Stick-tight Flea

Family Name

Echidnophaga gallinacea

Characteristics

Type:

Jumping – Biting

Size:

They measure about 0.12 inches in length.

Colour:

Dark brown.

Behaviour:

Commonly known as the hen flea, chicken flea, stick-fast flea and stick-tight flea. Occurs on a wide range of bird and mammal hosts. If uncontrolled, it causes anaemia, loss of condition, severe skin irritation and sometimes death.

These wingless fleas are not too fussy about the hosts they attach to. They are capable of jumping onto furniture and attaching themselves to humans. Once they have found an incidental host, they remain attached to it for prolonged periods of time. They tend to be rather difficult to remove as they embed firmly in the host’s skin.

Habitats

The stick-tight flea is found worldwide in the tropics, subtropics and temperate zones.

Stick-tight fleas are known to affect and infest mainly the poultry as primary host. However, it is not uncommon to see them on other birds, cats, dogs, humans, horses, rodents, rabbits, pigs, etc. The fleas attach themselves to the hairless parts of the animal’s body such as areas around the eyes, anus, etc.

Tips for Control

Antibiotic treatment of the feeding site is crucial. Although these fleas are not known to transmit diseases, it is important to avoid infections that are present in an environment that includes farm and/or outside animals. Triple antibiotic ointment is an acceptable treatment. To rid your yard or farm of stick-tight fleas and/or larvae; pesticides geared towards fleas should do the trick. But remember, if you are threatening an area that is frequented by animals, make sure that the insecticide will not harm them. Treating stick-tight fleas can be tricky, as they embed tightly into the host’s skin. Animals should be treated by a qualified veterinarian. Removal of attached fleas in humans requires grasping the flea firmly with tweezers and pulling from the skin. If the infestation is considerable, consult a physician.