Human flea

Human flea

Human flea

(Latin: Pulex irritans)

The human flea has become a rather rare insect, but in former times it was the constant companion of men of all classes. At one time the Chinese and others used flea traps made of ivory or bamboo which were gently warmed and placed between the sheets before they went to bed, the idea being that the fleas would crawl in and could then be easily killed. In the 14th-16th centuries ladies wore fur collars, known now as flea cravats, which were supposed to catch fleas, which could then be shaken out.

Nowadays when one acquires a human flea it is usually as a result of a visit to a pigsty. The human flea also thrives on pigs. There is little risk of this flea multiplying in a home.

Modern houses are much too clean and in particular too dry for the larvae to survive.