Fleas are quite small (no larger than 1/8th of an inch), a reddish-brown color, and devoid of wings. They live on and feed off of the blood of their hosts with their piercing mouth parts.
Although fleas mostly live on pets and animals, they can bite humans. A bite is small, but can be quite irritating, especially if one has a flea allergy or sensitive skin. Fleas have been found to be capable of transmitting a mild form of typhus to humans which can cause headache, chills, fever, vomiting, and a rash. Infants and small children can also contract tape worms from a flea's bite.
The presence of fleas is greatest in spring and early summer because those months facilitate opportune larval growth. However, fleas can be found on animals regardless of the time of year. Eggs can be laid by the females in various areas of the home. Carpets, upholstery, and bedding are all common places for eggs. Most eggs hatch in approximately two days. Infected animals can be seen scratching themselves often, due to the irritation a flea's bite can cause. An examination of the pet's skin and fur can confirm the existence of fleas. A small, dark residue resembling black pepper is left behind by the adult flea. This is called "flea dirt," and can be found around the home, as well as in the fur of the pets they dwell on.