Are fleas fast?

Table of Contents

We share the same ecosystem with different living organisms; some live far away from us, some live with us, and others live on us. Amongst the creatures that share our apartment with us are little insects, live spiders, roaches, ants, etc.

Most of these insects only live around us because of our food, but some strange ones are not after our food but our blood and our adorable pets. Notable among these classes of pests are the fleas.

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are fleas fast
are fleas fast

Roughly the size of a pen’s tip, these tiny and wingless insects are a complete nightmare to a household when they fully invade. Most times, our human eye won’t see them, but the pain of their bite and the attending itchiness that follows is undeniable. 

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They have an unusual thirst for blood, which is only equaled by that of a mosquito. Some may think they are more bloodthirsty than mosquitoes. If you have ever had to deal with them, you would know how irritating they can be, defying almost all methods designed to eliminate them. 

Fleas are tiny insects, and if you are not actively searching for them, you probably won’t notice them, even if they were jumping all over your house. 

Once mature, the adult flea is about 0.3 cm long and is generally dark brown, although some have a red color on their body. Trying to kill them with an object is not only a hopeless adventure, but it also won’t achieve any result due to their size and the thickness of their shell. 

Did you know that fleas don’t have wings? How come they can jump so high? How come they are swift to escape when they sense danger? You will find out as you read more in this article. 

Now, to the question, do fleas move fast? The simple answer is Yes! 

A recent study was carried out by some Cambridge scholars in a bid to study the motion of fleas. As a result, they discovered that the secret to fleas’ fast movement is their impressive jumping skills. 

They carried out the experiment using the aid of a high-speed video camera (capable of recording microseconds of actions).  They were able to examine the way this creature propels itself from a position of rest to high height every step of the way. Based on their observations, fleas achieve their fast motion by releasing energy that is locked up around their thorax region, by pushing their legs down their toes and leaping up.

After going through video footage of over 50 jumps made by ten different fleas, the scientists discovered that the hops originated from their toes. This is very unlike the jumping action in most other creatures. The jumping force in most creatures originates from their knees. 

These researchers also found out that the speed at which they take this leap can get up to 1.9 meters per second, which means they can jump as high as 30cm in a short frame of time.

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How Quickly can Fleas Infest a House?

Fleas are terrible insects, and an infestation from them is something you don’t want to experience. Beyond their bite on your skin and the discomfort that results, fleas are also harmful to your health. Fleas love to hang around pets, especially dogs.  That is why it is a good idea to have an effective remedy to hand to help control fleas on dogs, especially large dogs.  

When you understand your enemy, dealing with it will become easier. 

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What is the lifecycle of the average household flea?

The stages of development of a flea is in four parts, namely: 

egg stage

Larvae stage

Pupa stage

adult stage

The process of maturity from egg to adult usually varies from between a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the flea’s species and prevailing climatic conditions.

Flea Eggs

Like most insects, the life cycle of a flea starts from an egg after a period of the mating of an adult male and a female flea. 

This is the first stage of the flea development cycle, and unlike eggs of other pests, the eggs of fleas are not sticky; therefore, pets tend to carry them and spread them all over the house. At this stage, most four-legged creatures in the home spread these eggs. 

These eggs are so tiny that you wouldn’t notice them when they are on your clothing, bedding, and carpets. One useful tip to be certain that your house is being infested by flea’s eggs is to wear a white stocking and walk around the room. Observe the stocking to see if there are tiny black deposits. These deposits are indicators that your house may be on its way to an invasion. 

Flea Larvae

This stage comes next, right  after the egg development stage. The flea larva is usually tiny,  approximately 6 millimeters in length. They look more like white worms with hairs and can take only about 13 days to develop a cocoon. The speed at which this takes place hinges on the availability of good food. They primarily feed on materials they find in the house and environment. On the body of a host, they will feed on any organic deposits. 

Flea Pupae

This is the third stage of the development phase, and it comes after the larva stage. This is the most critical stage in flea development, and it is not predictable. Factors such as nutrition and environmental conditions determine how long the flea will remain in this development stage. They can remain in this phase for up to a year if the conditions are not favorable. This means that they can be in your house for a long period of time without hatching. Once the environmental conditions change into something more favourable, their development will continue. 

Adult Fleas

This is the final phase in the fleas’ development. This is the flea that bites and sucks the blood of humans and other hosts. The pupae stage can take from between a few weeks to two long years for them to develop into an adult. 

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How long do fleas live for and where do they come from?

As stated already, the most crucial stage in the development of a flea is the pupa stage. The rate at which they spread will be determined by how favorable the environment is for them to mature through the pupa stage. 

For a newly developed adult, the flea has only seven days to look for a host; otherwise, it will die of malnutrition. 

Most times, your pet will introduce fleas into your home, so you have to watch out for them and apply preventive measures. Female fleas lay their eggs on the body of their host, especially warm-blooded ones. 

Where do fleas live and what do they eat?

The precise answer is blood. Earlier on, we mentioned that a newly hatched flea must eat within seven days of development into adulthood; well, once they get a single meal, they can live off it for up to a whole year. This is why they are challenging to get rid of. Ironically, they will only live for two weeks if they get a constant supply of food. Whether human blood or animal blood, they do not discriminate; they will feed on it.

Apart from the body of a host, fleas also survive in certain environments. If you notice them in your house and you do not have any pets living with you, then you should check around your neighborhood for a heap of wood waste. They can also thrive in such an environment. 

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How do you know if you have fleas in your house?

A warm and moist environment is the perfect residence for harboring fleas; no wonder they are rife in some countries more than in others with general environmental conditions that favor their propagation. 

Similarly, the body of a warm-blooded creature is also a suitable environment for fleas; therefore, you should treat your pet immediately you notice that they carry fleas on their body, which will prevent further outbreak. Their bites can be harmful to the host, depending on who or what their previous host was. Flea bites may be painful, but sometimes you may not even feel them because they make the area numb before feasting on the blood. 

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What are the Symptoms of a Flea bite?

The common signs of flea bites are constant itchiness and sometimes soreness at the point of the bite. Continual scratching of that area will result in skin damage, so you should avoid the urge to keep scratching. Pay attention to the site to observe any signs of infection. 

What do Flea Bites Look Like?

A flea bite is very easy to identify. The bite area is usually tiny and in a three or four cluster that may sometimes be on a straight line. Unlike mosquito bites, the area remains small after the bite. The bite occurs mostly around the ankles and legs but may also be at the breast, groin, waist, armpit, elbow, and knees. A reddish hallow is known to form at the top of the spot where the bite occurred. 

Can flea bites cause other problems?

For most people, there is minimal risk of contracting a disease from flea bites, but bacteria from outside can get into the body through the area that has been bitten, resulting in an infection. However, some people are known to have allergies to flea bites. In such people, the reaction can be as bad as difficulty in breathing. 

The effect of fleas on pets is more far-reaching than in humans. Pets can also develop allergic reactions or anemia. It is a good idea to treat your cats with flea remedy as soon as there are any signs of a flea infestation.  Due to this, it is recommended that you take your pet to a vet once you notice that they are infested with fleas. 

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Where to check for fleas in the house 

As has been stated already, fleas prefer to live on the bodies of warm-blooded creatures; therefore, if you have pets such as cats in your home, check them for signs. Due to the hair on cats and dogs’ bodies, fleas can begin to multiply in  greater populations on these animals.

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Where do fleas bite dogs?

The appearance of fleabites on the body of a dog bears a similarity to that of humans. 

Due to the fur, it may be difficult for you to spot the area where a bite occurs, but you will find it by careful observation. There are specially designed flea combs on the market that you can purchase for you to use on your pets to help get rid of the fleas, eggs, and larvae that are feeding on them. 

How are flea bites treated?

Usually, flea bites will disappear without treatment. However, to stop the bite, you need to get rid of the flea. Try over-the-counter itching creams and antihistamines to relieve the symptoms of a bite. Avoid scratching the area. Should you notice any signs of infection, like a white patch or rash on the spot, consult your doctor. Buy itching creams and antihistamines online.

Treating flea bites in babies

Any flea that bites you or your pets in your home can bite your baby too. Flea bites are not dangerous for young children, but they are a concern. The spot will look like small red bumps on your baby’s skin. It can become red in appearance. The best way to treat flea bites depends on the age of the child. 

Treatment may include washing the bite area and giving the child an antihistamine cream or mild soap that causes the child to itch so that the itch does not scratch. If you begin to observe allergic reactions and feverish feelings with the child, it is time to visit the pediatrician. 

Treating flea bites in Pets

● Check your pet to find out if it is hosting fleas. Pull the fur to find flea and flea bites on the skin. If they scratch more often, it could be a sign that they have fleas.

● Use a shampoo and flea repellent powder to get rid of what your dog has. Then consider using a flea collar to prevent re-entry of insects. 

● Consult your veterinarian for advice on using oral medications for your pet. Many procedures are performed without a prescription, while a veterinarian must prescribe others. 

As far as your home is concerned, you need to vacuum carpets; since they love to hide in carpets of all kinds. 

Discard the vacuum cleaner bag or the contents of the vacuum cleaner after vacuuming. Washing all bedding (you and your pet’s) with hot water and drying at the highest temperature can kill fleas. Otherwise, you may need to use an insect repellent. 

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What can kill fleas instantly?

Getting rid of fleas is often a complicated process due to their size and fast reproduction rate when they find a favorable environment. The most effective way to kill them instantly is through the use of pesticides. You can speak to a pest control professional who will recommend practical pesticides. 

Below are some common home remedies that are effective in managing and keeping them at bay.

Soapy water

This method is effective in dealing with them gradually. All you have to do is mix some detergent in a bowl of warm water and leave the bowl in the middle of the room where the infestation is high. You can do the same for several other  rooms as well. Any flea that lands in the water will remain glued to it due to the viscosity of the soap. 

For this method to work well, do this at night before bedtime and repeat for several days. 

Herbal spray

You can make your flea spray by mixing lemon juice, vinegar, witch hazel, and water into a spray bottle. This solution is non-toxic to humans and pets but highly effective in dealing with those little monsters. 

Baking soda

Baking soda works well in dealing with fleas that have found residence in your items of clothing and carpets. Spread it around, scrubbing the surfaces of areas you applied them to. Finally, you can vacuum clean the area.

Salt

Salt is also an effective remedy against fleas. Just like baking soda, spread the salt over the affected fabrics and suspected areas. Leave the salt lying on the surface for 2-3 days and finally vacuum clean and empty the contents in a trash can. 

Lemon

Lemon juice is both effective in treating flea bites and killing the fleas as well. To do this, slice a lemon into a small bowl of water and boil the water. Pour the solution into a spray and allow it to sit through the night. By the next morning, you can start using the spray on infested areas. 

Diatomaceous earth

This is a non-toxic base of fossilized algae diatoms. It is effective against fleas, so powder over the areas where the flea’s activity is suspected and allow to remain for about two days—vacuum clean after that. 

 Rosemary

This is also another effective treatment against flea infestation. It consists of peppermint, fennel, rosemary herb, and some rue perfectly ground into powder. 

Flea repelling plants

A long term solution that can keep fleas away for a long time is the planting of flea repellent crops. Here is a list of some of these plants. 

Chrysanthemums

Spearmint

Penny Royal

Lavender

Some Interesting Facts about Fleas

● Adult fleas can drink up to 15 times their body weight in blood within 24 hours.

● There are over 2000 different species already discovered by scientists, and they are still finding more yearly. 

● The biggest flea ever known was found to be about 2.5 centimeters. 

● Scientific researchers have proven that fleas can jump up to 1.2 meters high.

● These creatures can survive for up to two straight years after a meal of blood. 

● Statistics show that for every one flea you find, 80 others are waiting in hiding. 

● These creatures are over 100 million years in existence based on archeological findings. 

Finally, fleas are both hazardous to the health and well-being of your family and pets. 

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As a result, it is good to get rid of them as soon as you begin to notice them since you do not want a full-blown infestation. It is handy to know different truths about these insects’ life cycles and how they appear. This will better help you understand the problems they pose and how you can fight them effectively.  

 

Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.