Skip to Content

Do Fleas Bite Humans?

Man wearing a white shirt against a blue background scratching one arm with the opposite hand.

Unfortunately, yes, fleas do bite humans. Flea bites are painful and can be quite itchy. They occur when fleas bite humans, either while they are resting in the home or on the skin of a pet. The bite is typically painless and may be noticed as red bumps or an area that feels swollen, itchy, and raised. If a person is bitten by a flea, there is the possibility of infection in their wound and possible secondary infection if bacteria get into an open wound.

If you find yourself having to deal with a flea infestation, it’s important to treat the problem quickly because fleas can lay eggs and start new infestations quickly. There are several things you can do to help prevent future infestations: sanitize your home regularly, vacuum up as much debris as possible every day, use insecticide-treated bedding and clothing, and remove any dead animals from your yard immediately.

For more information about flea bites on humans, continue reading our article.

Can Fleas Bite Humans?

Yes, they can and they do bite humans. Sometimes they will bite you three times in a row. The experts on fleas call this trend breakfast, lunch, and supper. Humans are not their preferred target but they will do when there are no animals in the area.

Once they bite you, you may or may not feel the bite. It will depend on how often you are bit and how long you are exposed to fleas. You can develop a hypersensitivity to flea bites which means you will react in some way.

If you are bitten by fleas, the bites may remain visible for a few days before disappearing. Unless you have an allergic reaction to fleas and their bites or scratch those bites repeatedly. Then the bite marks may remain longer.

Do not scratch the bites as they may also become infected and you would need to get serious treatment. You will want to treat them properly as the risk of disease is always there when a flea bites you or your pets.

Talk to your doctor to see what is the best treatment options you have available.

Where Do Fleas Bite Humans?

Person outdoors in grass, scratching their bare calf with one hand

The good news is that fleas do not travel far when they are looking for food. Your upper body is usually safe from flea bites unless you are lying down and your bed is infested with these insects.

Normally, fleas bite you around the legs, ankles, and feet. The reason they target those areas is because that is the part of the body they are close to when they jump on you.

Fleas hang out on low-lying plants, tall grass, flowers, and other low vegetation and do not crawl very far to get their food. They actually do not have to travel far as the blood they need is right in those locations.

Once they bite you may or may not see the little red marks they leave behind. The good thing is you should not see any lesions unless you are exposed to flea bites for a very long time.

The best thing to do when walking through vegetation is to wear long pants so the fleas cannot get to your skin very easily. While they can walk, they do not always walk very far.

When a flea bites a human, what happens? Check out our post “What happens if humans get flea bites?” to lean more.

Can You Feel Fleas Crawling?

Close up of a flea sitting in the palm of a hand

It is possible to feel fleas crawling on your skin. However, that feeling may be more of a sensation than actually feeling the fleas walk or crawl up your body.

This sensation is called formication and it’s a feeling that bugs are crawling all over you or even under your skin. Then you will react to this feeling by scratching the area.

When you get this feeling it may not be a false sensation. You may have fleas crawling over you. Generally, fleas are very light and you may not actually feel them.

If you have very delicate skin it may be possible to feel the fleas but their lightweight and minute size make it hard to determine the difference between the sensation and the actual walking.

Fleas prefer to jump as well. They can cover long distances, for fleas that are, and that is often their preferred mode of travel since they do not fly. Fleas can jump between 7 inches high and 12 inches in length.

It is easy to see why they would prefer jumping to crawling. The feeling you get should tell you that bugs are on your body but it may not be an actual flea crawling feeling.

Where Do Fleas Hide on Humans?

Woman placing clothes in a box

Fleas will hide in clothing for the most part. Clothing provides excellent hiding places since humans do not have fur. They also do not like to crawl or climb very much. That is why they remain on your lower body parts instead of getting to your upper body.

If you find fleas in your hair, then you probably laid down somewhere fleas were infesting. You gave them an easy and they remain there until they are ready to jump off.

Fleas do not like to live on humans and are more likely to eat a meal and jump off as quickly as they can. They prefer animal hosts where they can hide better and lay their eggs easier.

You should not see fleas in your hair or other hairy areas on your body under normal circumstances. If you discover fleas in those areas, it is not hard to get rid of them All you have to do is use the right anti-flea products and they will be gone in no time.

What Do Flea Bites Look Like on A Human?

Close up of insect bits on skin

These bites are like many other skin issues that you can get. The flea bites are small and usually, they are reddish in color. Just like a growing pimple or other skin issues. You may confuse them with mosquito bites.

Also, you may find them in a little circle or just in odd-shaped groupings. These bites look the same when different flea species bite you except for one. The chigoe flea has a different style to it.

When the chigoe flea bites you, it may not appear for several days or even longer periods of time. This gives the chigoe flea ample opportunity to continue feeding off you as you do not know they are there until the swelling appears.

Once it does, you will need to seek medical care to help you get rid of both the fleas and the swelling. You may also have to apply some strong anti-flea remedies to your home to keep this reaction from happening again.

Or contact a professional to help get rid of those fleas in all of their hiding places.

What bit you while you were sleeping? Could it be a flea? Check out our post “Do Fleas Bite Humans at Night?” to learn more.

What Attracts Fleas to Humans?

Person sleeping in white linens with bare legs exposed

The only thing that really attracts fleas to humans is that they do not have any other host nearby to feed off of or hide on. Since humans do not have fur like animals or feathers like a bird, humans are only a temporary stop in their lives.

The most common flea species in America is the cat flea and they only jump on for a quick snack or two then they jump off you quickly. It is said that it would take 12 hours of constant feeding for a female flea to lay a fertilized egg.

By that time, most humans would find the fleas and get rid of them. Also, fleas do not have very good hiding places on humans. The animals around the neighborhood, including your pets, provide ample feeding and hiding opportunities.

Plus, it takes about 1 bite for the female flea to lay viable eggs. Animals including birds are the fleas’ preferred hosts and they will leap on them at a moment’s notice.

In human terms, you are only the coffee or doughnut shop in the life of a flea. Their restaurants are birds, wild animals, and your pets.

How Long Can Fleas Live on Humans?

Flea on a human body hair

The best answer that can be given is not very long. Humans are not designed or shaped in a way that enables fleas to live for very long on their bodies. Plus, humans are not their preferred food supply.

We do well in a flea emergency but if a better and preferred host walks by, the fleas will leave very quickly. Fleas cannot hide on humans for very long nor can they feed for the amount of time they need to in order to produce viable eggs.

The hygienic habits of humans allow people to find and get rid of fleas long before 12 hours have expired. While it is possible for humans to get fleas in their hair, fleas do not tend to stay long in that location either.

The only real way they get into your hair is if you lay down in a flea-infested area. Fleas do not like to walk very much and they tend to stay near the lower regions of your body.

The best thing to do to avoid getting fleas in your hair is to watch where you lay down.

How To Get Rid of Fleas on Humans

Shower head with water running

One of the best ways to get rid of fleas is to take a bath or a shower. Fleas cannot swim thus they drown before they make it to the side of the tub. Or they are flushed down the drain before they get out of the water.

The next best way to get rid of fleas on humans is to take preventive action. Wash your bedding, and vacuum the carpets, furniture, floors, and mattresses is a good start on preventing fleas from reaching your body.

Next would be to treat the fleas on your beds using different methods. Then wash their bedding to make sure fleas do not have a safe place to live. Or you can spray some safe bug spray on your skin to keep the fleas away or rid yourself of those that are already there.

Another safe option would be to make a flea trap out of dish soap and water. The soap attracts the fleas and holds onto them until they drown. There is any number of ways to get rid of fleas once they attach themselves to your body. You just have to pick one.

Some Final Words

Store shelf displaying flea shampoo products

Fleas are small, oval-shaped insects that usually live on the bodies of animals. They are parasitic and feed upon blood, which makes them very important to some animals and humans.

Fleas have 3 stages of life: egg, larva (larvae), and adult. Female fleas lay their eggs on the skin of their animal host (usually a dog, cat, or rabbit).

Once inside the host, fleas develop into an adult form. They feed on blood until adulthood and then they leave the host. If you want to avoid getting bitten by fleas, you should use flea shampoo or other insecticide-treated products weekly to keep them away.

You can buy these products from your local pet store or from online retailers. If you want to treat your home, try to find out if anyone in your family has a pet that is prone to flea bites. If you do have a pet that is prone to flea bites, you can use a flea powder that is specifically made to kill fleas.

It should be applied to your pet’s fur at least once a week and preferably once a month. A few drops of liquid per day will help keep them away for about a month. Make sure that the product covers the entire body and does not get wet. It is also important to make sure that the house is thoroughly treated before you allow your pet back inside.

You should also make sure that the environment is kept well-vent.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.