A lot of insect-borne diseases are caused by flying pests. Are fleas one of them? Pets hang out a lot at the outdoors, at parks, gardens, yards where you’ll find a lot of flying insects. Flying insects are found indoors too at our home. Whenever you see your pet is scratching and grooming itself too much, you get panicked as it could be a flea infection.
But how these nasty pests get on to your pet’s skin? Did they fly or jump? It is easier to identify flying pests as they glide in the air. But you didn’t see any? Why? This guide helps you to answer all your questions about whether fleas fly or not and more.
No! Fleas can’t fly. So they should not be compared with other flying pests like grasshoppers, mantis, dragonflies, fruit flies or gnats. They can’t fly because they don’t have wings. Flying insects have wings that are matured outgrowths of their exoskeleton. Though there are some similarities in the life cycle of a flea and a flying insect (Pterogyta subclass), but fleas are often mistaken with flying insects because of the similarities of their infestations.
There is nothing called a “Baby Flea”. If you read the life cycle of flea you will understand that there are 4 stages of a flea life cycle which include – flea-eggs, larvae, pupae, and the adult flea. After having a blood meal, an adult female flea lays eggs. It can lay up to 40 eggs per day.
It takes 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on the surrounding atmosphere for the eggs to get hatched and larvae emerge from them. Larvae spin cocoons around them within 5 to 20 days after they come out of the eggs. Cocoons are the places where larvae transform themselves into adult fleas.
Breaking out from the cocoon may vary from 1 week to a couple of months as it is the place where the real metamorphosis occurs. According to the climatic conditions and close proximity of a host, adult fleas come out from the cocoons and are ready to attack a host. This period is called the quiescent period. So fleas don’t have a “Baby” time in their lives.
Check this video for a quick view:
Fleas actually jump. Their jumping technique has been misidentified as their flying abilities. They jump so smoothly that it looks as if they are flying. For which you have to understand the basic body structure of a flea. A flea’s body is tiny and flat. Its exoskeleton is hardened and made out of sclerites.
Their body has spines and has 3 pairs of legs attached to the thoraxes. The back legs are strong and they can bend them in several edges. They don’t have muscles. The legs work as a bow. When the hind legs bend, a protein called resilin stores energy like a bow-string does. A tendon grips back the bent leg.
When the flea releases this tendon, the leg unbends almost immediately and with the stored energy it accelerates like an arrow from a bow. An average flea’s body is about 3 mm in length. A flea can jump up to 17.8 cm vertically and 33 cm horizontally which is about 150 times its body. If one of us having an average weight could do that it would have been 76 meters vertical jump and 137 meters horizontal jump.
This is an interesting video:
No, fleas can’t swim and more interestingly, they can’t sink in water too. If they are trapped in water, neither they will be able to swim and nor sink in the water. Actually their body weight is so minimal that it can’t break the surface tension of water. They will simply lay there like a thread, being aloof. The hard plated cover at their exoskeleton, made up of sclerites, which has a waxy nature, allows water not to harm them. Actually fleas in the water die out of hunger.
See this video to know more:
While brushing your pet with a comb or simply cuddling it with your hands if you find these pests building a colony inside your pet’s furry skin or find small white-colored flea eggs and flea dirt keep falling on the ground, you’re sure that your pet is infected by fleas. But why cats and dogs? Because cats and dogs are the common pets we have in our home.
Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are different from dog fleas. Having a lengthier cycle of life they suck blood from your feline friend for a longer time causing them uneasiness and fatal diseases. Cats, grooming themselves are a common phenomenon but an overdoing attitude along with being restless by scratching their own skins is not a common feature.
Reddish lumpy spots on your cat’s skin are a clear indication of flea bites. Kittens are affected more, especially on their heads, necks, and ears. Adults have flea infestations at the covered areas like the folds of legs, bellies, and groins. A wounded skin, hair loss, and an aggressive attitude also are signs of flea infections. Flea collars may come in use in these kinds of situations. You can browse the best flea collars for cats.
If you are living in a city or town, the common flea infection your dog may have is because of cat-fleas. Dog-fleas (Ctenocephalides canis), are not common in the US as in Europe. Dog fleas don’t bite cats but they bite humans. But if your vet identifies that your pet has a dog-flea infection you should be more careful. They are ectoparasites, living on mammals.
They are capable of spreading Dipylidium caninum, which is a dangerous disease. Like a cat, when a dog is also infected by fleas, it gets irritated and upset. It rubs its skin, bite different parts of its own body and at serious and multiple infections they could be weak and anemic. Flea collars may come in use in these kinds of situations. You can browse the best flea collars for dogs.
Fleas don’t fly.
Fleas jump and they do it with a pronounced effort.
They can’t swim nor can they float.
There are no baby fleas.
They jump on your cats and dogs.
Dog fleas jump on you too.
We hope we have cleared some doubts about fleas in this article. This will definitely help you to have a flea-free environment around you.
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