If you're a pet owner, you know that it takes more than a cat or dog collar to keep these fleas from invading your home. Here are some interesting facts about these annoying insects, as well as tips for getting rid of them from the experts at MosquitoNix®
What Are Fleas?
The common name for the insect order Siphonaptera, fleas are tiny insects that live as parasites on mammals and birds. They survive by consuming blood from their hosts, which are often family pets.
Adult fleas are reddish-brown in color and measure one to five millimeters in length, They have a flattened body, tiny antennae, and predominant hind legs, as well as a specialized exoskeleton that allows them to jump more than 12 inches.
There are about 2,000 species of flea are found worldwide, with some 300 thriving in North America. Many species prey on specific hosts, such as rabbits, but any warm-blooded mammal makes a suitable blood meal for a flea.
Flea's Mating Habits
Adult female fleas store sperm after mating and can continue to lay eggs their entire lifespan, which is about one month. One cat flea can produce up to 2,000 eggs. The eggs go through three larval stages off the host, then a pupa stage that can survive up to a month with no host but requires a blood meal to emerge as an adult.
Fleas and Pets
Fleas require a warm-blooded mammal as a host for feeding and breeding, and they live in the fur, hair or feathers of the host. While they frequently hitch rides on pets, they can enter home on mice or humans. Adults can lie dormant for more than a year in areas previously occupied by a host, then jump more than 12 inches to take up residency on a new victim.
Because they feed on blood, fleas can transmit disease. Generally, their bites result in itchy, red welts, though some pets can have allergies to the bites and can form excessive scabs underneath their fur.
How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Fleas?
There are several ways to detect fleas on your pet. If they are scratching more than usual, that's a sign that the bugs are busy biting. Additionally, fleas leave feces behind that resembles coarse pepper and can often be found in pet beds.
Solutions for Fleas in Your Home
Adult fleas are easy to spot. But, like other insects, their eggs, larvae and pupae are more difficult to detect. In fact, about 80% of the flea population in your home will be in egg or larvae form, so dealing only with the adults won't fix a flea problem at all.
Talk with your veterinarian about medications or treatments for your pets. Many medicines can safely deal with fleas in every stage of their life cycles. But if that doesn't eliminate the root cause of your infestation, MosquitoNix can provide thorough and affordable pest control for your flea issue. Contact our friendly customer service team to learn more about our services and to receive a free cost estimate today.