Perhaps the flea is one of the "foolish things" referred to in this verse, for it certainly does baffle the wisest of men. The flea sometimes has caused wise men to feel quite humble, because they cannot cope with such a small creature.
Why are fleas so hard to get rid of? There are several reasons. For one, when you try to kill a flea by pinching or pressing on it, it relaxes its body to absorb the pressure and then hops safely away. Another reason is their reproductive ability. Including all the offspring produced by one pair, as many as 6000 can hatch in a little over a month. Eggs the size of a large grain of sand are laid in the fur of an animal. These roll off to the ground where they hatch in just a few days. The larvae look like tiny white threads and immediately begin searching for food. They are not yet interested in blood but eat decayed plant life.
Within the first two weeks, the larva molts twice and greatly increases in size. It pupates by wrapping itself in a sticky silken cocoon in which its six legs, antennae and mandibles (jaws) develop. It comes from the cocoon as a full-size adult with a hard, flat-sided body.
Strong legs allow this adult flea to jump onto a passing animal where it works its way through the fur to the animal's skin. Its sharp mandibles pierce the animal's skin searching for a blood vessel. A flea has two tubes within its mouth -- one to draw out blood and the other to pump in saliva to keep the blood from clotting. The animal tries to relieve the bite pain by scratching the wound. This produces more blood, to the benefit of the flea.
Although they have no wings, an amazing ability given to fleas is that their strong legs allow them to jump a foot into the air and as far as two feet between hops. A man in proportion to the size of a flea and with the same ability could jump to the top of a skyscraper or hop over two football fields at once.
Incidentally, there are about 1100 species of fleas throughout the world, including mouse fleas, rat fleas, bird and bat fleas, cat and dog fleas.
Why did the Creator make fleas? It is well to remember that all things were created perfect by Him, and fleas were not originally a nuisance but part of His overall perfect creation. Sin soon marred the world, bringing death, pain, sickness and sorrow with it. The present character of such insects as flies, mosquitoes and fleas is the result of sin. When ever they annoy us, it should cause us to be humble and realize our own wisdom amounts to little.
Undoubtedly God would have all of us listen to His Word: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). Turn to Him and learn of His wisdom. You will find that it leads to everlasting life through trusting in the Saviour "who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity" (Titus 2:14). Have you done this?
Copied with permission from Messages of God's Love. More articles in The Wonders of God's Creation (Volume 1-4) by Sidney R. Gill, also published by Bible Truth Publishers.