Fleas are very small, yet they’re known to spread around. So how do they do it? Do fleas jump? And what’s behind those tiny little legs of theirs? Are they strong enough to carry fleas? Let’s find out!
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Can fleas jump?
Of course, they absolutely don’t fly, but do fleas jump? The answer to that is obviously yes. They’re masters of the high jump, being one of the biggest leapers in the animal kingdom. Their legs are built long and well adapted for ricocheting from one place to another.
According to a report from BBC Earth, fleas begin their jump by storing mechanical energy in a spring mechanism inside. That spring is connected to their powerful legs. Energy is released when both legs push the ground at the same time. With their aerodynamically shaped bodies, they can make jumps up to or even more than 7 inches (18 cm) vertically and 13 inches (33 cm) horizontally. That’s well over 100 times their own size. To view it from our own perspective, it’s like a human jumping almost the hight of the Empire State Building. So with that much leg power, it’s no wonder that they get round pretty easily.
How do you get them?
So fleas are good jumpers. But how do we get them anyway? Can they jump from one human to another?
In general, fleas are spread by humans and animals. Though it may not seem like it, there is actually a small percentage of fleas that hitchhike from human to human. If a person has been exposed to a flea infested area, some of these bugs will cling to his clothes, bags or shoes until he reaches another location with other people in them. The fleas may choose to stay with him or jump to another host. Additionally, the same human could also carry eggs and pupas by laying his clothes in the same flea infested area.
The most rampant flea spreader are animals, wild or domesticated. While adult fleas have been observed to jump from one host to another, a study on cat fleas concluded that most flea transfers are done by their eggs or pupas. They get spread around when they accidentally fall from feathers and fur, landing on new spots to invade. In fact, the study found that only 5% of adult fleas would jump to another host if it’s in a separate living space while 7.5% of them would do the same if the hosts are living together. In other words, most fully grown fleas prefer to stick to their first host. Flea eggs, on the other hand, get tossed around by animals that would wonder into new locations.
For more information how fleas get round, jump to our more detailed post here.
Where do they stay?
The small group of fleas that jump from host to host will most likely stay on the second host. However, the eggs or pupas can be tossed to locations we’d almost never try to check on. Here are some of those places.
- Leaf Piles. Wild animals usually get their fleas on leaf piles. Since piles are moist, cool, well protected from the elements and abundant with waste materials for consumption, they’re a haven for developing fleas.
- Wall cracks. Inspect wall cracks for fleas. The small gaps might have harbored a lot of these tiny jumping fugitives.
- Upholstery. Furniture is a very common shelter for fleas. They’re often found lounged between crevices until a host comes by.
- Beds. Bed bugs aren’t the only creatures that can live on your bed. Sometimes, they might even be blamed for flea bites. To check the difference, remember that bed bug bites are often sequential red bumps while flea bites are large and randomly placed.
How do you avoid getting fleas?
There’s really no telling when you’re going to get invaded by fleas with the amount of human or animal interaction that you get daily. However, you can protect your pets and family with simple home remedies and repelling methods. One method is to vacuum every inch of your house. If you do this regularly, you can suck out the pupas and eggs, steadily impacting their population until they’re completely gone.
So do fleas jump? Yes. But can you do something about? Definitely yes! If you’d like to know more about flea prevention, head over to our comprehensive guide here. It’s a complete account on how to get rid of fleas on humans, pets and on your yards. It also details how to prevent these bugs from coming in again.