Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Black jumping bug biting a lot
QUESTION: Hi Jack,
My toddler is being bitten by something at home. It took us a while to finally find the culprit. However, we have no clue what it is. They are very tiny black bugs that jump when I try to catch them. When I press them on the floor they do not die easily. They are causing very itchy bumps on my toddler that stay a few days. I am attaching a zoomed picture of the bugs and also a picture of the bug next to my finger (just to give you an idea of the size).
Background: Live in Fremont, California, United States.
No pets at home. We have laminate/linoleum floor downstairs and carpet upstairs. I see them on the both the floors.
For some reason the images are not loading. Could you try to re-post them in a follow-up?
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QUESTION: Per your request, re-attaching pictures.
ANSWER: I'm still not getting the images. I think the problem may be at AllExperts. Let's wait a few hours and I'll check back to see if the images get through.
Images are now posted. However, I am a little stumped (does not happen often). Could you collect a few of these and take them to your county extension office in Alameda (http://cealameda.ucanr.edu/
)? Someone there or at UC Davis can examine them under a microscope. I can't see enough detail in the images to hazard a guess at the id. I'd be glad to discuss control once we have a firm id.
I had another thought, have you had a rodent problem lately? Perhaps a nest in the walls or something similar.
Ok, I've checked some other resources and I'm fairly certain this is the oriental rat flea. It would still be worthwhile to get the id confirmed through UC Davis. The fleas are coming from a rodent somewhere nearby such as a nest in the walls or under the house (or attic). Once the rodents are gone the fleas will go too since we are not a natural host for this flea species. Post a follow up if you have questions.
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QUESTION: Thanks Jack.
We do not have any rodent problem that we are aware of right now. But we will surely get our house inspected. Also, about a couple months ago we had a skunk problem in our backyard. The skunk and its 5 babies had setup a home behind a metal shed in our backyard. The county vector control guy came to our house, saw the situation and suggested that we wait till they all get out of our backyard and then close the way to the area behind the shed so that they will find a home elsewhere. (Our backyard doesn't have any fruit trees. We saw that the skunks would go somewhere every evening and then come back to our house). We did what he suggested. We saw the skunk trying to get back to the area behind our shed but after trying a little while it left with all its babies. We haven't seen it ever since. Could that be the source to these fleas? Or do you think we currently have rodent infestation in our house?
Sounds like you are in a semi-rural area so I would not be surprised if there's a rodent nest associated with the house. I'm not sure of the host range of this flea. Since you are finding the fleas indoors the nest is likely in the walls, subfloor or attic. If you have an animal control person treat the area be sure they don't kill the animal in the nest since this can cause odor as well as other problems. Once the nest and host animal are gone it should be fairly simple to eliminate the fleas with normal cleaning.