This article seeks to clarify one of the most common question of whether fleas have wings? Can fleas actually fly or jump? How do fleas actually move around?
Knowing your enemy is half the battle won. At the end of this article, you will know more about how fleas actually move around. We’ve also included many relevant links to other articles on the website where applicable to help you in your battle against fleas.
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Do Fleas Have Wings?
No. Believe it or not, fleas do not have wings.
Like all other ectoparasites (parasites that lives on the surface of its host), like bedbugs and lice, Fleas lack wings to take flight.
You may be wondering, if fleas are actually wingless, how do these tiny ‘suckers’ actually move so quickly. Especially given their microscopic body size, how do they even manage to get on my fast moving pet dog or even get onto humans.
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Can Fleas Jump?
Fleas gets from place to place by relying on their outstanding ability to jump onto their host (i.e moving pet dog, pet cat, small wildlife animals and even humans). Their strong hind legs have the ability to jump vertically for up to 18cm high! Horizontally, they are able to jump forward to almost 35cm far!
These distances might not sound like alot to us humans, but considering the tiny size of fleas, this is insanely high and far. In fact, fleas are one of the few living things on earth that have this type of outstanding jumping ability.
>> Related article: Where Do Fleas Come From?
How Do Fleas Jump?
Flea’s ability to jump so high and far is more than just credits to their strong and long hind legs. On top of muscle power, fleas also rely greatly on Resilin – an elastomeric protein that provides soft rubber-elasticity that enables many insects and arthropods to pivot and jump upwards and forward.
Here’s a video that captures a Flea’s jump in super slow-motion:
Fun-Fact It is believed that Fleas actually used to have functional wings, many decades ago (about 60 million years to be exact). Evidence shows that Fleas might have descended from ancestors that has the ability to take flight.
Due to the nature where Fleas actually stays in the same host throughout their lifespan, their ancestors find having Wings and needing to take flight not only unnecessary, but are somewhat a handicap. Hence they eventually lost the wings as they evolved.
It is believed that Fleas actually used to have functional wings, many decades ago (about 60 million years to be exact). Evidence shows that Fleas might have descended from ancestors that has the ability to take flight.
How Do Fleas Move About?
Without wings, fleas rely on their jumping ability to hitch onto moving pets, animals and humans to go from one place to another (see article: Fleas on Humans). They hitch onto pet dogs, cats and even bunnies in the garden and yard, wild animals like rats and mice, and even humans (i.e clinching onto our socks and shoes).
>> Related article: Best Outdoor Flea Treatment
Bugs with Wings That Looks Like Fleas
Now that we know that Fleas are actually wingless, you can be sure that when you spot bugs in at home or in the yard that look like fleas flying around, you’ll know it’s definitely something other than fleas.
Some of the most common types of small flying bugs that looks like fleas are gnats, fruit fly or even small flies. Bugs like the Cigarette beetle actually have wings (but cannot fly), also looks like fleas.
So there you have it, a short and quick article to answer the question once and for all. Now that you know that Flea’s can’t fly, there should be a certain sense of relief. That said, with Flea’s ability to jump onto host, they can easily get into your house.
>>Also read: 6 Best Flea Carpet & Rug Sprays
It is always best to wash your pet that came from outside, and to keep footwear and socks near the door instead of wearing them into the house. As with any pest problems, prevention is better than cure, and that it is always easier to control when the problem is identified early.
Have you always thought that Fleas can fly? Are you facing any flea problems are home that your are sure they hitched onto your pet or family member home? Leave a comment to share with us.