This species of flea is found throughout the world, including in the U.S. along the East Coast south to Florida and west to the Pacific Coast and north into Oregon. It feeds on a wide range of host animals including birds and poultry, dogs and cats, rodents, horses, and occasionally humans. The adults attach themselves to the host animal and remain in place, often in large masses and often around the ears, eyes and mouth area where the skin is bare or nearly so. Females may move about at night, but in general the adult fleas remain in place for several weeks. Their feeding creates skin lesions and swelling and the eggs are laid into crevices there. The larvae then emerge and fall to the substrate to feed on organic debris.
In addition to area treatments to kill the larvae the adult fleas must be physically removed from the host animals, usually be a veterinarian or professional animal groomer. Since they are embedded it is very difficult to dislodge the adult fleas.