Fleas are a common ectoparasite that feed on the blood of both animals and humans in order to sustain themselves. World-wide, there are more than 2,200 species of fleas, the most common of which are the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis), the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), the human flea (Pulex irritans), and the rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis). Because of the health risk of disease transmission and the irritating, painful bite, understanding fleas is important.
Are Fleas Attracted to Me and Not Others?
Fleas that are hungry will not discriminate between hosts; this is often why when living with a pet, humans will also be targeted. However, it is possible for fleas to be attracted to one person and not another, and reactions to flea bites will vary from person to person.
Why Do Certain People Attract Fleas?
Reasons why some people attract more attention from fleas than others vary. Are fleas attracted to certain blood types? Is chemical make-up a factor in attraction? Some think that fleas send messages to other fleas, alerting nearby counterparts of a fresh, warm meal, which may be why some fleas swarm to one person as opposed to another, like being in the right place at the wrong time. This may also be linked to a theory that states that fleas are opportunistic, and bite those who are simply wearing less clothing to cover their skin.
Other theories suggest that chemical composition can affect flea attraction. Similar to how mosquitoes react to different people, skin secretions and the emission of gases may alert fleas to a more satiating meal in one person than in another, or alert the fleas of their presence quicker.
Fleas being attracted to different blood types, however, seems like a bit of a stretch and is often discredited because of the fact that fleas are nothing more than parasites. This means that fleas will not discriminate between any blood type because blood, in any variation, helps fleas to survive and sustain themselves.