Fleas on Humans (Pulex Bites, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment TIPS)

human hair fleas

Fleas are not just annoying insects that cause damage to your house or garden. This kind of insects is really irritating and it carries a lot of diseases that could harm humans. Fleas are a serious danger to the human body. Well, maybe you are wondering now how a flea can live on a human body?

As there are rat fleas, dog fleas, cat fleas and all the flea species that live on animals. There is a single species that can invade a human body. For that, you should consider yourself as a possible target to a flea.

  • What is a human flea?
  • What are its behavior and physical characteristics?
  • Can fleas live in human hair?
  • What are the symptoms and signs of human flea infestation?
  • How to avoid human fleas?
  • How to get rid of human fleas?

Human flea

The human flea is a single species of 2000 species of fleas in the world. This flea is scientifically called “Pulex Irritans”. This species of fleas originated in South America where it used to invade peccaries or Guinea pigs. Human fleas don’t really live on people; they just accept the human body as a host. This is especially observed in humans who live in tropical and temperate climates.

Behavioral and physical characteristics of human fleas

Human fleas, exactly like other insects, have special physical characteristics and particular behavior.

Physical characteristics

  • The lifecycle of a flea is so easy, it starts with an egg, then a larva, then a pupa and ends with an adult mature flea ready for mating and reproduction.
  • Human fleas and pet fleas are mostly similar, a single male human flea is 2.5mm long and a female is 3.5mm due to the long abdomen used for carrying the huge number of eggs (up to 400 eggs).
  • Generally, human fleas are brownish red little beings with 6 legs and a mouth mandible used for biting and sucking.
  • Pulex Irritans are wingless and they have a compressed body which gives them the shape of a grain of wheat.

Behavioral characteristics

  • Human flea’s behavior is not really special. They are not as socialized as other types of insects which build their own nest and form colonies in the infected location. Human fleas just move from one nest to another when it is not comfortable anymore.
  • Human fleas live for around 12 weeks: after the first 4 weeks, the larva leaves the nest in research of warm-blooded victims.
  • Human fleas like to live in warmth and shelter, with an appropriate food source near to the nest which is commonly human hair of pet fur. For that, they will invade your body as soon as they find a way to settle on your head, in your armpits, or even in other hairy places.
  • Human fleas are different from lice, but they have the same food: blood, whether it is human or animal, they just love to feed on blood.
  • Fleas bite the human skin to reach the blood and it can cause many diseases as these insects carry viruses and microbes.

Fleas in human hair

The human hair is considered the perfect shelter for Pulex Irritans, exactly like pet fur. That’s why human fleas take off the hairy locations of a nest and invade it causing a lot of problems.

  • First, fleas in human hair can be a very bad embarrassment: You don’t want to go to school, to work, or even sit at a bar and you move your hand, making people see fleas in your armpits, in your hair, or even on your clothes. That is embarrassing.
  • Second, human fleas are dirty insects and don’t like water or shampoo, so you need to be as very clean as possible to avoid attracting fleas to your hair.

Girls with long hair suffer from a potential danger of flea invasion, and the only thing they care for is their haircut and their beautiful look. Therefore, they need to know that human fleas are more likely to invade their hair and make huge colonies inside it, and that, they can ruin it. And you will need to cut it.

Symptoms and signs of fleas on humans

Learning about the symptoms and signs of fleas on humans can help you estimate the danger and prevent fleas, or identify the bites of a flea to start treating it if the danger has already taken place. Well, human fleas bite your skin to get away to your blood, they just implant their mandibles and make a tiny bite which is hard to identify, but here are some symptoms and signs of human flea bites:

Video explaining the difference between bed bug and flea bits (get a pest inspection regardless though).

Itchy bites

Human flea bites can be, extremely, itchy and painful to the human body. Besides they are so irritating and annoying.

Reddish bites

Human flea bites are, always, accompanied by reddish spots on the skin that can be discovered together (you will find many reddish spots in the same little location) due to the excessive biting of a Pulex Irritant.

Well-targeted areas

Human fleas choose their target very carefully, the warmest places are, usually, the most invaded locations but fleas can also target the legs and feet of the human body, but they can also be found on arms and in the whole body.


Flea bites leave an unpleasant swell over the skin and may be identifiable to other people. By that, your good-looking may fade for a few weeks.

Secondary bacterial infections

Human fleas can cause several bacterial infections, as they carry a lot of dangerous contagious diseases: plague, murine typhus and Rickettsiosis.

Human flea bites are similar to those of a mosquito, but in general they are way smaller, and they can be scratched to cause bleeding. Many people don’t distinguish fleas from mosquitos; therefore, visiting a doctor should be necessary if you get bitten by an insect.

How to avoid human fleas

As human fleas cause serious nuisance, avoiding them is necessary to prevent their danger and stop some unpleasant consequences from happening.

Cleanliness: Take a daily shower or even twice a day to assure that no flea invasion can stay in your body, keep washing your clothes regularly and drying them, keep cleaning the house, especially carpets as flea eggs can be laid on the carpet, and the most important thing, keep cleaning your pets especially dogs and cats if you have so, and take them to the vet regularly.​

Medication: fleas can be, also, avoided through medication. Medicating your pet by a vet will guarantee a safe pet which is resistant to human flea invasions.​

Getting rid of human fleas

If a human flea invasion has taken place, immediate treatment should begin to control these insects and exterminate them. Before exterminating human fleas, they must be treated and, totally, removed from the human body.​

Treating human fleas

Natural treatment of fleas should, first, take place: it guarantees the safeness of your environment with its non-toxic substances. Many natural treatments could be homemade such as using lotion cream like Aloe Vera, calamine and many others to calm itchiness and pain.

Baking Soda and water can, also, be effective in a case of hair invasion: a girl can bake a can of soda with 2 cups of water and pass the mixture through her hair. After 15 minutes of processing: adult fleas and eggs should be dead, therefore, use hot water to wash your hair and exterminate these insects.

Many anti-itch creams can be used in such case to decrease pain and swelling.

Video explaining how to get rid of fleas in a house naturally

Exterminating human fleas

Many products could be used to, totally, exterminate fleas of your house:

Flea spray

Treating the infected corners of your house with a flea spray could be useful to kill fleas with the toxic lethal substance it contains.

  • The best flea spray product is Vet’s Best Natural Flea + Tick Home Spray, 32 oz for sale on Amazon for only $9.

Flea bomb

When you think your house is ruined because of fleas and you, frequently, identify some fleas jumping on your carpet. You must, probably, use the flea bomb: put the flea bomb in the middle of the room, cover the furniture and release the trigger and leave the room for a day, all fleas would be dead in that room.

  • The best flea bomb product is Hot Shot 20177 No-Mess! Fogger, 3-Count for sale on Amazon only for $10.

Flea trap

If you don’t want to get dead flea bodies all over your house, then you should use flea traps that attract fleas and kill them with toxic ingredients.

  • The best flea trap product is Victor M230 Ultimate Flea Trap for sale on Amazon for only $14.

Or you can try making your own flea trap. Here’s a video that shows how to make a simple flea trap at home.

Video explaining a DIY flea trap

Frequently Asked Questions about human fleas

  • What do flea bites look like on humans?
  • How do get rid of fleas on humans?
  • What attracts fleas to humans?
  • How to treat fleas in human hair?
  • Can fleas live on people?
  • Can humans get fleas?
  • Can fleas spread diseases to humans?
  • What is the difference between flea bites vs bed bug bites on humans?
  • How do you get rid of fleas on human skin?
  • How can you get rid of fleas on humans easily and inexpensively?
Categorized as Fleas

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at NeverPest.com. I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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