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Fun Facts About Fleas

September 16, 2016


flea up close

By Lena Duenas

Throughout history, fleas have been bothering both humans and animals, especially man’s best friend.  Fleas are resilient parasites that have a ravenous appetite for blood.  Fleas are more active when the weather is hot and humid, and they peak during August and September.  Many pet-owners know all too well how frustrating fleas are to deal with, so it may be helpful to know a little bit more about these annoying little critters as well as their history.  Below are some fun facts about fleas that I thought were pretty interesting and at times shocking.

#1: Fleas are the culprits behind the spread of the Black Death plague.  The biggest danger that fleas pose to our family is that they may carry any number of potentially life-threatening diseases, which they could transmit to humans when they feed.  Fleas are infamous for transmitting the Bubonic Plague from the infected rats to the unsuspecting humans; essentially causing the horrific epidemic that nearly took out Europe.  When you do the math, fleas are responsible for more human deaths than all of the wars in recorded history combined.

#2: Fleas are similar to cockroaches in that they adapt to their environment. Fleas have been around since before dinosaurs existed!  In fact you can find references to these infamous little buggers throughout history, including a mention in the bible! Fleas have become stronger and more immune to repellants and other control chemicals with each generation, which makes them even more difficult to deal with as a pet-owner.

#3: Fleas evolved into the wingless creatures that they are today.  Their wingless feature is an adaptation that fosters their parasitic lifestyle.  Wings are nuisances for fleas because they would just get tangled in the fur or hair of their host, so evolution did away with the wings all together.

#4: Fleas have astonishing jumping skills that could even be described as super powers.  If only they used them for good!  Fleas can jump vertically to incredible heights or horizontally to great distances.  In addition, they accelerate as they jump up to speeds 50 times faster than a space shuttle.  Resilin is the most elastic substance in the world and the fleas have a little ball of it behind their hind legs.  Those small resilin deposits give fleas their extraordinary jumping abilities. 

#5: Originally ‘lapdogs’ were bred to keep fleas away from their owners.  That’s right: at first, lapdogs were used as a tool for stopping fleas from biting people.  It was not until years later that they became “man’s best friend.”  It is ironic that pet-owners today will go to such extreme measures to keep fleas off their dogs when lapdogs were originally used as a flea magnet. 

If fleas have become a nuisance for you or your pets, check in later for my article about flea prevention and protection for pets.   If you have any questions about fleas or if you are interested in our South Florida pest control services, please call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376.

Sources

Bapanna, Sastry. "FUN FLEA FACTS." KnowLedge-sastha. KnowLedge, 24 Jan. 2015. Web. <http://knowledge-sastha.blogspot.com/2015/01/fun-flea-facts.html>.

Donatelli., James. "25 Startling Flea and Tick Facts." PetCareRx, 01 Jan. 2011. Web. <https://www.petcarerx.com/article/25-startling-flea-and-tick-facts/116>.

Olesen, Jacob. "Fun With Fleas - 11 Fascinating And Surprising Flea Facts." FleaBites.net, 10 Aug. 2016. Web. <http://www.fleabites.net/fun-with-fleas-11-fascinating-and-surprising-flea-facts/>.

Tuttle, Robert. "Facts About Fleas and Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Fleas." OddRandomThoughts.com. Odd Random Thoughts, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. <http://oddrandomthoughts.com/interesting-facts-and-remedies-for-fleas/>.




 

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