What Do Flea Bites Look Like?

A close-up photo of a brown and black flea resting on a human finger.

Many pet owners are familiar with the hazards fleas pose to animals’ health and comfort, but cats and dogs aren’t the only ones plagued by these itch-inducing insects. Since fleas are drawn to body heat, vibrations, movement, and the carbon dioxide in blood, it isn’t surprising that they feast on nearby humans as well. We’ll explain how to tell if a mark found on a furry or two-legged family member came from a bite by a flea.

What do flea bites look like on humans?

Fleas usually prefer animals but will bite people out of sheer convenience. Flea bites on humans look similar to mosquito bites — however, fleas generally target the ankles and lower legs, while mosquitoes will bite anywhere they can find exposed skin.

Fleas feast on our blood by clamping onto our bodies with the strong claws on the bottoms of their six legs and piercing the skin with their mouthparts. After being bit by a flea, you will notice that the area will produce a small, raised bump that is red or pink in color and is surrounded by a halo. Flea bites may come in clusters, or appear in a straight line down your skin.

A bite by a flea is usually harmless, but allergic reactions and secondary infections can occur. Allergic reactions to flea bites cause swelling and itching at the site as the immune system delivers histamine to areas where we’re bitten.

Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

Flea bites on humans may be confused with bed bug bites as well. The two types of pests have different feeding habits but leave behind similar small, raised, red marks that may be clustered in one spot on your body.

After hiding out in your bedding, mattress, furniture, baseboards, and other nooks and crannies, bed bugs wait until you’re fast asleep to safely feast on your blood. However, instead of sticking to the lower region of your body like fleas do, bed bugs tend to dine on your arms, neck, face, hands, and torso.

Like bites by fleas, bed bug bites can trigger allergic reactions, resulting in itchiness and irritation that’s worsened by scratching. But bed bugs, despite carrying dozens of pathogens, don’t transmit diseases like fleas can. Fleas spread maladies ranging from tapeworms and other parasites to typhus, cat-scratch disease, and even plague.

What do flea bites look like on pets?

An abundance of fur makes spotting flea bites on pets more difficult than on fellow human beings. Here are some tips on how to spot and protect your nonhuman family members from these biting menaces:

Flea combs are your best weapons when trying to protect your nonhuman family members.

Flea Bites on Dogs

To see if Fido is plagued by fleas, we recommend using a flea comb to part your dog’s fur and look for little raised spots on the skin. Be aware that the spots can get bigger as dogs scratch the itchy dots. Since they sites can be hard to spot, look for these other signs of flea bites on dogs:

  • Scabs
  • Fur loss
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Gnawing and biting at the skin

The most common areas for flea bites on dogs are the ears, neck, abdomen, lower back, and tail base, so make sure that you check these areas if you notice your pet scratching at them more than usual. We also recommend purchasing a flea collar or other home flea treatment for your pet to reduce the chance that they pick one of these parasites up while roaming around outside.

Flea Bites on Cats

Similar to dogs, cat flea bites are also small and red, often with a crusty center. Cats show the same symptoms of infestation as dogs, but due to their penchant for grooming your feline pets may lick so much that fleas fall off before you can find them. You may find “flea dirt,” or dried blood that lightens from black to a brown color before turning red on your cat. If you notice signs of flea dirt on your cat, it may be an indication that you need to treat your property for a greater infestation.

Conquer Your Flea Outbreak with McCall Service

Fleas are a very pesky pest to deal with, for both yourself and your furry companions. At McCall Service, our only goal is to do everything in our power to protect you from a pest infestation — if you suspect fleas have invaded your home or yard, we can help. As a family-owned and operated company in business since 1928, we have decades of experience treating and preventing flea outbreaks in communities across Florida and Savannah, GA. Whether its preventative services to your yard or a full extermination across your property, McCall Service has your back — contact us for a free quote today!

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