Northern Rat Flea

Family Name

Nosopsyllus fasciatus

Characteristics

Type:

Jumping – Biting

Size:

The northern rat flea has an elongated body of 0.12 to 0.16 inches in length.

Colour:

Flattened, elongate body with red-brown colour.

Behaviour:

The northern rat flea is one of the most widespread flea species in the world. It receives its namesake from its preference of feasting on the blood of rats and house mice.

Habitats

All fleas prefer hot, humid environments in which to thrive. Although the northern rat flea primarily parasitises the norway rat. This species is found on domestic rats and house mice, common in temperate regions. The northern rat flea has occasionally been observed feeding on humans and wild rodents. It is a minor vector for plague and is known to be a host of the rat tapeworm.

Tips for Control

Controlling northern rat fleas begin with eliminating rats and mice within the structure. In addition, cleaning carpets with a steam cleaner should kill some of the larval fleas and also remove the bits of organic matter that accumulate in carpets that the larvae feed on. Insecticide spray treatments can be used in carpets to reduce numbers of fleas. Products on the market target the adult flea. Use growth regulators that prevent eggs from hatching and the larval fleas from pupating into adults that reproduce. Because these products do not kill adult fleas, products that contain both an insecticide and growth regulator are more effective. Foggers are basically total release aerosols. The insecticide is released into a mist which dissipates in the room. Unfortunately, foggers do not penetrate well where adult and larval fleas are hiding. In general, they provide poor flea control.