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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/How did a flea get into my apartment?


QUESTION: I moved in last year to a newly built apartment building in Manhattan, NY.  I just woke up this morning and noticed a tiny black bug crawling across my bathroom and it would jump out of the tissue I was holding whenever I tried crushing it.  I'm very nervous, as my apartment is new and I live in a pretty clean environment.  
Is it possible that the flea followed me home on my sweater or something? There is a dog on my floor but it lives way down the hall and it seems like a stretch for a single flea to have traveled that distance into my apartment.  
How did it get in, and how do I make sure fleas stay out? This is my first problem with bugs; at first I thought it was a tiny cockroach...I have no clue! Should I be worried about more fleas, if this is the only one I have ever seen?

ANSWER: Kristen,

Can you post a picture? This does not really sound like a flea (see for pictures of fleas).

Jack DeAngelis

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bug image 2  
QUESTION: Hello Jack,

This is as close as I could get to the bug while keeping the camera in focus.  I trapped the bug under a cup for a day while I was at work, and I guess it turned over and died in there.  Bear in mind, this insect is really tiny! almost the size of a fruit fly.


I can't tell for sure whether or not this is a flea the image is just too small. If it is a flea then it was in apartment before you moved in, which seems unlikely since this sounds like a new apartment building. Are you the first renter in your apartment? In any case a single flea (if it is a flea) should not be a concern and whatever this is has probably already died off. If you find more of the same insect post a follow up and we'll continue to try and narrow down the id.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.


20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.


Ph.D. in Entomology

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