[column width=”1/3″ place=”first” ] [/column] [column width=”2/3″ place=”last” ]Fleas are the common name for any of the small wingless insects of the order Siphonaptera. Fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of mammals and birds. Genetic and morphological evidence indicates that they are descendants of the Scorpionfly family Boreidae, which are also flightless; accordingly it is possible that they will eventually be reclassified as a suborder within the Mecoptera. In the past, however, it was most commonly supposed that fleas had evolved from the flies (Diptera), based on similarities of the larvae. In any case, all these groups seem to represent a clad of closely related insect lineages, for which the names Mecopteroidea and Antliophora have been proposed.
Fleas feed directly on humans or other warm blooded animals, mainly dogs and cats. A flea can jump 7 to 8 inches vertically and 14 to 16 inches horizontally. A skin reaction to a flea bite appears as a slightly raised and red itchy spot and sometimes these sores bleed. Fleas usually require warm, humid conditions to develop. Due to the flea cycle and weather conditions, many people don’t realize they have a flea problem until they return home from vacation or after moving to a new place and are confronted by hungry fleas. There are several types of fleas, but the most common is the cat flea, even on dogs. Fleas are attracted to body heat, movement, and exhaled carbon dioxide.