggs) on the pet or bedding
  • Pet or family members are experiencing an itch from flea bites
  • Reddened patches and irritation on your pet’s skin
  • Excessive licking or scratching
  • Hair loss

If you are not sure you have a flea problem, use a flea comb on your pet’s back, tail and haunches. The flea comb may catch fleas or flea dirt (feces). To distinguish flea dirt from other dirt, wet it with a little water. Flea dirt will dissolve into a red-brown colour.

Flea cat infection

Keep in mind that you might not actually see fleas on your pet. Cats are good at grooming away fleas and the fleas may move too quickly for you to be able to see them when you look through your pet’s fur.

How do I know if I have fleas in my home?

You only need to bring one flea inside your home to start an infestation. One female flea can produce enough eggs to create a real problem. Fleas live on wildlife like squirrels, rabbits and racoons, as well as cats and dogs. When your pet is outdoors, fleas from the eggs left behind by other animals can jump on your pet. Your pet doesn’t even need to come near another animal to be infected. Once on your pet, they feed on his blood and start laying eggs. A single female flea can create a serious infestation in just a couple of months. As your pet runs and plays around the house, they drop flea eggs onto floors and furniture, creating an infestation. Wherever your pet goes, flea eggs go too.

Advantage ® II is safe for puppies and kittens, as well as cats and dogs. Advantage® II is approved for puppies 7 weeks of age and older and cats 8 weeks of age and older. Please speak to your veterinarian for solutions for animals less than 7 or 8 weeks old, respectively.

Flea lifecycle

There are four stages in the lifecycle of a flea. Understanding the four stages of the flea life cycle can help you treat a flea infestation and prevent new infestations in the future.

  • Eggs. Adult fleas lay eggs on pets and they fall into the home environment as pets move around the home. Flea eggs are very small and white. A single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in just one day. Eggs are light and fall off the pet, being easily distributed throughout the home.
  • Larvae. After 2-10 days, the eggs become larvae that feed on feces from adult fleas as well as dead flea larvae. Larvae move away from light and move deep into carpets, upholstery, cracks in hardwood floors, and even under baseboards. This stage lasts about 5-11 days.
  • Pupae. The larvae create a pupa or cocoon. Inside the pupa, the larvae mature into an adult. The flea is protected from most premise treatments as they are located beyond the reach of most sprays and seem to resist most cleaning efforts including steam cleaning. The flea takes 1-3 weeks to mature in the pupa and remains in the pupa until a food source (pet) is detected nearby. The flea can wait for up to 6 months and only hatches when triggered by heat and vibrations indicate a host is near.
  • Adults. Young adults emerge from cocoons when conditions are favourable and begin feeding within seconds of finding a host. Once fleas start feeding, they continue to feed regularly and are dependent on their host. Fleas removed from the cat or dog, without access to blood, will usually die within 4 days. As fleas need a constant food supply, movement of fleas between animals occurs much less commonly than infection from the environment.

Flea life cycle

The entire flea life cycle takes approximately 21 days, but it varies depending on temperature and moisture conditions of the environment (warm and moist are optimal for flea development).

To most effectively eliminate a flea infestation, you have to disrupt their life cycle. Advantage ® II kills all life stages; adult fleas, eggs, and larvae. This prevents eggs immature fleas from developing into new adults. Fight the misery of biting fleas. Many other products are systemic, they are carried in the pet’s bloodstream and only work when fleas bite and consume blood. Advantage ® II spreads on your pet’s fur, killing fleas through contact, so fleas don’t have to bite your pet to die.

How can fleas affect your pet’s health?

The health of pets is always under threat from a variety of parasites and the diseases they may transmit. Effectively controlling parasites is critical to keeping pets healthy.

Parasite bites are not just painful and uncomfortable for dogs and cats; they can also transmit a number of diseases to both animals and humans. Continuous scratching can lead to pet’s skin becoming sore and can also result in hair loss.

Fleas can cause serious diseases in pets, such as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is an allergy to flea saliva that creates a rash. If an animal is allergic, the itch can lead to further damage and can require a visit to a veterinarian for treatment to help the pet recover.

Heavy flea infestations can lead to anaemia in cats and dogs, because fleas have consumed a significant amount of the pet’s blood. Puppies and kittens are especially at risk of a dangerous drop in the number of red blood cells in their body. Common signs of anemia include pale gums and lack of energy.

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Fleas can also transmit tapeworms. Pets can become infected with tapeworm if they accidentally ingest a flea while they are grooming. In fact, cats ingest up to 50% of fleas. Pets suffering from worms may experience loss of appetite and scooting, but in many cases there will be no visible signs of infection. Although tapeworm are not generally zoonotic (unless you accidentally swallow a flea), other worms are – meaning they can be passed on to humans. This is why you should always wash your hands after handling a pet.

Fleas carry some bacteria than can cause disease in human beings, such as Bartonella henselae. This bacterium is present in flea dirt and responsible for cat scratch disease (CSD) which can be transmitted from cats to humans if a cat with fleas bites a human or through petting the cat. Although this disease is not fatal to humans, patients can experience considerable muscle pain, lack of appetite and chills. Dogs can also be infected with different Bartonella species from fleas, lice and ticks, showing symptoms that include lameness, vomiting, liver and heart disease.

How to get rid of fleas on your pet?

Treating your pet with Advantage ® II monthly, according to the product label, will effectively kill fleas and treat a flea infestation. While treatment of the environment is not needed when Advantage ® II is used, you can put pet beds in the dryer to kill developing fleas. Vacuuming can encourage developing fleas to hatch. Once they touch a treated pet, Advantage ® II will take care of the rest. Pay attention to low traffic areas that pets may not frequent.

The less parasites bite, the better. Flea and tick pills or chews work by getting into your dog’s bloodstream, but that means for a flea to actually die it must bite your pet. Advantage ® II is different; it is evenly distributed over your pet’s skin, working topically to kill fleas through contact, no biting required. It is a fast, effective and easy to apply spot-on (topical) treatment. It is recommended that Advantage ® II is used once a month to treat and prevent flea infestations.

Advantage ® II breaks the flea life cycle and controls fleas within 24 hours. It is also waterproof. Treated pets can swim 48 hours after application and can also be bathed once per month with a non-medicated pet shampoo.


Ticks/fleas in my house? (Tiny black, jumping bugs)?

For a little while now, me and everyone in my family has been noticing very little black bugs that jump everywhere in our house (usually on things like bedsheets and clothing, but places like the bathroom and kitchen as well). It’s so gross and I can’t stand it. They’re just popping up everywhere and they’re difficult to kill. What are they? Our house is clean. Do we have a flea problem? I don’t have any pets. How do I get rid of these annoying bugs?

9 Answers

if they are easily smashed with a finger they will be spring tails, not fleas. Come from moisture issues, maybe inside the home maybe next to the foundation outside. address the moisture, they will be gone.

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Are Fleas Black

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This Site Might Help You.

Ticks/fleas in my house? (Tiny black, jumping bugs)?

For a little while now, me and everyone in my family has been noticing very little black bugs that jump everywhere in our house (usually on things like bedsheets and clothing, but places like the bathroom and kitchen as well). It’s so gross and I can’t stand it. They’re just popping up.

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Pull all animals out of the house.

Get flea bombs set them off.

Get out of the house for a couple of hours.

Come back and if you see more bomb it a week later just to make sure.

And wash all animals at least twice to get rid of all fleas.

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Definetly sounds like fleas. I had them bad one year. I got one of those flea bombs and bombed the house. I had to bomb it at least twice. It was a nightmare. If they are fleas I would think someone in your house would be itching?

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Most likely fleas. I suggest you get your house fumagated and your cats done. Maybe get your cats checked out first, if they’re on the cats, the vet should know what it is. If they aren’t on the cats, get someone else to look closely at your house, just to check if it is just your imagination playing tricks on you. If they really are there, I would advise you call someone in to deal with them. Hope I helped 🙂

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same thing in our house but we have cats when we noticed we had a problem out the door the cats went on the porch with their cat box’s

i have had these little black bugs jump on me on the way to the store

wtf, ooooh someone told me they were sand fleas ?

i read on some site when you grab one fill a small glass with rubbing alcohol and place them under tilt the glass and release so it can’t jump

it will die and at least it’s in the glass dead not jumping around mating and laying eggs.vacuum alot we spray vinegar and let dry and vacuum next day.

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at least you are concern about the issue my sister in law lives in florida she has cockroaches and jumping bugs and flees she do sent have the money to bomb the house and she has five kids living in a small house bomb your house at least three times to make sure they are killed.


Treating Chicken Fleas, Lice and Mites Naturally

PUBLISHED: April 25, 2017 BY: Danielle McCoy DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. You can read our full disclosure here. This blog uses cookies click here for more information.

No one wants to think about creepy crawlies crawling all over their chickens, but it certainly isn’t something you want to ignore, either. As we dive into chicken keeping, I often look to experienced, knowledgeable friends for what to do in any given situation.

Knowledge is power, and gleaning that knowledge from someone else is a great idea! Dana over at Piwakawaka Valley is one of those knowledgeable friends and today, she’s going to share with us how to naturally treat chicken fleas, lice, and mites! I love natural solutions! Let’s hand it over to Dana and get started!!

Treating Chicken Fleas, Lice and Mites Naturally

Hi there, I am Dana from Piwakawaka Valley , I am a homesteading, homeschooling mama of 3, living in the south of New Zealand. Thank you Danielle for having me here today! I am here to share my knowledge on naturally treating and preventing fleas, lice and mites in chickens.

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Chickens are naturally a resilient, generally disease free bird. But they do fall victim to several different types of parasites at times. In small numbers these seldom cause any issue, but given the right conditions, their populations will explode exponentially.

A heavy infestation on these blood sucking bugs cause stress, resulting in a decline in condition. Fleas, lice and mites are different bugs but similar natural treatments work with all of them as they all have similar aversions and weaknesses.

What are Fleas?

Chicken fleas are small and brown and visible to the naked eye. They live on the bird, and can survive off of animals in long grass for short periods. They hop from host to host. The adult fleas that you see only represents 5% of your flea population. The other 95% exists in egg and larvae form.

What are Mites?

Mites are a distant cousin of spiders, they even have eight legs and a quite tiny.

Red mites: They live in nooks, cracks and crannies in the chicken coop, particularly the perches and nesting boxes. They come out at night and feed on the chicken’s blood. These mites are very difficult to get rid of once they’ve become established.

Northern Fowl Mite: Small and blackish brown. All stages live on the chicken and are generally found in the vent region.

Scaly leg mite: These live in between the scales on the chickens legs. Causing them to look rough and thick, then the chicken may go lame.

What are Lice?

There are up to 50 species of lice found on chickens They are all soft-bodied, pale-colored, flattened-bodied insects. They do not suck blood, but they eat skin flakes and chew feathers. If there’s a large population of lice living on your hen, they will cause irritation and can be so annoying that the bird will fail to thrive.

The colonies of eggs at the base of the feathers can be highly irritating to the chicken, and when they are in large numbers, even preening won’t remove them. Lice can be found on the breast, back, vent, and under the wings of birds

Symptoms of Fleas, Lice and Mites

Generally the symptoms of these blood sucking parasites arise from a combination of itch, irritation, discomfort and blood loss. Heavily affected chickens will display decreased egg production, irritability, malaise, restlessness, anaemia and, on occasion, death

It’s best to catch an infestation early, so monitor regularly for parasites, both on the animals and in their living quarters. Once you have identified which ectoparasite you may be dealing with, there are several control options. To inspect your chickens, look amongst the feathers against the skin, particularly around the breast, tail and vent areas.

Scaly leg mite are found on the legs (surprise!). They lift the legs scales making the whole leg look rough and scaly. A chicken might have a limp and be favouring one leg.

Treatment of fleas, lice and mites in chickens:

Traditional pesticides are available at farm stores, but be sure to read and follow the label instructions before applying anything to your chickens! Many of us prefer a more natural treatment approach for ailments on our blocks so I have provided several natural treatment options. With natural treatments the management of these pests is best achieved using an integrated approach, using several of the options together.

When treating your coop and flock for fleas it is often necessary to repeat the process again 10 to 14 days apart. Used long term these treatments can help prevent a re-infestation.

Suped-up Dust Bath

Chickens LOVE their dust baths! Why not set up a suped-up dust bath for them to help treat parasites while they are at it? You will need one dust bath for every 10- 15 or so chickens, and put it somewhere it won’t get rained on so they can use it all year long.

You Need:
A box, tire, rubber maid tub, old jam pan or plastic paddling pool.
2 parts dry dirt/dust
1 part wood or paper ash (not coal or from burning rubbish)
1 part sand
1/2 part diatomaceous earth
Gloves and mask
Optional – dried and powdered Sage, Lavender or Rosemary

I use a small bucket as my ‘part’ measure. You may want to wear a dust mask and gloves for this next bit as it does throw a bit up into the air. Put all ingredients into your container and stir together well. That is it really, simply leave somewhere out of the rain/snow and let the chooks have at it.


Garlic is a potent natural cure-all for many many things, including parasites! To feed chickens garlic is so easy! Simply put a couple of crushed cloves in their drinking water or some garlic powder in their dry feed to keep fleas, mites, lice, ticks and internal worms at bay.

Garlic Spray

You Need:
3 Whole bulbs of garlic
2C Water
Optional – 1 teaspoon (total) any combination of these essential oils – bay, cinnamon, clove, coriander, lavender, spearmint and/or thyme

In a food processor, whiz up the garlic until finely chopped. Add the water and pour into a large jar or bowl to seep for a day or two. Strain out the garlic by lining a sieve with a coffee filter, paper towel or double layer or butter muslin/cheese cloth. Dilute with a further 4 cups of water and add essential oils. Then pour into a pressure sprayer to spray the hen house with or a misting bottle to spray the individual hens with.

Spray your hens and hen house weekly as a preventative or every other day for three weeks in the case of an infestation. Concentrate around the vent and under the wings on the birds and cracks and perches in the house.

To treat leg mites spray the legs daily with garlic spray, using an old tooth brush to gently get it up under the scales. Smother the legs in either petroleum jelly or a similar natural alternative like a home made bee balm (we have a recipe here http://www.piwakawakavalley.com/recipe/homemade-balm/ ), Sierra Sage Green Goo or Waxelene.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth works because the particles in it are incredibly sharp, these sharp edges cut the bodies of parasites causing them to dehydrate.
Using food grade diatomaceous earth in a sport sock with the top tied shut is a great way of powdering it on to your birds without throwing it everywhere. Simply dab the sock on the bird’s underside while parting the feathers.
You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the floor of the coop and in the nesting boxes as well.

Essential Oils

You can make a spray up to use 2-3 times per week anywhere that animals are living or sleeping inside or out to help keep fleas, lice and mites away.

You need:
1/4 tsp. of Eucalyptus or Wintergreen Essential Oil
1/4tsp total of any combination of the following: bay, cinnamon, clove, coriander, lavender, spearmint and/or thyme
1 1/2 cup of water

Simply mix and spray around sleeping quarters.

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Me too. Join our facebook group, where we learn about growing a garden, cooking a meal, and living life like our grandparents did. You’ll be glad you did. Join The Self Sufficient Life group here.


«flea like bugs that jump but are not fleas»

I have these flea-like bugs in the thousands that thrive on my outside window sills (which are rotten and soon to be replaced) but these nasty little guys have found their way into my house! And every night I have to do a mad spree of «containing» them (trust me, I don’t even pick flowers because I don’t believe in hurting living things! But these guys are smushed habitually! if they don’t jump away first!). They are found all over my blinds, on all window ledges and even on my baseboards next to the floor. They seem to like crevices. They are about the size of a flea, rather flat, and long, and jump like a flea but do not have an exoskeleton. They are grey with small antenna. They range in size from tiny almost microscopic to about the size of an adult flea maybe a tiny bit larger (the largest ones that is). Their size is rather inconsistent. They stay rather motionless until you knock where they are standing and then they all scatter and/or jump. There are thousands on the outside of my windows and i usually kill at least a hundred per night. They seem to come out more at night. They really gross me out and I even found a few on my pillow lately, as my bed backs up to a window…gross. My two exterminators over the last three years have no idea what they are. I live in Alabama. Do you have any idea what these could be? Any leads would be greatly appreciated. I found you through google by searching «flea like bugs that jump but are not fleas». Can’t believe I got any hits from that! My biggest fear is that I replace my windows (which has to be done anyhow, they’re 65 years old) and they will still be here, cause they’re on my baseboards too! Yuck! Thanks you so much for your time and knowledge.

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Hi Anna,
I’m guessing Springtails, primitive insects from the Order Collembola. They can get extremely plentiful and like damp conditions. We have a page devoted to them. Go to the left side of the www.whatsthatbug.com homepage and click Springtails in the alphabatized list. Sorry, we don’t have extermination advice, but at least now you know what they are.

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110 Responses to «flea like bugs that jump but are not fleas»

I cannot believe no one replied! I am also in search of this answer! Wish I could post a pic but I don’t have a pro camera that zooms in THAT close.

You should look at the photos in our Springtails category. This is a very old posting and there was no photo. See: https://www.whatsthatbug.com/category/springtails/

I have them too, and they are driving my dogs crazy. I first started noticing them last year, and I had some bug spray with the pump and hose, and I sprayed it slowly walking from side to side in my living room and I never saw them again. This year they are worse!! No matter where I go in my house I end up with these bugs jumping all over me. My dogs are literally bloody from biting and scratching. I took a wet paper towel and wiped my min pins back and I had at least 20 or more of these bugs on me just from that. I guess I need to get more of that bug spray I had and see if it works as good as it did last year. I ran out of the spray and I don’t have a car right now or these babies would be gone by now…hopefully!

I guess this will notify you too.
I took a picture of one beside a penny, because those macro portraits they don’t look much like what my eyes see. They are really tiny, – pepper speck for sure.

I’ve dealt with the same thing when my daughter and I lived in our apartment which was first born she’s four years old now and we live in a house exterminator that came to the apartment had no idea what they were but they’re not springtails because springtails don’t bite these little things bite and they bite hard now we just moved into our home and the owner just came back from the Philippines and now I’m seeing the same little things all over again what the hell are they

I have no dog so i knew these were not fleas but they’re really annoying sometimes i feel something crawling on me and i look down and it is a tiny little bug and i smush it sometimes it lives and hops off itz reaoly annoying

That’s me exactly Jen! I’m losing my frickin mind! I dread going to sleep cause I’m always moving cause I feel like somethings on me but can’t see nothing when I look! But today I did see a little fruit fly looking thing floating in my lemonade then I finally saw one on my arm! When I went to smack it, it moved so quick to another spot, kinda like a quick jump, was tiny, grey, and had little wings! WTF is it & what do I do.

I’m losing my frickin mind all so. In my bed at night, around the house. Most are barely visible, but jump on me and move quickly, imposable to squish. They are dark. The description of springtail doesn’t seem to fit. What do I do?

what the hell are they doing in your bed there are outside insects

They look like hopping specks of pepper! And some of them are clear looking. I gotta do something! I’ve had my one dog for 9 years, never one flea on him and now the poor thing is miserable! I wonder if borax would work? or salt. They work on fleas…

I have these annoying things.. mainly because my carpet got a drink knocked over and went all mildew crazy. It seams they favor damp places but i find them jumping all over my computer monitors at times. They almost look like the jump and fly very short distances then jump again.. so it’s pretty similar to your description. Did you ever get a clear answer?

I have the same bugs out on my porch my exterminator said spring tails but what ever he sprayed didn’t faze them I’ve sprayed with everytg there still out there .now their in my mail box there’s no wood any where near my mail box .ive looked at all the pictures no way is it any thing I’ve seen there’s no way you could take a picture bc so tiny maybe under a microscope.i live in Tennessee.also I don’t dig up soil around my home all my flowers are in pots someone told me they live in soil and eat mulch ,well that don’t fly either I have rock around my foundation.if anyone finds a name for these flea like bug please email me .thanks peg

I could be wrong, but I don’t think that’s what the bugs I’m seeing are. They don’t look anything like the pictures. They seriously look like jumping pepper flakes. And the older ones that are bigger, actually look very close to fleas.

NOOOO. BORAX is LETHAL to dogs. Be careful!


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