This common pest is a blood-eating parasite that plagues dogs, cats and humans. Property owners experiencing an infestation typically require a professional pest control provider for flea eradication.
This reddish-brown insect has six legs and two antennae. It typically measures between 1/12th and 1/6th of an inch, making it tiny and difficult to spot. The flea's body shape is flat and narrow. This makes it easier for the pest to navigate quickly through thick fur, which merely means that it is more difficult to catch. Fleas do not have wings, but they are able to jump surprisingly long distances in order to navigate from one host to another. Because their body is covered in hair, the flea can easily attach itself to its host.
Adult fleas survive solely on the blood of a mammalian host. In the larval stages, the diet is more varied. The young feed on the feces of the adult as well as dead skin, dead insects and tiny food particles.
Fleas are typically found attached to a dog, cat or human host. Although they are capable of jumping relatively long distances, they often stay with a host from which they are successfully feeding. Flea eggs are laid directly on the host, and this process typically begins about 48 hours after the female flea takes a first meal from a host. However, the eggs are only loosely attached to the host. They begin to fall off within just a few hours. This means that the eggs may be found in bedding, carpets, furniture or simply lying on the ground. Eggs that fall in places where there is adequate warmth and humidity stand an excellent chance of survival while those that are exposed to extreme cold are more likely to be destroyed.
PROBLEMS WITH FLEAS
Many people are troubled by the mere idea of having a blood-sucking parasite in their home or office. Nonetheless, it is the bite of the flea that is the real menace. A bite causes a red spot on the skin that is normally surrounded by a halo. These spots are incredibly itchy and impossible to ignore. They tend to be centered on the feet and legs of human hosts while animals may be subjected to an all-over infestation. This frequently leads to excessive scratching which can be accompanied by hair loss and broken skin. Some pets experience an allergic reaction as a result of exposure to flea saliva, which can be dangerous.
Adult fleas are content to remain attached to a human or other warm-blooded host for as long as conditions are right. However, they may choose to jump to another host when flea treatment methods are employed. Fleas are capable of jumping as much as 14 inches in a horizontal direction and as much as seven inches vertically. Thus, they are well-equipped to find a new host should the occasion demand it.
Like many insects, fleas go through four stages of development: egg, larval, pupal and adult. The egg stage lasts only about 12 days while the larval stage may last anywhere from four to 18 days. During this time, the larvae will spin cocoons that will be essential to their pupal stage. Once inside the cocoon, the pupal stage can last anywhere from three days to one year, depending upon the flea species and the environmental conditions.
Fleas are known carriers and transmitters of the bubonic plague, which has killed scores of people in the past and still represents a serious health risk today. Moreover, the flea is capable of transmitting a bacterial disease known as murine typhus to rats, after which the disease may be passed along to humans. Flea saliva can cause allergic reactions in humans and pets. A serious flea infestation on a pet can lead to life-threatening anemia. They can also transfer tapeworms to pets. Clearly, effective flea control is a necessity.
SIGNS OF A FLEA INFESTATION
Home and business owners may be dealing with a flea infestation based on the following signs:
• Excessive scratching in pets
• Pets with reddened skin
• Otherwise unexplained hair loss in pets
• Seeing fleas moving through a pet's hair
• Red or black feces on a pet's skin
• Red, itchy spots on people's feet and legs
It may be impossible to completely prevent fleas from infesting Some practical tips to help prevent a flea infestation include:
• Vacuum frequently to remove flea eggs from floors and furniture
• Wash bedding regularly
• Keep lawns well groomed to minimize rodent populations
• Keep dogs on leashes while out for walks
• Frequently brush and bathe pets to eliminate pests
• Treat your pet with a flea preventative
• Keep all routine vet appointments
• Use prescription-strength flea treatments on pets
A flea infestation for any Bristol area home or business can be enormously difficult to treat. Getting proper medical attention for an affected pet is only the beginning. The real threat lies in the hundreds of tiny, white eggs that may have been deposited throughout the building. These are incredibly difficult to see, which means that they are easy to overlook. People who attempt to take care of a flea infestation by themselves are frequently faced with an ongoing problem that never seems to be eradicated.
This is why professional flea control is so essential. With the flea's ability to lay hundreds of eggs in a relatively short period of time, it is vital for property owners to act quickly to bring the situation under control. A professional pest control company can eliminate the problem with safe and effective methods that have been clinically proven to deliver results.