Fleas

Flea
Ctenocephalides felis


Fleas are parasites that feed on humans and other warm blooded animals. There are several types of fleas, but the most common is the cat flea (pictured here), which also feeds on dogs and humans.
When you have a flea problem you and your pets, serve as the host. Most of the time, fleas prefer nonhuman source for feeding, but if infestations are heavy or when other hosts are not available, fleas will feed on humans. Fleas usually require warm and humid conditions to develop. A flea can jump 7 to 8 inches vertically and 14 to 16 inches horizontally with their long and powerful legs.

A skin reaction to a flea bite appears as a slightly raised and red itchy spot. Sometimes these sores bleed.

Due to the flea life cycle and feeding habits, many people don't realize they have a flea problem until they are away from their house for an extended period. This realization of a flea problem happens because the fleas get hungry while the hosts are away, and they become highly active when the hosts return. People tend to think to put the pet outside will solve the flea problem, but that typically makes the fleas turn to human hosts instead. Fleas are attracted to body heat, movement, and exhaled carbon dioxide.

 

Cat Flea
Flea

Size:
1/8 inch (3mm)

Characteristics:
Fleas are Brownish Black to Reddish Black.
Adult fleas are wingless and have three pairs of legs. The hind pair of legs is modified for jumping. Fleas are vertically flat like a fish, and can move easily through the hair of a host.
The immature stage or larval stage of the flea looks like a small white worm with a dark head.

Habitat:
House pets usually maintain small flea populations throughout the winter, with the numbers increasing slowly in the spring and exploding in mid-to-late summer. They are also found indoors in cracks and crevices where these animals spend alot of time.

Life Cycle:
Female fleas lay eggs loosely in the host's hair. The eggs drop off and hatch into tiny, hairy, worm-like larvae. The larvae are usually found where the animal sleeps, along baseboards, in carpets, or on furniture. Larvae pupate and new adults emerge. The new adults seek a host immediately and must get a blood meal to survive and produce eggs.

Control:
The key to successful household flea control is frequent vacuuming of pet bedding and resting areas, treatment of the pet, and careful use of insecticides if and when necessary. For effective control, it is recommended to seek the help of a professional.

 

If you suspect you may have a flea infestation, give Fowler and Sons a call or stop by with a sample to confirm its identity. We can set up a no cost, no obligation inspection to determine what you may have and advise you of the treatment options.