Img 1 Flea bites appear as papules, often in clusters of three. View more pictures.
This page provides a quick summary of flea bites, in the form of a FAQ. Click on the answers for detailed information, including citations.
Do flea bites appear in groups?
Yes, often groups of 3. Fleas probe the skin multiple times for a good feeding location. They may also get disturbed while feeding, causing them to seek a new nearby location.
Can flea bites blister?
Yes. But it isn’t the common reaction.
Can flea bites swell?
Yes. Swelling (edema) can accompany flea bites.
Do flea bites have pus in them?
No. But secondary infections can develop if the bites are scratched. The infections can result in pus-filled lesions.
Do flea bites scar?
Not usually, unless they’re picked at or scratched.
How do fleas feed?
Fleas are vessel feeders, exploiting blood pressure for rapid feeding. Their mouths consists of 3 needle-like stylets. The outer two pierce the skin, and the center stylet enters the capillary to draw blood. Anticoagulant saliva drips to the wound to help facilitate the process. Feedings last around 10 minutes.
Do male fleas bite?
Yes. Both sexes rely exclusively on blood for sustenance.
How much blood do fleas consume?
Fleas drink around 6.97 ul of blood per day. Females consume more than males, up to 13.6 ul of blood daily, which is over 15 times their body weight. The excess blood is excreted as feces, which feeds the larvae.
Why do flea bites itch?
Itching is caused by flea saliva, which contains antigens that trigger various immune responses. The itchiness causes pets to scratch themselves, which helps disperse eggs and flea feces (larval food) into the environment.
Can fleas bite through clothes?
Fleas can’t bite through most clothing. Exceptions are tight-fitting, thin fabrics.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions that weren’t addressed, and I’ll add them to the list.