Fleas are parasites without a very narrow specialization in terms of choosing their victim. They bite a man the same way as other animals, although most types of fleas still prefer to bite their natural hosts.
For example, for a canine flea, it is the dog and the animal species close to dogs - foxes and wolves - that fit most. And fleas in humans appear when the bipedal owner is near a hungry insect.
Very few people know, but there is also a real human flea. The one for which the main and most preferred source of food is precisely the person. This insect is very different in appearance and way of life from its relatives, but, like other jumping parasites, it does not always live on a person.
It is interesting
A common misconception: some think that fleas live on humans or animals all the time. In fact, this is not so. The life cycle of a flea does not imply its permanent habitation on the host's body, and flea larvae generally develop not on the surface of the body warm-blooded.
Human flea and its bites: detailed description
Human fleas are large enough compared to their relatives (other types of fleas). The length of the body of an adult insect is about 3 mm. With such dimensions, the parasite can jump a distance of up to half a meter in length.
In the photos below, adult human fleas are visible: the dark-brown color of their bodies is clearly discernible and it is clear that they do not have wings.
From other human parasites these are distinguished by a flattened body from the sides: this shape helps them to easily move among the hair in the head and not be crushed when catching or combing bites.
On a note
Lice and fleas in humans are often found in similar places - where the body is covered with hair. But while lice are very inactive and sit mostly on the hair, and fleas are almost imperceptible and move precisely over the skin.
Human fleas from dogs or felines can not be discerned with the naked eye. Only an entomologist can distinguish one species from another by an enlarged photo or under a microscope.
At first glance, human fleas look like small brown grains on the body or on the floor. Insects in them gives out motion. A person is unable to see a flea at the time of the jump: the sight marks only the insect present in one place and the next moment - its disappearance.
It is interesting
The appearance of human fleas was studied in detail in the Middle Ages. There are numerous pictures depicting these insects, mentioning them in the writings of scientists. Like bugs, these parasites disturbed a person especially strongly, and therefore attracted close attention at all times.
Larvae of fleas are ignorant people often confused with the larvae of flies. They are very small - a few millimeters in length - white, have a worm-shaped body and live mainly in heaps of organic remains.
The photo below shows the flea larva at multiple magnification:
Adult fleas feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. There are only a few species of these parasites, capable of eating the blood and reptiles. The main owner of the human flea is the person, but in the absence of it, it successfully attacks dogs and cats.
The photo shows a feeding insect: because of the absence of a special proboscis, it is forced to immerse its head deep into the covers of the host's body:
An adult insect spends most of its life in secluded places, located as close as possible to the places of a person's constant presence. Here, parasites multiply, and here they develop their larvae, feeding on either decaying organic remains or excrements of adult fleas.
Becoming hungry, fleas jump on people or nearby animals, pierce the skin and suck blood from a blood vessel. After saturation, the parasite immediately tries to leave the host's body. In fact, these insects do not live on the human body (unlike, for example, from lice), and the expression "fleas in humans" and the question "are fleas in humans?" Are not entirely correct.
It is interesting
From an evolutionary point of view, fleas as parasites are of great interest to scientists. If other parasites such as bedbugs have learned to make their bites painless with special enzymes, then the fleas are not "worried" about this: their injections are very, very sensitive. But a man can not even crush a well-fed flea with his fingers: here natural selection has helped the parasites become less vulnerable due to loss of wings and flattening of the body.
An adult flea lives an average of several months, although it can theoretically live to a year and a half. According to scientists, during one's life one insect can become a parent for 500 direct descendants and more than several tens of thousands - "grandchildren" and "great-grandchildren".
It is interesting
Judging by the paleological data, before the advent of human beings on the planet, human fleas inhabited the territory of modern South America and parasitized on the local pigs and large rodents.
The human flea is very similar to other relatives of its universality: it can attack many warm-blooded animals. As well as other types of these parasites calmly jump over to a person. Therefore, having met a flea on your body, it can never be unequivocally asserted that this is the human flea.
What other fleas attack people
In addition to human fleas, potentially more than 1,500 species of these parasites can potentially attack humans - almost all those that are not rigidly attached to specific species of mammals and birds.
Most often, the following types of fleas bite:
- cat - the most common
- rat (carriers of the plague in the Middle Ages)
- rabbits, attackers more often in the wild.
In this case, all these insects jump on people when their usual hosts are not around. For example, rabbit fleas most often bite hunters caught up near burrows in a rabbit colony.
On a note
Hunters sometimes say that they were bitten by earthen fleas. In fact, human earthen fleas do not bite: so-called not even fleas, but small herbivorous beetles, which harm the fields and orchards. Hunters usually bite fleas of fox or rabbit holes.
The most painful bites for humans are caused by fleas parasitizing on large herbivores. According to witnesses of the victims, the bites of large - up to 5 mm - elk fleas are more painful than even bee stings.
Why are fleas dangerous for humans?
The most common consequence of flea bites is a pulicosis - a set of symptoms reminiscent of an allergy:
- abundant solid rashes in the area of bites
- inflammation of the bites themselves, sometimes - suppuration
- the appearance of sores in the mouth and throat
- headaches, irritability, insomnia.
But fleas are much more dangerous for humans because they are potential carriers of helminths and pathogens of the following diseases: plague, anthrax, encephalitis, trypanosomiasis. Scientists have found in the organisms of different species of these parasites more than 200 viruses, bacteria and protozoa, capable of causing deadly human diseases.
Of course, not every bite of a flea will reward you with such a disease. But it is always necessary to remember the potential danger of such bites.
Means for protection against fleas
Combating fleas is always getting rid of them flat or house. There is no sense in catching and destroying parasites on yourself, it will not help.
You can get rid of human fleas in an apartment in many ways:
- etch the room with a special insecticide spray. Well-proven in this regard, aerosols Raptor, Raid, Combat, as well as an insect killer.
- Use insecticidal powders of contact action. They will help get rid of the flea larvae.
- Or to call a brigade to destroy parasites - this is the most reliable, but also an expensive way to get rid of fleas.
Separately, it should be said about flea larvae. To destroy them, special dusts that are used to remove cockroaches (for example, "Clean House " dust, "Piretrum" powder and others) are good.
After disposing of a dwelling from insects it is important to maintain cleanliness in the room and to observe preventive measures against the penetration of parasites into it.
The treatment of human flea bites is the treatment of bites with antiseptic soap and alcohol solutions - green or iodine. With the development of Pulicosis or allergies, only a doctor can prescribe medicines to treat bites. These can be antihistamines, sedatives and medications for symptomatic treatment.
On a note
There is no special flea shampoo for people. Insecticidal shampoos for pets are produced for the reason that in their thick wool, insects can survive even after bathing.
But protection from parasites in the field is necessary. For this, you can use popular sprays from insects. A good flea spray for humans must contain a sufficient amount of DETA, a powerful insect repellent.
Among the most popular sprays that can scare off fleas, we can distinguish the following:
- Off-Extreme, a known remedy for mosquitoes and mosquitoes
- Bibane - a reliable tool for almost all bloodsucking insects
- Gardex, well proven in tests in the northern taiga.
On a note
From fleas, sprays are more effective than ointments. Due to their mobility, fleas can jump on different parts of the skin, which can be treated with a spray more easily than with ointments or gels.
And, of course, to protect against fleas will help banal foresight. Do not iron dirty stray animals, less often visit premises that do not meet sanitary standards, when traveling to nature, have a long-sleeved dress with them - this will be enough to protect yourself from bloodsuckers.