Fleas are known to live on furry animals including dogs, cats and horses. These pets are the official hosts of fleas. Many people wonder if these tiny little jumping insects can live on human body and clothes in absence of their host.
Fleas, unlike other pests can survive with or without their host; hairy animals. In the absence of their hosts, some flea types such as canine fleas, feline fleas, human flea (Pulex Irritan) can still infest your home and stay in your head, facial and body hair, especially if it is unkempt, dirty and with dandruff.
You can still get fleas from your neighbor’s cats and dogs by playing with them. Dog fleas cannot live on humans but they bite humans. However, fleas cannot live in clothes but they hide in them to bite humans. They also hide in furniture because it is dark and hard to access.
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How Does It Happen (How Do They Live On Human Body and Hair)
This occurs when humans keep long and dirty hair or beards. Dirty hair contains dandruffs which a flea larva feeds on. If you keep long beards and stay for a while without washing, they trap some dirt which attracts flea larvae to feed on them. Humans who have hairy bodies also provide a conducive environment for fleas to live on their bodies.
New home owners can also get fleas from homes that previous owners had flea-infested pets.
When fleas hear the vibrations from the humans walking in an empty house, they come out of their cocoons looking for a host. Human beings, being the only available source of blood, fleas jump on humans hide in their hair and suck blood from them.
Bites from some biting fleas also indicate that fleas can live on humans. In most cases they only bite humans but do not feed on the human blood. However, if the hosts are on a long vacation, the fleas are thought to try human blood.
How do you know you have fleas?
Fleas that live on human hair are quite irritating. They will bite you causing itchy rush and small red bumps. They also lead to allergic reactions among humans.
Can humans get Fleas from Cats?
You can easily get fleas from the cat by playing with it. If a cat that is infested with fleas comes to your home you can easily get fleas from the cat, you can also get the cat fleas from the places where the cat has been staying like on the carpet, furniture, and cat beddings.
The fleas are so tiny hence it is easy for them to jump from the cat to your furniture, your beddings or your body without you noticing.
Some flea-borne pet diseases such as cat scratch can be passed to humans. If you have a hairy body, beards and long hair be careful when you interact with your cat
The good thing is that cat fleas may not stay long on your body because they cannot survive on human blood or on top of human skin. It may live on your body for a day or two days and later on die because they cannot sustain themselves on human blood.
The fleas that humans get from cats usually bite humans on the lower legs causing minor itches and discomfort. Their debris is also thought to cause allergic reactions to humans.
Can Dog fleas Live on Humans?
Dogs enrich our lives in many ways, but staying with a not-well-cared-for one can be recipe for a disaster. Just like cat fleas, dog fleas can explore human bodies whenever there’s an opportunity. This is the case especially for pet owners who prefer staying indoors with their dogs.
As usual, the fleas will bite you before they realize you are the wrong host but they do not transmit diseases to humans like other pests. Sometimes dogs lie on the carpet and furniture thus making it easier for fleas to jump to people.
Dog fleas feed on dog blood. They can also stay on other pets or animals like cats.
Can Fleas live on Clothes?
Fleas cannot live in clothes because it is not their preferred habitat and they do not like leaving their hosts. Once fleas bite human beings and are full of blood, they jump off and look for a better place.
The fleas do not lay eggs in human clothes but occasionally hide in clothes. The longest time fleas can stay in clothes is 24 hours.
Fleas prefer an environment that has stable supply of moisture and humidity which is not provided by clothes. Fleas like warm temperature ranging between 65 to 80 degrees and relative humidity that is available in human clothes.
Sometimes your pets like cats or dogs can sleep on your clothes, beddings or the carpet thus transmitting fleas to your clothes.
The flea larva feeds on dandruff, discarded skin and other organic and human waste that is found in pet fur and human clothing.
If you have pets and you allow them to sleep in your beddings then it is easy to find fleas in your bed clothing, mattress and linen. Flea larvae live in carpets and away from light thus if clothes are left on the floor then there is a high possibility that they can get under them and hide in clothes.
For clothes that are infested by fleas you can wash them using 1 cup of Chlorine bleach mixed with 16 gallons of water. This will kill fleas and eliminate their eggs.
You can alternatively use detergents or pine oil and other disinfectants to wash the infest clothes. Use pest control programs like managing flea habitats, destroying resident fleas and preventing new infestations. Also wash your clothes, household linen and beddings regularly.
Can Fleas Live on Furniture
Fleas cannot live on furniture. However, under and in between the pieces that make your tables, chairs and beds can act like hiding and breeding places them.
Fleas like hiding in dark and hard to access areas like in furniture. Flea larvae and eggs are mostly found buried on or under furniture.
Flea-infested pets that prefer staying indoors can easily spread fleas to the furniture.
How to deal with Pet Fleas in Hair and House
Luckily, human beings are not hairy enough to give fleas a good hiding place or a warm environment that fleas prefer. This makes it hard for the fleas to survive on humans. In most cases, once they bite you, they will figure out a safer place to live.
The fact that they hardly live on human beings does not mean that they’re allowed on your pets or house. They’re still harmful to yourself and pet.
It is advisable to vacuum upholstered furniture to destory any eggs hidden in your coach cushions. Also Vacuum all cushions, crevices, cracks and seams carefully to prevent fleas from infesting your furniture.
If you are moving to a new house ensure it is thoroughly cleaned and treated.
Regularly clean and treat your pets. Fleas also live under the baseboard molding and kitchen cabinets. They are also mostly found in the furniture where pets eat, sleep and play. Ensure clean these areas.
Spray products that contain methoprene or pyriproxyfen or diatomaceous earth to disrupt the life cycle of fleas under your furniture to eliminate them.
Do maintain high hygiene standards.
Always treat and protect your home to prevent fleas from coming back. Although they bite humans, you should not use pet prevention products on yourself.
In conclusion fleas prefer feeding on pets but in their absence, they can be found on human beings. It is easy to get fleas from untreated pets. Keeping your house clean and eliminating fleas at an early stage is the best way to control them.