Fleas are tiny terrors, jumping onto our dogs, cats, and even us humans. But what do they look like up close? Fleas are practically tiny insects.
They’re really tiny and if you don’t know what a flea looks like, you might just miss them. You might not notice them if you don’t look closely enough.
Most of the time, you’ll notice fleas carefully crawling along the fur of your pets.
You’ll have difficulty spotting them if your dog or cat has black or dark-colored fur. However, if they have white, cream, or light-colored fur, spotting one of these fleas might be a little bit easier.
They’re usually latched onto your pets, and oftentimes, you have to use a comb to be able to see the flea in between the fur.
What Do Fleas Look Like in the Naked Eye?
To the naked eye, fleas look like oval-shaped bugs that range in color from a light brown to dark reddish-brown color.
While you might spot them weaving through your pet’s fur, they’re most likely latched onto their skin sucking on their blood. This holds true, especially for female fleas.
Did you know that female fleas can consume blood that’s 15 times more than their own weight? That’s a lot for a tiny insect, and this can be pretty devastating for your pet.
Fleas have stout bodies, and this makes them very tough to squash or crush when you try to get rid of them.
They have powerful back legs that help them jump from one spot to another with ease. These insects are wingless, but their powerful legs allow them to jump distances far enough to travel from one host to another.
Individually, because of their tiny nature, it might be difficult to spot a single flea alone. However, if you know what you’re looking for, it’ll be easier for you to look for them, allowing you to get rid of them quickly.
On a general note, they are about the size of a pinhead, with oval bodies and six legs
What Do Flea Bites Look Like?
Most of the time, fleas are present in one’s home when there’s an animal, such as a pet cat or dog, suffering from an infestation. However, there are some rare instances that fleas may also appear in your home, even if you don’t have pets.
These fleas can be carried around by other animals, such as rodents.
On pets, flea bites look like small red bumps or lesions on their skin. It’s typically itchy and may cause skin irritation.
This manifests more in animals compared to humans since their fur serves as the perfect hiding place for these parasites.
If you look closely, and you see raised red marks, slightly larger than a bed bug bite all over your pet’s body – it’s time to take action. This infestation is severe and your pet is suffering a great deal for it.
For humans, flea bites are uncommon, but they can still occur. Because humans lack fur, something that fleas use for protection during their reproduction process.
Yes, they can bite, but they won’t live on your skin, or even on your hair. If given the chance and in that rare event they accidentally land on human skin, they will bite – and they do so multiple times.
Flea bites on humans are red and slightly swollen. It’s typically larger than that of a bite of a bed bug or an ant – and you’ll notice that the marks are raised.
In some cases, severe redness may also appear on the affected area. If a flea just bit your skin, you will immediately feel an itching sensation in that area.
Applying a cold compress might help lessen the swelling, with some people opting for anti-itch creams or antihistamines to help alleviate the itchiness.
How Do Fleas Differ from Bed Bugs in Terms of Physical Appearance?
There comes a point in our lives where understanding the differences between the appearances of various pests and insects play a crucial role.
For one, treatments may vary depending on which insect or pest has taken refuge inside your home. Understanding the various characteristics of these pests and insects can help you make an informed decision when it comes to treatment.
Bed bugs can leave really nasty and itchy bites – but so do fleas. They both bite humans and pets, and sometimes, they live in the same places.
Before you come up with a pest control treatment plan, you’ll first have to understand their differences. This way, you know exactly which pest control method you’d opt for, and how to address the infestation the right way.
Fleas differ from bed bugs in a few ways:
In general, fleas have a more oval-shaped body and are usually brown to reddish-brown in color. Bed bugs, on the other hand
Fleas are typically oval-shaped and range in color from light brown to reddish-brown. Meanwhile, bed bugs are flat and have an elongated shape.
Fleas average about 1/8 inch, while adult bed bugs usually reach only about 3/16 inch. Adult bed bugs are significantly smaller than fleas and are sometimes tougher to spot as compared to fleas.
Although still visible when you pay close attention, fleas are more likely easy to spot compared to bed bugs.
Development from Eggs to Adults
In terms of their life cycle and adult form, fleas and bed bugs differ significantly. Fleas usually undergo a complete metamorphosis. This means that from eggs, they turn to larvae, pupae, then eventually adult fleas.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, have an incomplete or gradual metamorphosis. This means that from eggs, nymphs will emerge.
These nymphs then feed until they reach the adult form. This means that despite having similar colors during their adult stages, their physical appearance may also significantly vary during their developing stages.
How to Check Your Pet for Fleas: Know What to Look For
If you have a hunch that your pet may be carrying fleas, it’s time to do a thorough check.
If you’ve completely eliminated the other causes of your pet’s itching and suspect it could be a flea, here are some things you can do to spot them.
Note: This may vary depending on how thick or thin your pet’s fur and coat is.
For various breeds and sizes, the approach may be slightly different in terms of how you should check your pet.
Run Your Fingers Through Your Pet’s Fur and Coat
Oftentimes, you can feel fleas by running your fingers through the fur of your pet. Start from the belly and thoroughly feel other parts of your pet’s body.
While fleas are typically small, it’s easier to feel those tiny “bumps” on their body as you run your fingers through their fur.
Check Your Pet’s Skin for “Flea Dirt”
Flea dirt is another name for flea feces, which are made up of dried blood. If your pet has fleas, chances are they have left tiny black flecks all over their skin.
To check these spots, you can use a white piece of paper and gently press it against your pet’s skin. If these flecks are wiped away, that means they’re most likely flea dirt.
Use a Comb
If your pet’s fur is particularly thick, that running your fingers over the fur makes it difficult for you to feel the fleas, you can also use a comb to help.
This should be done in sections so that your pet won’t stay still for too long and get agitated as well.
You may want to focus on areas where fleas typically are found – around the neck, behind their ears, under their paws, and around the tail.
Check for Flea Eggs, Larvae, and Pupae in Your Pet’s Bedding
When you’ve already identified that your pet has fleas, it can help to check their bedding as well. Oftentimes, flea eggs, larvae, and pupae can be found here.
If this is the case, it’s important to take extra precautions and regularly clean your pet’s bedding. This can help you better control the infestation and effectively get rid of the fleas in your home.
If your pet’s bedding is washable, make sure to wash it with hot water and run it in the dryer in the highest heat setting.
This will help ensure that fleas, eggs, and pupae are killed during the cleaning process. If your pet’s bedding isn’t washable, it might be a good idea to replace it completely.
Check for Flea Bites and Scratching on Your Pet’s Skin
As mentioned earlier, flea bites are easier to spot than bed bug bites. These will typically appear as small red spots on your pet’s skin, often raised that are accompanied by excessive itching and scratching.
If you’ve already identified that your pet may have fleas, it’s also a good idea to check for these red spots and keep track of how often he or she scratches or bites himself throughout the day.
Being able to spot these areas may mean that there are fleas within or near that pet’s body part, and this could help you in your flea prevention efforts.
How Flea Looks Like in a Human Eye: Final Thoughts
Fleas are small but mighty, and they can cause a great deal of discomfort for our furry friends. Aside from the itch, it is also accompanied by a variety of other symptoms such as excessive scratching and biting.
Flea bites may also cause diseases, allergies, and infections.
To properly address this, knowing what a flea looks like helps you come up with the right treatment plan for your furry friend.
About 1/8 of an inch in size, fleas are small and dark in color. They have six long legs, with hind legs strong giving them the ability to jump high and long distances.
Typically, you’ll find them either crawling on your pet’s fur or latched onto their skin.
By following the steps above, you’ll be able to detect if your pet has fleas and come up with the right plan to get rid of these pesky parasites.