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They are small, wingless parasitic insects that feed and thrive on the blood of humans and animals. It has been estimated that Americans alone spend nearly $10 billion a year trying to control fleas. Trying being, the keyword here. Fleas are no doubt one of pet owner’s biggest expenses in your area. Throw in all the rampant wildlife potentially carry fleas and it makes the situation all that much more troubling.
This being said, the species of the flea that you’ll commonly encounter in your area is the cat flea. Do not be fooled by the name because this classification of the flea can be commonly found on dogs, humans, cats, and most certainly wildlife. Luckily, fleas don’t have to be such a big problem, with the right approach and information. That’s exactly what we are here to help you and your loveable furry friend tackle.
Identifying The Problem
You might think you know everything there is to know about the flea, but do you honestly know what the flea looks like? Just because it is a black or brown insect located on your pet; doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a flea. It could be a mite or a bed bug. You might even be looking at a cockroach and not even know it. Either way, you can likely see the need to be able to properly identify the flea. Luckily, this process shouldn’t be too hard to do, even with their small size. Adult cat fleas grow to anywhere from 1 to 3 millimeters and are brownish/black in color. They also have unique flattened bodies without wings.
It is this flat body shape along with their backward-pointing bristles that help them move through the hairs, feathers, and fur or your pets quickly and easily. This also makes them extremely hard to remove just by grooming. The six legs help with their jumping abilities, while their powerful claws help them stay always attached.
The larvae of the species, on the other hand, only grow to be around a ¼ inch in length and don’t have legs. They are dirty white in appearance and will most likely be found relaxing in your pet’s bedding.
Understanding The Flea Species
During a flea’s lifecycle, it will pass through several stages. Starting with the egg stage, going all the way to adulthood. Although this parasitic creature can jump nearly 50 times its body length, they don’t prefer to travel long distances without a host. They prefer to wait around and jump onto a host that passes by them. Once hooked on, they’ll remain attached until dislodged or pulled from the host, which won’t be one of the easiest things in the world to accomplish.
Without a proper host, adult fleas can only survive for a maximum of 2 weeks. Some only make it a few days, however. When invading short-haired cats and dogs, fleas might last anywhere from a few days to 8 days. They’ll live much longer and thrive on animals with think and long fur. Female fleas will immediately start reproducing just two days after a blood-feeding.
Anywhere from 4 to 9 days later, you can expect an average of 27 eggs per day thanks to her ability to consume 15 times her body weight in blood daily. A lot of this blood will be excreted as partially digested feces, which will be one of the very best ways to determine an infestation.
The feces of the fleas are fine, reddish-black dust that is commonly referred to as flea dirt. It is oftentimes found in your pet’s fur and bedding.
Eliminating and controlling fleas is an extremely hard task, but one that starts with good sanitation and treatment of your pet and its environment. It is possible to eliminate fleas from the property, but it will take time and proper treatment, especially during heavier infestations. These are all things we can help with, although there are plenty of things you can do of your own volition. Start with changing your pet’s bedding regularly and vacuuming thoroughly.
Vacuuming alone can remove nearly 30 percent of the larvae and 60 percent of the eggs from bedding, carpet, and other materials. Pay close attention to areas like under furniture, chairs, beds, and along baseboards. When discarding the vacuumed waste make sure you are doing so in a sealed container. Whether you don’t have the means to accomplish the above or just don’t want to fool with the endeavor, you can always feel free to give us a call.