Fleas are insects. There are about 70 different species in Central Europe. Fleas are only two to four millimeters long. They don’t have wings, but they are excellent at jumping: up to a meter wide. Fleas have a shell made of a material similar to that of mussels. It is therefore difficult to crush them. Fleas are closely related to lice.
Fleas live on the blood of animals or humans. To do this, they bite and stab through the skin with their hard mouthparts. Such animals are called parasites. The bitten person or animal is called the host. The bite causes severe itching in the host. You like to scratch it. But that doesn’t help and makes the itching worse.
There are two groups of fleas: fur fleas and nest fleas. The fur fleas live in the fur of their host, for example on rats, cats, or dogs. Nest fleas, on the other hand, like to live in our carpets, upholstered furniture, or beds. From there they only jump on people to suck their blood. Then they go back to their hiding place.
Fleas are not only annoying but also dangerous: they can transmit diseases through their saliva. The worst of these is the plague, which kept coming back in the Middle Ages. With us, however, the plague flea has been as good as eradicated. Today there are good remedies for other fleas at the doctor’s or in the pharmacy. However, it is best to pay close attention to cleanliness.
There are even flea circuses, which of course are much smaller than regular circuses. The artists are mostly just human fleas. Such fleas are larger than others and therefore easier to see, especially the females.