Can Fleas Live on Humans? Can I Get Fleas From My Pet?

Can Fleas Live on Humans?

It’s not common, but they can feed on us

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

If you’ve ever had flea bites, then you’ve probably wondered whether fleas can live on people. The good news is that, with very few exceptions, fleas don’t live on people’s bodies. The bad news is that fleas can and will inhabit human dwellings, even in the absence of pets.

Kinds of Fleas and Preferred Hosts

There are many kinds of fleas, and each species has a preferred host:

Human fleas (Pulex irritans) prefer to feed on humans or pigs, but these parasites are uncommon in homes in developed countries and are more often associated with wildlife. Farms sometimes become infested with human fleas, particularly in pigpens.

Rat fleas (Xenopsylla cheopis and Nosopsyllus fasciatus) are parasites of Norway rats and roof rats. They generally don’t infest human dwellings unless rats are present. Rat fleas are medically important ectoparasites, however, because they transmit disease-causing organisms to humans. The Oriental rat flea is the main carrier of the organism that causes plague.  

Hen fleas (Echidnophaga gallinacea) are parasites of poultry. These fleas, also known as sticktight fleas, attach to their hosts. When chickens are infested, fleas can accumulate visibly around their eyes, comb, and wattle. Although hen fleas prefer to feed on birds, they will feed on people who live in proximity to or care for infested poultry.

Chigoe fleas (Tunga penetrans and Tunga trimamillata) are an exception to the rule. These fleas not only live on people, but they also burrow into human skin.   Worse still, they burrow into human feet, where they cause itching, swelling, skin ulcers, and loss of toenails, and they can impede walking. Chigoe fleas inhabit the tropics and subtropics and are mainly a concern in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are almost always the fleas that invade our homes and feed on our pets. Despite their name, cat fleas are just as likely to feed on Fido as they are on Miss Kitty. Though they don’t usually live on nonfurry hosts such as humans, they can and do bite people.

Less often, dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) infest homes. Dog fleas aren’t picky parasites, either, and will gladly draw blood from your cat.

Cat and Dog Fleas Prefer Furry Hosts

Cat and dog fleas are built for hiding in fur. Their laterally flattened bodies help them navigate between pieces of fur or hair. Backward-facing spines on their bodies help them cling to Fido’s fur when he’s on the move. Our relatively hairless bodies don’t make great hiding places for fleas, and it’s much harder for them to hang onto our bare skin.

Still, people living with pets often find themselves faced with a flea infestation. As they multiply, these bloodthirsty fleas are competing for your pet and may bite you instead. Flea bites typically occur on the ankles and lower legs. And flea bites itch, especially if you’re allergic to them.

Can You Get Fleas Without Pets?

Although fleas rarely take up residence on human skin, they can and will live happily in a human home with no pets present. If fleas find their way into your house and don’t find a dog, cat, or bunny on which to feed, they will consider you the next best thing.

Dog Fleas on Humans

Dog fleas may affect your pet at any point during his life. As a dog owner you may ask yourself if you can catch the fleas from your pet. The answer is simple; dog fleas cannot be transmitted to humans. Fleas are specific for each species and dog fleas live on dog blood and cannot adapt to live on human blood. Consequently, dog fleas cannot bite humans. However, canine fleas can live on human clothes and bedding for a few hours until they find a new host. On the other hand, dogs may be carriers of human fleas, but only if they get in contact with an infected person.

Fleas and Flea Types

Presently, there are more than 2, 000 species of fleas. Fleas appeared over 50 million years ago; there is proof of fleas in ancient amber pieces that contain fleas. The very first species of fleas known to humans are the snow fleas.

In the beginning, fleas did not feed on blood; they lived on tree sap and plants. As the fleas developed as species, they came to feed on animal and bird blood. Later, fleas started to feed on human blood as well.

Fleas are dangerous as they spread and reproduce very quickly. In some smaller animals, fleas can cause anemia.

Dog Fleas and Humans

Fleas are specific for each species; so the fleas that affect cats cannot spread to dogs and vice versa. The fleas that infect dogs are known as Ctenocephalides canis.

The dog fleas will cause extreme itchiness and may be treated with different anti flea products. The dog should also get some preventive flea treatment.

Fleas that affect humans are of 1 type and this type differs from the fleas that infect canines. So, if you get a flea infection, this is surely not from your pet. However, your pet may carry human fleas in his fur, provided he has been in contact with a person infected with human fleas.

The humans may also be carriers of dog fleas, as the fleas can lodge in human clothes and furniture and may infect other canines. Consequently, a pet owner may infect your pet with fleas, even if his pet is not present.

Human Fleas

The species of fleas that live on human blood are called Pulex irritans. The appearance of this type of fleas is similar to the fleas that affect dogs or cats; however, the fleas that feed on human blood have a lower number of mouth bristles.

The Pulex irritans is small and has a dark brown color.

Human fleas will be visible and they tend to bite more in the head and abdominal areas, as they are attracted by the heat from these areas.

The flea bites on humans will be arranged in a row; the flea bites may be red and swollen, and the skin will be itchy.

Is It Possible That You Can Transfer Fleas From One Home To Another?

I went to a friends house and got eaten alive by fleas. I left around 5 minutes of entering and this morning found a flea munching on my ankle. Is it possible that fleas from her house, got brought into mine by me?

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About The Author

Pet Library Editor

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Yeah its possible, They can cling on to your clothes and travel on you. The horrible little hitchhikers

Yes it is very possible. And it can be horrible if you have pets at your home.
Fleas are pretty smart. They will hitch a ride on a person for hours and then drop down when they know the spot is right. And what is that spot, the one with the mos blood, including pets.
Your friend needs to clean up her house and get some flea treatment. If they bite her/him to many times it can cause an illness.
also if you have pets like a cat or dog get them each a flea collar from your vet or flea treatment,prevention for the time being. So they don’t get them.
Good luck.

yes it is. it happened in my house and i needed an exterminator. they reproduce like crazy. i also took in the
my neighbors neglected dog and was hit yet again.
that time it was the vet and an exterminator.
not sure if i trust those flea bombs, so i had it done

Absolutely. If you have pets, you need to have them washed with flea shampoo. You should also treat your home, as fleas can be difficult to get rid of at times.
Unless, of course, you like waking up with those little red welts.

absolutely, fleas are parasites and need blood to live on. If you had one attached to you , then it may have came to your house laid some eggs and now you have fleas ….kind of like Lice….

Top contributor ? guess the evidence is not enough.wait till they learn to’ll wish your ankel was the only thing they can reach.

most likely, yes.
Best get to the pet shop while it’s still open and get a proprietary …

They go where you go.
And now they live where you live.

Obviously. If they are on you, they go wherever you go.

Yes. Don’t go to her house until she’s exterminated them.

They can hitch a ride on your clothes. I had fleas in my apartment that had new carpet…

Flea Bites

What Do Flea Bites Look Like on Humans?

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 in the 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.

Flea saliva

In some pets flea saliva can cause allergic reactions such as Flea Allergy Dermatitis, and increased scratching can result in hair loss and secondary infections. In more severe cases, affected pet skin thickens and sores appear.

Flea Bites Treatment

You should be sure to consult a veterinarian before beginning any treatment of your pet’s flea bites.

  • bathing your pet with specially formulated shampoos can help
  • cold water alleviates inflammation
  • warm or hot water exacerbates itching

If these treatments fail, your veterinarian may request to see your pet to determine next steps. Steroid creams and antihistamines are available by prescription and may help to alleviate your pet’s symptoms.

Can Humans Get Fleas?

Humans can get fleas. Once fleas invade a house they can bite both pets and humans. If you are the victim of a flea bite here is what you can do:

  • wash the bite
  • use an antiseptic and apply an icepack
  • resist the urge to scratch
  • lotions maybe used to treat the itch
  • consult a pharmacist about antihistamines

Should your bite wounds excrete puss, contact your doctor immediately.

Treating flea bites merely addresses one symptom of an infestation. Extermination methods should be conducted in conjunction with bite treatment in order to ensure eradication.

Contact your local pest control expert to discuss options. More Information:

Can Fleas Live on Clothes? Keeping Fleas from Spreading

Can fleas live on clothes? The easy way to answer the question is no, but that’s a question that pops into many homeowners’ heads, especially when they have a pet with fur that’s become infested with these tiny parasites. Fleas are irritating pests, to be sure: Their itchy bites can cause serious health issues in animals, including dermatitis and anemia. These tiny bugs can even carry infectious diseases that affect humans, such as the plague.

No wonder finding a flea on your skin can make you shudder! You might wonder whether your clothes or your bedding might be infested, or perhaps simply whether you can spread fleas through clothes. Another common question is, can fleas live in your bed or your carpet? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you keep fleas from moving from one part of your property to another? Let’s find out more about these tiny creatures that can cause such big problems for animals and people alike.

Can Fleas Live On Carpet?

Adult fleas need to spend nearly all their time on an animal host, such as a dog or a cat, so they can have frequent, easy access to the blood they feed on. For that reason, while you might pick up a flea or two—or ten—on your feet or ankles from the floor, it’s unlikely that the insects were actually living there. It’s far more likely they were simply hitchhikers that happened to leap onto you, perhaps even by accident. It’s also likely that, even if they bite you, they won’t stay on your body for long. Human body hair simply isn’t dense or copious enough for us to make good long-term flea hosts (plus, most of us bathe too often!).

For this reason, adult fleas won’t spend much time living on your clothing. Carpets are also not very good long-term homes for adult fleas, due to the lack of regular access to food. Fleas in other life stages, however, can live away from an animal host for quite some time, which means they can survive for longer periods of time in carpeted areas. Flea eggs and larvae can survive for anywhere from days up to several weeks on your carpet. Flea larvae, in particular, do very well in the moderate temperatures found indoors, and they can often find plenty of organic matter to feed on in carpeted areas, making these areas optimal for fleas to flourish.

How Long Do Fleas Live In Your House?

The average life cycle of a flea is about 100 days, but fleas’ lifespans can be quite variable. If conditions are favorable, these insects can even live indoors for up to a year! Outdoor fleas die off when winter temperatures reach near-freezing levels (more specifically, in the mid- to low-thirties Fahrenheit). This is why inside your home is such a tempting and hospitable spot for a flea to take up residence. Fleas thrive in warmth, and most people keep their homes heated in winter and cooled in summer. Unfortunately for homeowners, this makes our living areas and other spots in our houses optimal conditions for fleas in all their life stages to thrive.


How Long Can Flea Eggs Lay Dormant?

To address the question of how long flea eggs can lay dormant, it’s important to explore the complete life cycle of a flea.

Most people are familiar with adult fleas—the little black insects, about the size of a speck of pepper, that can jump several inches into the air and whose bites cause red, itchy spots on the skin. Adult fleas, however, are actually the final stage of four stages of a flea’s life cycle.

The first stage of a flea’s life cycle is the egg. Adult female fleas lay eggs while they are attached to their host, and they can be quite prolific in their egg-laying efforts: One female flea might produce 500 or more eggs in her lifetime. Once laid, flea eggs typically drop off their host, coming to rest wherever they happen to fall. Often, that’s deep among the fibers of a carpeted floor, or in the folds of the sofa where Fido or Fluffy naps every afternoon. Flea eggs actually don’t lie dormant for long; they typically hatch into larvae in less than two weeks, and sometimes within just a couple of days.

The second stage is the larval stage. Flea larvae feed on organic matter like adult flea waste. They prefer darkness to light, which is why they can often be found burrowed into pets’ bedding or in carpeted areas underneath furniture.

Fleas in the pupae stage can lie dormant for quite some time—anywhere from a week or so up to a full year, if conditions are right—before emerging from the cocoon as an adult flea, ready to feed, mate and lay eggs.

What to Do If You Have Fleas In Your House

Have you ever heard the old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? Whoever came up with that saying might well have had fleas in mind. It is much easier to prevent a flea infestation than it is to treat one—especially on your own.

This is because, when you’re facing a flea infestation, it’s likely that the insects aren’t just infesting your pet’s fur. If your pet spends any time indoors, whether in a kennel or curled up in a favorite spot, such as a rug or corner of the couch, you’ve almost certainly got fleas indoors as well. You might occasionally encounter adult fleas in your home, but it’s even more likely that flea eggs have transferred from their animal host to your carpet or the recesses of your sofa. Similarly, you might not realize you have flea larvae living in the dark recesses of your furniture, carpet or pet’s bedding.

The same is true of your outdoor living space: If your flea-ridden pet spends time outside, it’s almost a given that you’ve got a flea problem outdoors as well. In fact, it’s likely that your pet picked up the fleas from the yard in the first place. Fleas love to infest wild animal hosts like squirrels, rats and raccoons, which then transfer the pests to household animals. Furthermore, fleas can thrive away from their warm, delicious animal hosts for surprisingly long periods of time, surviving for weeks or even months in areas of your yard that are warm, damp and preferably shaded.

This is why, when you do have a flea infestation, it’s so important to treat not just your pet, but also your home and your outdoor living areas at the same time. If you don’t treat all three at once, you might have a problem that keeps coming back again and again—because it was never really gone in the first place.

There are several steps you can take to address a flea problem at home. These include bathing pets on a regular basis, preferably at least once a week, and also laundering their bedding on the same schedule (in the hottest water available); keeping up with your pets’ anti-flea medications, administering them as directed by your veterinarian or the product instructions and regularly washing rugs or furniture covers where household animals nap or otherwise spend time (also in the hottest water possible).

When you are dealing with a flea infestation, it is also very helpful to keep your home clean, including vacuuming on a regular basis. Carpeted areas especially should be vacuumed often in order to prevent flea eggs from surviving and hatching into larvae. A periodic steam-cleaning of carpeted areas will be even more effective at eliminating flea eggs and larvae. Carpeted areas aren’t the only type of flooring where flea eggs can survive, however; they can also survive in the cracks between planks in hardwood flooring, so it’s important to clean all floors and baseboards regularly and thoroughly.

Finally, to keep flea problems both in the home and in outdoor areas at bay, anti-flea products like diatomaceous earth or various chemical treatments available at your local hardware store can be very helpful. It’s also important to keep shrubs trimmed and rake away dead leaves in order to limit the outdoor areas where fleas might make a home.

Fleas Are No Match For ABC

Although fleas won’t spend much time on your clothes, they can become a nuisance if they infest your home. When it comes to a full-on flea infestation, homeowners often find that their best efforts at DIY pest control are not effective. If this happens to you, it may be time to call in the professionals, since an anti-flea treatment that is administered by a qualified professional is the single most effective method of treating a flea infestation. Fortunately, the pest control specialists at ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. We will work with you to assess your particular problem and develop an individualized plan to eliminate fleas in all their life stages from your indoor and outdoor living areas. You can also rely on our regular maintenance visits, including lawn treatments, to keep your home, yard and beloved pets flea-free.

22 ways how fleas enter your house and yard even if you don’t have pets?

by Fleas Killer Master · September 8, 2014

How do Fleas Enter in my house?

We shall reply the frequent question like those:where fleas live?
where fleas hide?
how dogs get fleas?
fleas in house?
where do fleas come from if you don’t have pets?
where do fleas come from if you have no pets?
fleas come from outside?

Make sure the creepy critters are fleas and not some other type of biting invader, such as bed bugs, gnats, or small ants.

1. Fleas come from outside they are generally in the grass, from the woods and fields.
2. It could be from the dirty place next to your house: If a neighbor is very dirty that is another place they breed. Even if you applied control methods in your house.
3. A flea is usually brought into a home by a furred animal of some kind, and this can of course be domestic pets such as dogs and cats. Even if a domestic animal has not been in the house for a very long time, fleas can still survive. A flea can lay dormant in a house for many months with no animal activity and survive for a lengthy period. Flea eggs are roused from their slumber by vibrations, and then simply wake up when people enter the home and start moving around again.
4. Fleas are found in your home due to vermin or rodents, or other wild animals being in close proximity to the home such as squirrels, raccoon, and other small rodents will find ways to get into your yard, carrying fleas and ticks along with them.
5. How do fleas come to your yard? By Human Transportation or visits of wild animals, , it’s easy for a few to hitch a ride on your pants leg, socks, shoes, etc. These parasites are well-adapted at finding ways to attach to potential hosts in order to find their next blood meal, the more visitors you have to your yard, the greater the chance of an infestation arriving on the back of another animal.

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How do dogs and cats get fleas?Short walks around the block; play dates at the local dog park; a visit to the veterinarian; a stint at the boarding kennel; a trip to the groomer; a ride in the car; etc., and they will find the furriest spots in the deepest crevices of your pet’s skin. Look especially close in the neck fur, in the abdomen, and in the arm “pits.”

Where do the flea bites found?Flea bites usually are found on the feet and ankles. The bites commonly go unnoticed when they happen, but people can experience itching, a rash, and/or irritation after the fact.
If the symptoms are bothersome, flea bites can be treated with carbonated petroleum jelly, menthol, ice, or calamine lotion. Or Call Medical Services at x4-2284.

How Can You Stop fleas from Entering your Home?1. To keeping a neat and tidy house is the best way of stopping fleas from entering.
2. Check and clean second hand carpets or furniture. By simple vacuum cleaner
3. Check secret hiding places of fleas like humid and cool areas, so anywhere that doesn’t get much sun is a good place to start.
4. Yard or a less mowed garden is probably the best way of hiding flea and carrying pets,
5. Not well sealing obvious gaps or nooks and crannies with sealant foam or caulk is also a way of mice and rats which grab fleas.

Simply remember to thoroughly clean, scrub, and vacuum anywhere you fear they might be hiding, and use commercially available powders and such to kill them and destroy any offspring. Always throw anything machine washable into the washing machine if you fear they have been compromised, such as cushions, sheets, and throw rugs, and aggressively vacuum and clean all of the carpets and furnishings.

What NOT to Do When Dealing with Fleas – 5 Dos and Don’ts for Flea Treatment

Flea treatment products come as dusting powders, sprays, lotions, and shampoos. These usually contain chemicals such as permethrin, pyrethrin, etc. that not only kill adult fleas but also neutralize their eggs and larvae. Some products also contain ingredients that can kill both fleas and ticks. If your pet does not have ticks and you do not live in a tick infested area, you can use a product that is known to only work on fleas and vice a versa. Flea collars are also available and they help prevent your pet from getting fleas when it visits trails, parks or interacts with other pets. When using flea collars, make sure you cut off the excess portion so that your pet or other animals in the park does not rip the collar during play.

When treating your pets and their environment for fleas, it is important to get rid of the parasites completely, making sure to catch them at all stages of their life cycle. This means destroying their eggs and larvae as well, which can help prevent re-infestation.

Let us discuss some more dos and don’ts that can help you get rid of fleas efficiently and effectively.

5 things to do when dealing with fleas

  • Treat the pet as well as its surroundings like the house, car, garage, kennel as well as the yard. Work from inside-out. If some eggs or larvae are left over anywhere in the house or outside, the problem will simply occur again and require another full round of treatment. So make sure to vacuum the floor thoroughly and regularly underneath shelves, drapes, and furniture; as well as around the edges of beds and furniture. Discard the contents of the vacuum bag immediately since the vacuum cleaner would have picked up grown fleas, eggs and larvae.
  • Use only approved products. Mosquito and tick (or other insect repellent) products often have no effect on fleas whatsoever. Use products specifically meant for fleas. A flea treatment product must be able to kill all grown fleas and also neutralize eggs and their larvae as well.
  • Keep your pet hygienic and wash its bedding and toys regularly. If you are already fighting fleas, treat all items with a good flea treatment product after you are done washing and drying the pet’s toys, bedding and blankets etc.
  • If your pet already has fleas, treat your pet for intestinal worms as well. Get rid of both fleas and worms at the same time to keep your pet healthy.
  • When applying lotion and shampoo on your pet, aim at getting the product onthe skin, not just the fur. Since fleas feed on blood, they are more likely to be found clinging to the skin than moving about in the fur. Treat your pet regularly and frequently as directed by the vet or as per the instructions on the package.

5 things NOT to do when dealing with fleas

  • When using a vacuum cleaner to get rid of fleas (after treating the house with dusting powder or spray), do not place mothballs and flea collars in the vacuum cleaner. This could create noxious fumes in the house.
  • Do not use the same product for all your pets. Use products meant for cats on cats and products meant for dogs on dogs. Same principle applies to small pets like hamsters and rabbits.
  • Do not treat the pet first and the environment later. Always treat the environment first in order to get rid of existing eggs, larvae and grown fleas that might infest later on and then finally treat your pet to prevent it from bringing in new fleas in your home.
  • Do not let your pet lick or bite the areas the product is applied on. These products are not meant for ingestion and may cause health problems if licked.
  • Don’t wash off the product too soon. Follow the instructions on the product label or the directions given by the vet. Products take time to act and washing or rinsing off too soon will not get rid of the fleas.

Apart from chemical products, there are also some natural ways to get rid of fleas. For instance, you can use a flea comb to comb out the fleas. This is a quick and easy way to get rid of and prevent fleas. Your pet will probably also be happy to get a nice brush and hands-on attention. As with any disease or infection, prevention is the key to incur less harm and damage from a flea infestation. Keep your pet well groomed at all times and your home and outdoors clean and maintained. This will prevent stray random fleas from multiplying and causing a full-blown infestation and this is something you want to avoid at all cost.

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