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How to Identify Fleas

How to Identify Fleas. Fleas are small bugs approximately 1/4 inch in length that are often hard to see with the human eye. They are red-ish brown in color. Fleas move very quickly and they can hop up to 6 feet, but cannot fly. Fleas are parasites that live off the blood of a host.


Keep your grass cut short to make it a more hostile environment for fleas to live in.

Fleas are commonly found on dogs and cats, but also do bite humans.

  1. Find out if you have a flea problem in your yard by walking through the yard with your feet, ankles and calves exposed. Hungry fleas jump onto your feet or legs to bite you.

  2. Check your feet and legs for flea bites. Flea bites are small red bumps that look a lot like mosquito bites but are usually smaller. Flea bites are usually itchy.

  3. Look for brown, flat oval bugs that jump onto your body and move very quickly. Remember, fleas are very small and can be hard to see well. Usually, by the time your brain acknowledges the presence of a flea, the flea has jumped off.

  4. Catch a bug and try to squish it between your fingers. Fleas are hard bodied and typically can not be squished. If the bug squishes easily, it is not a flea.

  5. Inspect the fur of your dog or outdoor cat, if you own one. Fleas often gather around the animal's head and rear. Flea bites can be found on the soft skin of the dog's or cat's belly. Comb your pet while he is standing on a white piece of paper and look for small black dots on the paper that look like black pepper, that is the flea dirt. Moisten the black specks to see if they turn red. Flea dirt turns red when it gets wet because of the blood that the fleas eat.

  6. Trap a bug in a glass jar and bring it to a local garden center or to your vet's office for help identifying the bug and to find out if it is a flea.