Fleas are naturally tiny and catching them with bare hands can be a real hustle. Crushing them may take a lot of effort because they are adapted to resist weight. For them to survive on a host, they need to survive when pressed against a surface.
You can squash fleas but it will take lots of energy. Their bodies are flat and tough with a slippery exoskeleton. If you catch a flea, squeeze and roll it with your thumb against the index finger until it crashes. Alternatively, press and spin the flea against a surface until it pops.
The legs of a flea are adapted to hold firm on a host. As they bite and suck blood from their hosts, they cause irritation. This makes the host’s skin itchy and they will try to shake them off. The fact that it takes a lot of effort to squeeze them is an adaptation to survive on a host.
Do fleas have blood when you squish them?
Fleas will only have blood when you squash them if they have recently had a blood meal from a host. The blood is always stored in them for a while and crashing them open will spill it. If you squeeze a flea that has not sucked any blood, it will produce a bluish or a grey fluid.
However, even the fleas’ larvae may have blood even before feeding on a host. The bluish or greyish liquid that is produced when you burst a flea open is what they use as blood. They do not have red blood and what you may see as blood when you crash them is from their hosts.
The more a flea has feeds on a host, the more blood it will spill when it is squished. It is a myth to think that fleas have blood because scientifically, they do not contain any at all. Since young fleas (larvae) are not fully developed, squashing them may take less energy as compared to adult fleas.
There are very minimal chances of your body crushing a flea if you sleep on it. If you find blood on your bed sheets or clothes, it could be caused by flea bites. Adult fleas cannot be squeezed to death if you sleep on an infested bed.
How to squish a flea with your fingers
To squash a flea by stepping on it, press and rub it against the floor. However, this is impossible since It will hop in a flash. Even if the flea is in your shoe, your foot will not squish it as you walk. Stepping on a flea will not crash it if you really want it dead.
Fleas have a flat body that is pressed against a surface. This helps them to hold on tight when they sense danger. Since fleas don’t squish easily, you have to press while rolling at the same time. If you are lucky to catch a flea and you want to squeeze it, here is what to do:
- Grab the fleas using the thumb and the index finger
- Ensure it is well gripped in there
- Squeeze as hard as you can while rolling it until it pops
- Clean the area with white vinegar and soapy water
- Wash your hands with soap and water
After squeezing the fleas, ensure disinfect your hands with methylated spirit. Alternatively, use white vinegar to avoid spreading any bacteria in them. You can also use sanitizers to clean any surface that you have squeezed the flea on.
Can you squish flea eggs?
Flea eggs can be easily squished because they do not have a hard outer layer. This makes them very weak and easy to crash. However, those eggs are very tiny. Since they are not very sticky, they will always fall off from the host. This makes it very difficult to pick them up or squeeze them.
Among all the insects you can think of, fleas are categorized under those with extra delicate and soft eggs. The outer flea eggshell appears to be whitish and is made of a layer known as the chorion. Those eggs are also the size of a sand grain thus there is nothing tough about them.
Even if you accidentally step on flea eggs, they will not crash. An infested carpet will have dozens of those if you have dirty indoor pets. Fleas eggs will always fall off the host after the female lays them.
Pests will always scratch on flea bites and they can also easily crush their eggs. However, it is difficult for them to scratch or squeezes fleas when scratching. Adult fleas will always move as close as possible to the body where they can hold and suck blood.
Is it safe to squish fleas?
It is not safe to hold and squish a flea because it may contain a dangerous bacteria known as Rickettsia Typhi. When you squeeze a flea to death, this bacteria may remain on your finger and cause a disease known as flea-borne typhus.
Fleas have this bacteria because they feed on pets or pests i.e. cats and rats. Here is where they get the bacteria that can be harmful to you and your household. If you rub the bites or your eyes with your fingers after squashing an infected flea, you may get the infection.
Instead of catching fleas and squeezing them, you can use DIY solutions like baking soda for fleas. Those pests are also very tiny. Finding them on a dull surface or a dark room is almost impossible unless you know how to use UV rays to trap and kill fleas.
The infection from squashing fleas can cause loss of appetite, fever, and serious muscle pains. Never use your bare hands to squeeze fleas if you want to avoid the Flea-borne (murine) typhus infection. There is also no point in catching and crashing fleas because the chances of holding one are almost zero.
Calina Mabel has over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism and communications. Currently, Calina Mabel is the Content Writer for categories such as Cockroach, Ants, Bed Bugs, Mosquito, Rodent, Termite, and Flies on Pestweek.com. She aims to build content for these categories with a focus on providing valuable and accessible information to readers, in order to create the world’s largest knowledge community about Pests.
All content written by Calina Mabel has been reviewed by Emily Carter.