Fleas are blood-sucking ectoparasites of humans and domestic animals all over the world. More than 2,200 species of fleas have been identified worldwide, but only about 30 species are found in Missouri. Humans are affected by few of these species. The most common species in Missouri is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Figure 1), but we also occasionally encounter the dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis; the human flea, Pulex irritans; and the oriental rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis. An understanding of flea control is important because of their worldwide distribution, abundance, irritating bite and ability to transmit diseases.
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