Pets are part of our families.  These “fur babies” as they are called, are just as loved as the rest of the family.  But of course, they have specific issues that make them different.  The animals in our lives need our love, affection and protection.  One of the differences that dogs, cats and other animals is the presence of fleas.  But fleas will bite humans as well.  Why do fleas bite humans?  Fleas are blood feeders.  They prefer cats and dogs, but will feed from any mammal, including humans, to survive.  

The cat flea, which is common in the Americas, does not live on humans.  It needs fur to hide in and grab on to.  But to sustain itself, fleas are willing to feed on humans.  In most situations, populations must be some what high in order for fleas to resort to biting humans, but it does happen.  It’s important to protect ourselves and our pets from these pests.  


Fleas eat blood.  They have a special mouth parts specially designed for piercing the skin and sucking out the blood.  But fleas have a preference.  They are named for the animal that they prefer.  Cat fleas prefer cats, dog fleas prefer dogs, and human fleas prefer humans.  But it is a little more complicated than that.  Cat fleas, for instance, will live on cats and dogs.  They can feed on humans, squirrels, raccoons and other mammals, but prefer cats and dogs and will only reproduce on cats and dogs.  Human fleas, found only in third world countries, prefer humans and pigs.  Call an Oklahoma pest control company to get rid of them. 

The adult flea is the only stage of life at which the flea lives on another animal.  So when a flea is in its larvae stage, it feeds on something called flea dirt.  This dirt is actually dung from the adult flea.  This flea dirt still has some blood left in it, nourishing the larvae.  Fleas are big eaters as well.  They can consume up to fifteen times their body weight in blood in one day.  That’s a lot to eat.  This makes me want to call my Oklahoma exterminator right now!


Fleas have four stages of their lifecycle.  They can complete this lifecycle in about a month.  The first phase of their lifecycle is the egg.  The adult female will lay about 14 eggs after each blood meal.  The eggs will drop off of the animal, usually around bedding and high traffic areas.  When the egg hatches, a larvae emerges.  This larvae will feed on flea dirt until it is ready to pupate.  During this time they will molt, or shed their skin, three times.  

The pupal stage is where they cocoon.  They will use materials from their surroundings to help camouflage the cocoon.  They will stay in the cocoon anywhere from a week to a year, depending upon how favorable the conditions are outside of the cocoon.  When they emerge, they are adult fleas.  Adult fleas can’t fly, but they are excellent jumpers.  They will find a mammal to host them, and jump on them.  From there they latch on to the fur, begin feeding and reproduction.  A reputable Tulsa pest control company can help.  


Fleas can carry many diseases.  Many of these diseases are very dangerous.  Fleas transmit these diseases through their bite.  They make a small bump with a halo like ring around the bite area.  When fleas bite, they inject a small amount of saliva into the wound.  This keeps the blood from clotting and numbs the area so they can bite uninterrupted by the host.  The bites will itch later.  If it is scratched too hard, the wound can be opened up and become susceptible to infection.  Pets can sometimes scratch with their teeth and inadvertently swallow a flea, which can also transmit diseases.  

A number of dangerous diseases are transmitted through the bite of fleas.  The most notorious one is the bubonic plague.  This plague was transmitted by fleas on rats that were biting people.  The bubonic plague is still around today in the southern part of the United States, but is treatable if caught in time.  Murine Typhus is also transmitted through flea bites.  


If you are having issues with fleas or any other pest, then it’s time to call a Tulsa pest control company.  The best one is TermMax Pest Control.  Contact us today for a free estimate.  We’re here to help!

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