We hope you had a great Leap Day! All this talk about leaping has us thinking about fleas. Read on to learn more about these pests.
What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny, biting insects. They lack wings but have an unparalleled ability to leap into the air when disturbed. In fact, of all the jumping animals in the world, they have one of the highest and longest jumps relative to their body size.
Most fleas feed on mammals. Common fleas you may have heard of are the cat flea and the dog flea. Neither of these is specific to a certain animal, despite what their name may imply. Cat and dog fleas will feed on either animal, as well as humans.
Fleas undergo complete metamorphosis. Adult fleas lay eggs on their host. These eggs are not attached to hair follicles like lice eggs, so they end up falling to the floor as the animal moves. The eggs hatch to reveal worm-like larvae. These larvae remain deep in carpets or animal bedding and do not feed on blood. When ready, the larvae will pupate. The presence of eggs, larvae, and pupae in bedding and carpet is why frequent vacuuming is recommended for controlling flea populations.
How could fleas get into my home?
Cats (particularly those that spend time indoors and outdoors) and dogs are common vehicles used by fleas to enter your home. Preventative shampoos and collars are effective at preventing fleas from hitching a ride on your pet. Note that adult fleas can live for months without feeding. Did you just buy a home that has been sitting vacant for awhile? It may still have an active flea infestation because of this behavior.
Will they hurt me?
Flea bites itch and can cause an allergic reaction called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in cats and dogs. Fleas may also carry tapeworms that can infect your dog or cat if an adult carrier is consumed. This would most likely happen when your pet is self-grooming or biting at an itching spot. Tapeworms may also be transmitted to humans, especially children.
How do I get rid of them?
Many homeowners mistakenly think that eliminating the fleas from their pet through topical treatments will rid their home of the pests as well. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Fleas spend much of their lives off the host, meaning that topical treatments may not kill all fleas involved in your infestation. We will treat all carpeted areas of your home, as well as all cloth furniture. When it comes to flea treatment, the key is to be patient. You will likely see a significant reduction in fleas immediately after treatment, but it may take 2-3 weeks for full elimination of the problem due to the flea’s life cycle. It’s best to treat your flea problem as soon as possible. Give us a call today!