Fleas, like most other bloodsucking insects, are obligate parasites. In other words, they can not eat anything other than blood - the device of their mouthpiece basically does not allow them to use other sources of food. Therefore, do not puzzle for a long time about why fleas bite a person - they do it only in order to eat, live and multiply.
Another thing is that in most cases, fleas bite a person not as their primary host. Very often a person is bitten by insects that parasitize mainly on other warm-blooded animals - dogs, cats, rats, birds. In the end, and the question of whether the feline bites people or whether the dog bites a dog flea can safely give an unambiguous answer: bite, and very active.
Nevertheless, among a large variety of flea species there is one for which the main owner is the person. But this should be discussed in more detail.
Types of fleas that bite a person
Wondering which fleas bite people, we first begin to blame the parasites of our pets. In principle, this is correct: in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the parasites of domestic cats and dogs that are the culprits of unpleasant itchy bites in humans.
Nevertheless, among fleas there is just a human parasite - a human flea . This insect can quite successfully attack and on medium-sized animals - the same cats and dogs - but prefers the person. For piercing human skin, the oral apparatus of this species is optimally adapted, and its general biology is somehow connected with people and their dwelling.
The photo shows an adult human flea, and below - its larva:
On a note
The expression "flea in humans" is not entirely correct. It is used by analogy with lice, but fleas have the main difference - they do not live on a person constantly, but only attack him, bite and leave the body. Therefore, you can not talk about the infection of a person with fleas - it's like saying "this person has mosquitoes."
In general, potentially the majority of more than 2000 species of fleas can bite a person. However, only some of them, in addition to human, account for the majority of bites. Among them:
- canine flea, perhaps - the record for the number of bitten people. Dog fleas bite people much more often than other parasites of animals due to their number: dogs usually carry more parasites on themselves, and even cling them on the street often.
- Cat flea - another unique. The peculiarity of this species is that they are widely distributed around the world and bite, perhaps, not less number of mammals than canine fleas. One should not even think whether cat fleas can bite people: they can, and it's very easy. And the reason why cat fleas bite people, the same - they just need to actively eat. In general, feline fleas bite people most often in apartments, since cats are rarely allowed inside private houses, and parasites have to manage those masters that they can meet on the street.
- Rat fleas - in modern cities bite people seldom, terrorizing mostly provincials and visitors to villages and villages. Nevertheless, they carry with them the largest bouquet of pathogens of various diseases and are the most infectious dangerous.
- Rabbit fleas, the least likely to bite a person, but, nevertheless, from the entire large cohort of jumping bloodsucking parasites, they also belong to one of the most common.
In the most general case, animal fleas bite people at the first convenient opportunity: even those species that parasitize in mice and small birds are quite capable of piercing the skin of a person. Therefore, having noticed on the clothes or in the house of a flea, it is always worthwhile to understand that to any kind of a particular specimen belonged to, he will not miss the opportunity to bite you.
"I never knew if fleas can bite people. Probably just did not come across them. And once my father-in-law took me out hunting and we dug a foxhole with him half a day. After that I found out what the torment was-until we reached the house (and on the old Niva 40 km off-road - it was more than an hour and a half), it seemed that I was cauterized all over my body with cigarettes. At home with me these fox fleas were poured like sand after the beach. "
Leonid Zakharov, the Republic of Adygea
Many people are interested in another question: do cat fleas or other species bite repeatedly for a single feed, as, for example, bugs are done, or does the insect have only one bite, after which it leaves the host's body.
In fact, human fleas usually bite from 1 to 3 times per food. In this they are somewhat inferior to bedbugs.
So, with a question, whether fleas of animals of a man bite, have understood. Now you need to find out exactly how they do it.
How the flea bites - the process in illustrations
Like most insect parasites, the flea's mouthpiece is a very elongated jaw, in a folded working condition similar to a thin needle. The insect pierces the human skin over the blood vessel, reaches the very channel and begins to suck blood.
In the photo, at a large magnification, this insect stiletto is shown:
It is interesting
Because of the very small size of the parasite, it is sometimes difficult to get your proboscis to the very blood vessel. Therefore, when bitten, the insect literally puts its head and the front part of the body in the skin, trying to drill as deep as possible, and its body turns vertically during the bite. This is especially evident in a photo taken with a microscope. The human skin is much softer than the skin of animals (even cats and dogs), so you can say that people are biting the fleas with particular pleasure.
The process of how to bite fleas is generally quite interesting. Like other parasites, they introduce into the wound with their saliva enzyme, which prevents blood clotting and facilitates the process of its sucking.
But if other bloodsuckers inject into the wound an analgesic, thanks to which the victim for a time may not notice a bite at all, then the fleas bite people without such local anesthesia - thanks to a dense chitinous cover and a flattened body they are not afraid of mechanical effects from the itching victim, and therefore especially do not hide their meal.
In general, the bite of a flea is quite specific and feels like a prick with a needle. Few insects attack this way.
"I could never understand who is biting me so hard behind my back when I rest on the veranda. Only once I felt the same prick on my leg, and before I scratched myself I looked at it. It turned out that she was bitten by a flea. Very small, but it bites more than bugs or mosquitoes. "
Anna Pavlovna, Ekaterinburg
What do flea bites look like?
The bites of fleas are quite specific. Features they have several:
- Insects prefer to hit the legs and lower back. If a person sleeps, the fleas usually bite their arms and neck.
- The trace of the bite is very similar to the mosquito: on the same swelling is located a small central point of skin damage.
- Bites are usually arranged in pairs or triplets: each insect, if possible, pierces the skin sequentially in several places, located at a distance of 1-2 cm from each other. At the same time, typical flecks that are characteristic of bug bites, do not leave fleas.
- If the fleas bite a person, then the bite sites themselves usually heal more than mosquitoes. In this case, and the pain from each bite is long enough.
In the photo below you can see in detail fresh bites of a large number of parasites. Differences in the reactions of the skin of different people to bites are clearly visible:
"I can not spend the night not indoors. I'm bitten by fleas, and constantly. My husband always pulls me for fishing, hiking, but I can not even sleep at the dacha: only I cover myself with a blanket, somewhere I will surely ring. And he even had one bitten! "
"And my boy constantly asked if a flea can bite a person. In short, they went once to walk with a dog and a friend about a bet, and found a hole in the ravine. Either a badger, or a fox. Home came stuck, roaring, these fleas from them and sypyatsya, all over the body of each bite. I washed them, and the dog had to be splashed with a special canine dichlorvos. "
Fleas are quite indifferent to the choice of the victim: it is important for them that it is a mammal. And questions like "Why do not all the bites bite everyone?" Are a consequence of the fact that some people - especially men - do not feel their bites. Especially when fleas bite at home during sleep.
This creates the illusion that these insects bite only the most sensitive women, and on thick-skinned representatives of the stronger sex do not attack at all.
Dangers of flea bites
Despite their small size, fleas are considered very dangerous parasites, not conceding even to mites.
The dangers of biting these insects for the human body are several:
- Strong allergic reaction to the enzyme, preventing blood clotting. Sometimes it's just redness and itching, sometimes - rashes all over the body, and sometimes - severe swelling and even anaphylactic shock.
- The possibility of infection of the wound itself flea. These insects are carriers of pathogens of many fatal diseases, among which are plague, salmonella, typhoid, encephalitis, hepatitis and others.
- Risk of infection of the bite by combing it.
In general, in medicine, there is even a special term for a combination of symptoms caused by flea bites - pulicosis. It can be expressed in an intense sensation of itching and involuntary combing of bite sites.
What if they bite fleas? First of all, find out whether this is an exceptional case (for example, fishing or walking), or the fleas have settled firmly in the apartment. Bites themselves should be treated with alcohol solutions, allergy should be taken antihistamines, and with a particularly strong reaction - to see the doctor.
It is also useful to know how to protect yourself from flea bites in the event of getting into the place where there are especially many. These parasites are terribly repelled by powerful antimony repellents with a high content of DETA substance. It is enough to sprinkle the hands and feet with such a means before going on a fishing trip, and fleas will not disturb all day.
And remember: instead of checking whether the fleas bite, you should provide protection in advance so that you do not have to worry about bites even if they are present.