What are Fleas?

By the Easy Protect Team!

Fleas that are irritating your dog, and have entered your home, are more than just a nuisance. Fleas are Aussie parasites that are small, wingless insects with flattened spines. Adult fleas vary from 0.1 to 0.32 cm.


Due to their blood-sucking nature and tiny size, they can seriously irritate your dog and infest your home in a matter of weeks and even cause allergic reactions if left without the proper parasite protection like Easy Protect flea tick and worming treatments.


What do fleas eat? 


Like vampires, fleas feed exclusively on blood - blood from a human body or animal body! There are around 2,000 species of fleas known, and most Australian native species live in warmer, tropical regions.


When fleas infest your dog, they will constantly take a blood meal, and this is what causes disease and irritated skin and some kind of skin condition - usually, with your dog, the symptoms will be intense scratching, inflamed, red skin, flaky skin, scabs, hot spots, hair loss and more. Fleas are also the cause of tapeworm in dogs, and severe weight loss, if untreated, put your dog's life at risk. 


Flea bites are simply nasty, so in Australia, that's why prevention like Easy Protect, our flea, tick & worming subscription (pictured below) is so important! Be sure to see our extensive article here, which explains how to spot the signs of fleas, the flea life cycle and how to spot flea dirt with a flea comb.



How long have fleas been around for?


According to Wikipedia, fleas (Siphonaptera) have jumped around the earth for at least 40–50 million years! Naturally, any blood-sucking insects like fleas and mosquitoes can carry diseases, but did you know that Fleas were the primary way the Black Plague (the bubonic plague) in the Middle Ages was transmitted, killing an estimated 25M people. 


The blood of humans will do nicely as a suitable host and a blood meal, too and, and it's infections through blood transfer from insect bites and stinging insects that have caused the most significant diseases, health issues and health complications around the world.

How long can a flea survive without a host?


An adult flea without a host will generally only live around two weeks without a host. But keep in mind, a female can lay up to 50 eggs a day and starts laying within just two days of her first meal and will lay a lot of flea dirt. If you think your dog has them, please contact your local Vet asap as getting them under control is essential. Our own Vet Dr Tegan, knows about fleas on dogs all too well.


This is adult fleas; flea pupae (the flea cocoon stage) is another story altogether! Flea pupae are the final stage before becoming an adult, and if they live in the right conditions, flea pupae can sometimes survive for more than a year on a dog or cat flea infestation. Meaning, even if you eradicate the adults, you need to stop the entire cycle - which has four stages that you can read about here in our comprehensive Flea Treatment For Dogs article.


Prevent fleas all year round in Australia, with
Easy Protect.


Can dog fleas live on humans?


Fleas, in general, do not prefer to live on humans, but they won't hesitate to take a meal from us! They, of course, choose to live on animals with fur where they can attach and breed in the right temperatures.


Fleas are rampant on Australian native animals, like birds, koalas, kangaroos and more, and they love to burrow to hide and feed. It’s challenging for fleas to reproduce without your dog's fur protection, and according to a US study (same fleas as in Australia), an adult female would need 12 straight hours of straight feeding from a human to lay eggs possibly.


It'd be super rare for anyone to notice a flea biting them for that much time, so it rarely happens that fleas breed on humans. Naturally, some people have allergic reactions or flea allergy dermatitis, so you need to be careful, especially if you have children.

Can you kill fleas with fly spray?


Aerosol sprays that have an adulticide like permethrin can kill adult fleas. However, it would help if you also had an insect growth regulator like methoprene or pyriproxyfen that has the power to kill flea eggs, flea larvae and flea pupae. The challenge is, surface sprays or control barrier spray are not the safest solutions, as your dog can lick the areas you've sprayed - and never spray these chemicals near your dog or people, of course.


The best option for killing fleas in your home is an Insect Control Bomb, as it's known that everyone, including your dog, needs to vacate the house, and the bomb mist will penetrate areas you may not have thought about, like the couch, for example.


A flea bomb also contains an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that stops the flea life cycle, including the larval stage, pupa stage (or pupal stage), and kills eggs and adult fleas. If you are unsure about using a flea bomb, please contact a pest inspector and leave it to the experts.


Bed bugs bites vs Flea bites, how to tell the difference. 


Bedbugs like fleas are parasites that like to feed on human blood. But unlike fleas, it's a fact that bedbugs only come out at night. Bedbugs love to hide in mattresses and within carpets, and bedbugs, unlike fleas, will only bite you while you're sleeping.


Unlike flea bites that occur mainly around your feet and ankles, bed bug bites will also be evident around your upper torso, as bed bug bites these areas too while you're sleeping.


Here's a comparison of hives, fleas, mozzies and bed bug bites:



What do Flea bites on people look like?


Just knowing the difference in biting times, you should be able to work out pretty quickly if you have fleabites or bedbugs, and there is a good picture below showing the differences - thanks to https://www.atoncepest.com/ for putting together this excellent reference image. But, of course, it's best to consult your local GP to get a proper diagnosis.


Here's a Flea bite image on a person, courtesy of Wikipedia:



What are fleas? Here is the summary!


Fleas can take a blood meal from us humans. They prefer to live and breed on dogs and other animals and can also be concentrated in dogs sleeping space due to the warmth. 


Fleas on pets and flea bites can cause serious health conditions that will require you to see a doctor. That's why it's best to monitor your pets continually for fleas using a flea comb and keep your house void of any severe infestation and a potential tapeworm infection and tapeworm larvae outbreak resulting from an outbreak.


Flea bites are simply nasty, so in Australia, that's why flea tick and worming prevention like Easy Protect is so essential!

Australia's cheapest
& easiest Spectra!

Australia's cheapest
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About the Author, Dr. Tegan and our petcare team.

Over 1,000 dogs a week go to Aussie Vet clinics - from owners forgetting their dog's parasite prevention. That's why Dr Tegan helped start Easy Protect, and her team love writing helpful articles for Aussie dog owners.

About the Author, Dr. Tegan and our petcare team.

Over 1,000 dogs a week go to Aussie Vet clinics - from owners forgetting their dog's parasite prevention. That's why Dr Tegan helped start Easy Protect, and her team love writing helpful articles for Aussie dog owners.