HOW TO IDENTIFY CHIGOE FLEAS
Chigoe fleas, or often known as jiggers, are the parasites which are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. These fleas feed on humans as well as other mammals. They are the smallest fleas as they are only 1 mm in size. They can be identified in the earlier days as then the host can feel irritation and itching in the affected area. After that, the areas become insensitive. They can also cause minor irritation to major discomfort depending on their exact size.
Chigoe fleas are found in sand and are almost identical to the particles of sand to the naked eyes. They are creamy white or yellow in color, round, and 1 mm or less in size.
Chigoe fleas prefer to live in beaches, deserts, stables, and farms. It hides in the tiny holes and crevices on the floor or furniture. They are the worst type of fleas as unlike other fleas, they do not just bite and leave the host. They female chigoe flea attaches herself to the blood vessels of the host by burrowing her head inside the skin. This penetration is known to be painless but later when the female flea mates with the male flea and grows in size, it causes extreme pain and discomfort.
The reproduction process of a chigoe flea is very peculiar. After burrowing inside the skin of the host, the female flea makes sure to keep her abdomen, reproductive organs, and breathing organ outside so that she can breathe easily during feeding. In this situation, the male flea mates with the female flea and she starts producing eggs in her abdomen. It continues to grow in size and then the eggs are hatched on the body of the host. As some of the eggs fall off the host due to scratching, they continue to grow in the soil.
The signs of a chigoe flea infestation can be noticed from the burrowing phase of the female chigoe flea. It looks like a tiny black dot but as soon as the reproduction process happens, and the eggs are produced, a growth in size can be observed. Such infestations should be treated as early as possible.
HOW DO YOU GET CHIGOE FLEAS
Chigoe fleas live in the sand so if you live near a desert or a beach then you can easily be infested by a chigoe flea. Unlike other fleas, they are not good jumpers so they just attach themselves to the host by direct contact. They are known to feed in the areas near legs and feet. If they are not taken care of properly then there can be many severe consequences.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF CHIGOE FLEAS
As the chigoe fleas do not bury themselves completely under the skin, they can be easily seen. They can be removed with the help of tweezers but extreme care should be provided so its head doesn’t remain inside. Another way to get rid of them is to suffocate and kill them by applying oil and petroleum jelly to the infected area. To prevent getting attacked by chigoe fleas, you should wear fully-covered shoes in the sand so that your foot is not vulnerable to such infestations.
FACTS ABOUT CHIGOE FLEAS
- The female chigoe fleas are responsible for causing the disease Tungiasis.
- Male chigoe fleas feed on human blood for survival but they leave the host after biting.
- The transformation of chigoe fleas from eggs to adults takes place within 8 to 10 days.
- They belong to Central and South America.