Commonly known as the Oriental rat flea or the tropical rat flea is, as the name suggests, a parasite of rodents, primarily rats.
The Rat Flea is a vector for the bubonic plague and typhus and has been known to infect humans with these diseases – in fact, it is widely considered the primary cause of the ‘black plague’ epidemic in the 14th century. They pass these diseases through their own generations via their eggs.
Not as common as a cat or dog flea this is a tiny flea at only 2.5mm and is typically light brown in colour until after feeding when it becomes darkened. They can live for around a year.
Rat fleas do not fly and instead, jump from one meal to the next – as much as 200 times their own length.
Due to the disease that they can spread this flea must be rigorously exterminated. The best way to ensure this of course If by controlling rat and mice populations in or around our homes and businesses.
Fleas have a four-stage life cycle from egg to larva to pupa and then to adult. This makes it difficult to completely eradicate them as catching each of the four stages of development is required. In colder climates, the pupa stage can last up to a year awaiting the right conditions.
The adult flea can live on average 100 days but have been known to live more than three times that. The longer they live the greater chance of them carrying and transmitting disease.