Fleas Pest Control
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Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. The most common species is cat fleas, which often feasts on cats, dogs and humans.
Fleas Pest Control: Identifying Fleas
Fleas are small insects (under 1/4 inch) and is dark brown in color. Fleas lack wings and are extremely narrow side to side, which enables them to move easily through the body hairs. Their last pair of legs is modified for jumping. They have numerous spines and hairs on their body, and their mouthparts are adapted for piercing the skin and sucking blood. The whisker-like spines on and near the head are important characteristics used in the identification of fleas.
The life cycle of fleas consists of four stages: the egg, the larva, the pupa, and the adult. Eggs are deposited either on the pet, in the pet’s bedding, or in cracks and crevices of floors. Eggs placed on the pet are not firmly attached and soon fall off. In about a week, the eggs hatch into immature fleas called larvae. In about 12 days, the larvae are fully grown and change to the pupal stage which then changes into the adult flea. Adult fleas feeds more than once a day on fresh animal blood. They may live as long as a year and in some cases, even longer.
Fleas usually remain on their warm-blooded hosts at all times. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs, or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments. They are often found infesting opossums, raccoons, and skunks in urban settings.
Fleas may be present, though unnoticed, all year in the house but frequently become troublesome following return from a vacation. Fleas inside an empty house soon become extremely hungry. When the vacationers return, they are greeted by these neglected fleas who now make their presence known by biting avidly. Flea bites on humans are generally most prevalent on the ankles and lower portion of the legs.
Fleas Pest Control: Damage, Harm Caused by Fleas
Fleas can transmit a number of diseases to man, most important of which is plague. In the 14th Century, this disease, known as the “Black Death”, killed a quarter of the population of Europe (some 25 million people). Murine typhus, a disease primarily affecting rats and mice, can be transmitted to man by infected fleas. When fleas feed, they usually defecate at the same time, and it is believed that the transmission of the murine typhus pathogen occurs by scratching the infected feces into the wound. About 40 cases of murine typhus are reported each year in the United States.