Can Fleas Live On People?

Can fleas live on people? This is a common question, and the answer is yes. There are several varieties of the flea that infest the homes and workplaces of humans in modern society.

Fleas feed on the blood of mammals and birds. While there are a number of varieties of flea, there are only a few that dog and cat owners typically need to be concerned about.


Types Of Fleas

SEM of a fleaImage of a flea (SEM)

Are there different types of fleas, and do these fleas live on people?

The flea is a blood sucking, wingless insect of the order Siphonaptera, which if you'll notice, includes the root "siphon" in the name. There are about 2,000 species of flea.

There are three primary species of flea that dog and cat owners should be concerned about: the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis), and the human flea (Pulex irritans).

While all of these creatures have worldwide distribution, the most common flea infestation for cat (and dog owners) is likely to be caused by the cat flea, which will also feed on the blood of dogs and other mammals, poultry, and yes, people.

Dog fleas will also cross over to cats and humans, and human fleas will feed on people, dogs, hogs, and poultry.

Flea control measures need to include inside the house, outside in the yard, and on your pet methods. If possible, it's best to use a natural flea killer to cut down on the use of pesticides and harmful chemicals. You can also use a home remedy or two to help get rid of these pests.


Bite Me

Without lots of thick fur for cover, fleas obviously don't have as many places to hide on people as they do on dogs or cats. They can can still jump from host to host, however, and many people are annoyed by flea bites.

Some people are more allergic to flea bites than others, but usually anti-itch type medications like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion are used.


Photo Credit: CDC / Janice Haney Carr


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