The current interest in studies of parasite-host relationships is focusing on the impact of parasites on mate choice, sexual selection and individual fitness. While most studies have been done on birds and fishes, little is known about the interactions between parasites and reproductive success in mammals. In this study, I experimentally removed ectoparasites (mainly fleas) from some female Columbian ground squirrels using a commercially available powder, whereas other squirrels were left untreated as controls. The anti-parasite treatment led to an increase in female body condition during lactation and at weaning and an increase in litter size. The increase of body mass in treated females between birth of the young and weaning is also different from observations done over 8 years in the same population, where untreated females usually lost mass. In close to 400 litters from untreated females in the same area, only 2% had litter sizes as big as the treated females. I conclude that ectoparasites can have a profound impact not only on individuals but probably on the dynamics of the whole population.