Are you a cat owner with itchy and red patches on your legs? Does your cat bite and scratches its body all the time? If yes, you might be facing a flea infestation. You have come to the right place if you are curious about how do fleas look to the human eye and how to identify them.
Flea infestation is a common problem faced by every cat and dog owner. Therefore, you should never take the red and itchy patches on your body lightly. In this article, you will learn about what fleas look like to the human eye and what fleas look like under a microscope. In addition, learn about the signs of flea infestation at home.
What do cat fleas look like to the human eye?
Have you ever noticed dark brown wingless creatures on your cat’s fur or dog’s hair? The wingless creature is most likely a flea. Fleas undergo a life cycle of egg, larva, pupae, and adult that takes 30-75 days, depending on temperature and humidity. Adult fleas are insects that suck the host’s blood. As a result, they can breed and live on hairy and furry cats and dogs.
An adult flea is a tiny brown, reddish, or black-colored wingless creature that is 1.5-4mm in size. In addition, the flea has six legs for jumping; 2 long hind legs and four short front legs with a large abdomen to store blood. Moreover, it has a head with a mouth designed to suck the host’s blood by piercing the host’s body.
Due to 6 legs, fleas can jump as high as 30cm and are very fast. Therefore, you should wet your cat’s fur and comb it down to notice the fleas. Adult blood-sucking fleas are primarily found in the belly region of cats. So make sure to pay extra attention to it.
The female flea is larger than a male flea. Furthermore, only the female flea can lay eggs.
What do Fleas Look Like Under the Microscope?
You can also examine fleas closely under a microscope. What fleas look like under the microscope depends on the stage of the flea. For example, an adult flea will look the same with six legs, abdomen, and head, as described above. However, in the larvae stage, the flea looks like a worm with sensory hairs under the microscope.
Where Can I Find Fleas In my Home?
Remember that fleas need a humid and optimum temperature to continue their life cycle. Therefore, you will find fleas in the shady areas at your home, such as; carpets, gardens, furniture, and pet bedding.
Moreover, you will also find fleas on your cat’s body, especially on your cat’s belly, back, head, and neck. It would be best if you also searched for fleas on your dog’s lower back, chest, abdomen, and legs.
How did I get fleas even though I don’t have a pet?
Unfortunately, you can get fleas even if you don’t have any pets. Rodents can drop flea eggs in your home. In addition, rats can also spread fleas in your home. Therefore, you should always inspect for fleas in your home if you have itchy legs. The best places to look for fleas are; carpets, couches, bedding, etc.
Does one flea mean infestation?
If you notice only one flea without any symptom, such as on your shirt, it doesn’t mean you have encountered a flea infestation. Instead, you might have caught a flea from outside. However, if you spot more fleas, you should get worried.
Signs and Symptoms of Flea Infestation at Home
You will notice various symptoms indicating flea infestation, such as your cat scratching their body and bite marks on your and cat’s body. Fleas can bite humans and transmit some diseases such as; typhus, Bartonella, and bubonic plague. Furthermore, the symptoms caused by fleas in humans are the same as those generated in cats.
Following are the symptoms produced by fleas in humans and cats;
- Excessive scratching resulting in reddened skin at the site of the bite,
- Swelling and irritability with moderate discomfort,
- Infection (Due to excessive scratching, the area can get secondarily infected by bacteria and cause severe discomfort)
You should also look for additional signs in cats that also indicate flea infestation, such as;
- White and black flecks: white flecks represent eggs, and black flecks are the flea dirt.
- Loss of fur: The bite of fleas produces an allergic reaction in cats resulting in alopecia and loss of fur that need immediate treatment by the vet.
- Pale gum: The fleas suck blood from cats, resulting in anemia (low blood hemoglobin level). Anemia represents pale gums in cats.
Moreover, you will also notice small wingless creatures jumping and hopping around the house.
How to Get Rid of Fleas?
Fortunately, fleas are visible to the human eye, and when you see fleas, you should get rid of them as soon as possible:
- You will need to get rid of fleas from your cat first by visiting the vet. Shower the cat daily, use anti-flea collars, and anti-flea sprays on your cat’s body.
- Then, treat yourself by showering daily, take anti-histamine for allergic reactions, and resist scratching yourself by using aloe vera gel and calamine lotion. In addition, you can take antibiotics prescribed by the doctor for the infected bite areas.
Finally, follow the below measures to clean the house, such as;
- Sprinkle some salt on the carpet for some hours to get rid of the flea eggs and vacuum the carpet.
- Take a bowl of water and add dish soap to it. Then, place the bowl on your carpet. The bowl will attract adult fleas, and the dish soap will kill them.
- Keep your homes sanitized and clean the house daily. In addition, wash all of your clothes, bedsheets, and even your pet’s bedding weekly.
- Book a professional flea treatment to get rid of the flea infestation completely.
What do fleas look like on dogs?
Fleas look the same on dogs, cats, and people as described above under the heading ‘What do Fleas look like to the Human Eye?’
What do fleas eggs look like?
Flea eggs are oval and whitish. Moreover, the eggs of fleas look like rice grains under the microscope.
What do baby fleas look like?
Baby fleas look like white and small worms with a head but no legs.
Can fleas live without a host?
No, the fleas can’t live without a host as they need the host’s blood to survive.
Other bugs that look like fleas?
Bat bugs, froghoppers, crickets, flea beetles, black carpet beetles, and bed bugs are mistaken for cat and dog fleas when they jump.
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Being a cat owner has a lot of perks but also a con that is flea infestation. You should always look for fleas if your cat constantly itches their body. We are sure that by now, you all know what fleas look like to the human eye and what fleas look like under a microscope. So all the best in getting get rid of the fleas without delay.