Fleas are small, wingless and about 2.5 mm long. Their bodies are shiny and reddish brown in color, covered with microscopic hair and are compressed to allow for easy movement through animal fur. Fleas do not have wings, although they are capable of jumping long distances.
How Did I Get Fleas?
Flea infestations often come from a pet dog or cat. The pests attach to the animal when it’s outside, and then infest its fur and the places it sleeps indoors. Flea prevention for both the home and yard can be difficult. Without a proactive approach, any pet owner is vulnerable to an infestation.
How Serious Are Fleas?
Fleas depend on a blood meal from a host to survive. On some occasions, fleas may become an inside problem when the host they previously fed on is no longer around. Then fleas focus their feeding activity on other hosts that reside inside the home. An example of such a situation is when a mouse inside the home is trapped and removed, the fleas that previously fed on the mouse are then forced to feed on pets or people.
Flea bites may leave the host with numerous swollen, itchy marks. They may cause allergic reactions in some people and can transmit several diseases. Furry pets are the most at risk. Fleas can bite people and pets and can be a big nuisance.
The most serious aspect of a flea infestation is often the time and effort it takes to remove. Dealing with the problem requires treating infected animals, cleaning flea-infested areas, and taking preventative measures to keep the fleas from returning.
How Can I Get Rid of Fleas?
Since the immature stages of fleas are very cryptic by nature, the first thing the homeowner should do is contact their pest control professional for assistance. Most of the time simply using over-the-counter products for controlling fleas will not resolve the root causes of the infestation.
A technician will conduct a thorough inspection and locate areas where the immature stages of the flea population are residing. After completing the inspection, the next step is preparing the flea management plan. This plan will include:
- Species: identifying the flea species causing the problem.
- Education: explaining the flea’s life cycle and how their habits, habitat and behavior affects the control plan.
- Hosts: inspecting for the presence of other animals that are the flea population’s source of food. This may include rodents either inside or outside the home or perhaps a raccoon or feral cat that is living in the crawl space.
- Vets: homeowner contacting their veterinarian for advice and purchase of flea control products that can be used on pets.
- Bathing: regular bathing and grooming of pets.
- Chemicals: explaining the use of growth regulators that will interfere with the flea’s normal development into the adult stage.
- Vacuum: using a strong vacuum to physically remove flea eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.
- Bedding: frequently washing and drying pet bedding.
- Products: treating affected areas by using safe and effective flea control products where immature fleas may be located.
- Inspections: scheduling a follow-up visit.
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