It’s summer time again and flea season is upon us. Even with most people sheltering in place, their dogs still have to go outside from time to time. And as we start to go out more and more, our pets become more susceptible to these parasites. The question remains, How do fleas work? Fleas are parasites that live off of their host animal. They are usually specific to the animal, and feed off of their blood.
Fleas are uncomfortable for their hosts, causing itching, scratching and sometimes an allergic reaction. They can spread disease to your pet or even to you, and are overall not healthy or clean. Sanitation is a major issue with these insects. There are ways of getting rid of these pests, but it all starts with understanding them.
WHAT DO THEY EAT?
Fleas consume the blood of their hosts. Dog fleas are an issue, but in most cases pets are infested with cat fleas. These insects not only feed on cats, but also dogs, humans, rodents or opossums. Most of the time, fleas feed when their host animal is sleeping or at rest.
When fleas bite, they inject a little of their saliva into the wound. This can lead to irritation. Many people will itch after being bitten and have a small welt. Animals may also have this irritation, but can also lose fur at the location, or scratch it raw. These insects also defecate after eating, leaving a dust like substance behind. This substance is known as flea dirt.
HOW DO THEY GET ON MY PET?
To understand how fleas travel, it’s important to understand their life cycle. The adult flea will lay its eggs in the fur of its host. These eggs will most often fall off of your pet, mostly around bedding and commonly trafficked areas. The egg will hatch into the larvae stage. At this stage, they are a worm like insect with no eyes and translucent exoskeleton. To survive, the larvae will feed on the flea dust that they find. This gives them access to blood without having to feed off an animal. From here they enter the pupa stage. They create a cocoon and develop into adults. As adults, they find a host to start the process all over again.
Adults can only lay eggs once they have taken a blood meal. It’s important for fleas to find a host quickly, because they do not survive well without one. Most species of fleas will only last between two days up to two weeks in the environment. In order to catch passing animals, fleas have developed an amazing ability to jump. They can jump up to 200 times their length.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
The cat flea is predominant here in the Americas. The dog flea is more predominate in Europe. The difference between the two is only discernible under heavy magnification. High heat and direct sunlight will overheat and kill most fleas, so they tend to find shade. Kennels, bedding and common shaded rest areas of your pets are often inhabited by fleas. Larvae dry out very quickly, so it’s important for them to find humid places to develop. There can not be standing water, though, because they will drown.
These insects away from their host animal are very fragile. This gives a good Oklahoma exterminator and veterinarian opportunity to rid your pet of these harmful pests. Being that the eggs fall off of the host animal around their bedding and high traffic areas, these areas are often ripe with eggs, larvae and adults. Sanitation and cleanliness is a great way to combat them. The adults find their host by sensing the carbon dioxide and vibration caused by the animal.
CAN THEY HURT MY DOG OR CAT?
Fleas can be dangerous to you and your pets in many ways. The flea bite itself is a source of discomfort and itching. Flea dust is unsanitary and can effect respiratory systems of people who are susceptible to this kind of disease. Nervous conditions can arise in your pet from the constant itching sensation. Pets can even be allergic to flea bites.
Flea bites can also transmit disease. The black plague was originally transmitted from fleas to rats and then to people. In the southern United States, there are still pockets of black plague that infect people from fleas. The double pore dog tapeworm is transmitted through fleas. In most cases, they infect animals, but some children have been infected by ingesting flea larvae in their sleep.
OTHER FLEA TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Flea born typhus, or murine typhus fever is spread to humans by fleas. This disease is commonly found in rats and mice. It’s spread between them by their fleas. Contact with dead rodents or fleas can transmit the disease to humans. Bartonellosis is a bacteria that is spread to pets by fleas. The common name for this disease is cat scratch fever. Hemotrophic mycoplasmosis is a blood disease effecting cats that is transmitted through flea bites.
HOW DO I GET RID OF THEM?
Removal of fleas is of the highest importance when it comes to the health and safety of you and your pets. It is important to contact a Tulsa exterminator or someone in Oklahoma pest control plus a good veterinarian. These two individuals can best direct you to solutions that will get your flea problem under control. Sanitation and cleanliness play a large part in the process of eliminating this pest. Vacuuming alone can eliminate a large part of the egg, larvae and pupa population. Making these kinds of adjustments can greatly improve your chances of removing your infestation.
If you are in need of an experienced Tulsa pest control service, then feel free to contact us. Here at TermMax Pest Control, we are here to assist you in any way we can!