Suspected Flea Dirt

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QuestionsCategory: OtherSuspected Flea Dirt
Tony asked 1 year ago
  • Sir/Ma’am,

My dogs and I are being bitten, primarily at night.  There are tiny black specks resembling pepper where we sleep, which I thought might be flea dirt.  However, it fails the traditional flea feces test, meaning is does not turn red after being placed on a damp paper towel or tissue.  It does not even dissolve in alcohol, but remains solid. Sometimes the “pepper flakes” are quite large, about the size of donut sprinkles.  My dogs do not have fleas living on them, and we’ve been unable to catch or even see what’s biting us.  My question is, to your knowledge, are there nesting fleas whose feces does not turn red when tested?

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 1 year ago

Fleas of larger mammals, such and dogs and cats, aren’t nesting fleas. The adults live permanently on their host. There are some species of fleas that live in an animal’s nest and not of the host body. However, these species mostly parasitize small rodents and won’t be found on dogs or cats.

Flea dirt, of all species, will dissolve red in water, or smear red on damp cloth. The dampened black specks will reconstitute into host blood, of which it’s composed.

The large flakes definitely aren’t flea dirt. Flakes the size of donut sprinkles would be larger than the fleas themselves. This sounds like a problem unrelated to fleas.

Adam Retzer Staff replied 1 year ago

(Tony I’m adding the comment in here, since you emailed me but other users may have an answer. And a picture is always useful.)

Thank you for the information. Sincerely appreciated. If anyone has any ideas as to what is causing the tiny black specks and sometimes bigger spherical-shaped specks, wherever my dogs rest, please let me know. I have bites on me that are two months old and have left what appears to be permanent red spots.

I can send pics of what I’m finding.