Occasionally we will get a call from someone who just returned home from a long vacation and will notice fleas on themselves and/or their pets. Or sometimes we are called because someone may notice their pet itching more frequently, or even notice red inflamed bite marks on their pet or even themselves.
Fleas are dark colored reddish-brown, wingless insects, with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Their legs are long, the hind pair well adapted for jumping: a flea can jump vertically up to 18 inches and horizontally up to 13 inches. Fleas have a hard exoskeleton making them hard to kill. A simple swat will rarely kill one. One must squeeze them between a tweezers or use their fingernails to crush them.
Fleas go thru four life cycle changes. When a female lays eggs after a feeding the life cycle begins. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 and can take anywhere from two days to two weeks before they hatch. The eggs hatch into larvae, small worm like scavengers that feed off organic material. After one to two weeks larvae will spin a silken cocoon. This is the pupae stage. After one to two weeks the adult flea is ready to emerge from the pupae stage. They can remain dormant in this stage for weeks or even several months only emerging when they receive a signal that a host is near including vibration, heat, and carbon monoxide. Once an adult flea emerges from the pupae stage it must feed on a blood source within a week allowing it to survive and begin to reproduce. An adult flea can live up to one year and lay 5,000 eggs or more. When living conditions are ideal for fleas (temperature, food supply, and humidity) they may live longer than one year.
Fleas bites can result in an inflamed area of skin that can leave an itching sensation. Our pets can occasional develop bald spots from scratching and biting these itchy area. It can also lead to anemia in some cases.
So what should you do if you find fleas in your home or on your pets? We recommend that pets are treated with a flea treatment like Frontline or K-9 Advantix. A licensed veterinarian would be a good source for further information in regards to treating your pet.
Since more than three-quarters of a flea’s life is spent somewhere other than on the host animal, it is not adequate to treat only your pet; it is important also to treat your pet’s environment. Werner Pest & Odor Control offers a flea treatment to homes infested with fleas. One of our licensed technicians will apply an insecticide treatment to your home to eliminate any adult fleas, larvae, and eggs. After treatment we recommend the following additional steps to help eliminate fleas faster;
- Clean pet’s bedding – strip and clean the pet’s bedding and areas your pet may rest.
- Vacuum the home – because fleas develop in dust, lint, furniture and carpets, it is important to clean and vacuum all areas of the house where pets are allowed access. Pay special attention to vacuuming these areas: under furniture, chair and couch cushions, areas where the pet may rest. Immediately empty vacuum bags into a plastic bag, seal top and put in an outside waste receptacle.
If you discover or suspect you have fleas in your home call Werner Pest & Odor Control Services today. We will work with you to eliminate all fleas from your home.