If you’re like most humans, you’ll start scratching just with the mention of bed bugs. However, fleas bites on humans are only incidental.
But adult fleas will bite and suck blood from humans, cats, dogs and outdoor animals like opossums, foxes, and rodents both for survival and reproduction purposes.
So, in this post, I’ve answered this question “do fleas stay on humans?”
The short answer is, YES and NO! Cat fleas can survive and breed from feeding exclusively human blood. Female fleas must suck human blood for many hours to reproduce effectively. This is only possible in laboratory settings. Most fleas species can’t live in humans because we lack hair. But human fleas have elongated hind legs and measure about 1.5-3mm, which allows them to hide under the human skin for a bit longer. Overall, fleas will stay on humans for a maximum of 24 hours before jumping onto their preferred host like cats and dogs.
Let’s get into the details!
Preferred and Non-Prefered Hosts
Cat, dog or human fleas have different preferred hosts. Despite that all of them can feed on a non-preferred host, their fertility is significantly reduced. For example, the ovaries of the female fleas won’t develop fully when they feed on a non-preferred host.
Cat fleas (C. felis) won’t prefer humans as their primary hosts since such a diet wound reduce their fertility.
Notably, cat fleas are thought to have evolved match the chemical composition of ions and proteins in the cat’s blood, which allows them to have higher egg production.
Of the more than 2,000 flea species, only the human fleas will stay on humans for a bit long since it has adapted for that purpose – it has extended hind legs and measures about 1.5-3mm in their body length.
Cat Fleas’ Survival
Cat fleas will survive, but won’t adequately breed, just on a diet from human blood. For example, male and female fleas will remain alive for 17 and 30 days if fed at intervals of 10 minutes.
Further, feeding the fleas for 15 minutes per day will allow the fleas to survive for between 139-185 days. However, another research reported that fleas survived for 12 days feeding on human blood continuously – and the survival rate increased when the attendants added dog hair.
Will the fleas Bite Cause Allergic Reactions?
Humans and pets will react differently to flea bites. For example, some will show extra sensitivity on their skin, which is evidenced by skin lesions, severe itching, and allergic reaction.
On humans, flea bites may leave red welts that could be hard and small in size depending on the sensitivity of their skin. However, pets, on the other hand, could lose hair or vigorously scratch and bite their skin due to the resulting irritation.