What are fleas?
Fleas are insects that, despite their small size and short lifespan (2-4 weeks), can cause big problems for people. Fleas require a blood meal to complete their reproductive process and feed on the blood of a variety of animals. Dogs, cats, rodents, deer, skunks, raccoons, and other wild animals are the fleas, preferred hosts. Fleas will bite and feed on the blood of people if we are available, but they won't seek us out.
Fleas are most well-known for using their large, powerful back legs to jump out of the way of danger or to jump onto their much larger host.
Are fleas dangerous?
Fleas do feed on blood and are capable of harboring and spreading some disease-causing pathogens; however, in the United States, the spread of diseases by fleas is not a significant concern. None the less, these pests do cause many other problems for both people and our pets:
- Their bites leave behind red itchy bites. When scratched at to relive the itch, there is the possibility of a secondary infection occurring.
- Animals allergic to their saliva may develop flea allergy dermatitis, which often causes extreme itchiness and hair loss.
- A severe flea infestation in any pet or animal may lead to anemia, which causes the animal to become very weak.
- Fleas are an intermediate host for tapeworms, which they can spread to both people and animals.
- Their presence in a home can become quickly overwhelming and stressful to deal with.
Why do I have a flea problem?
Fleas are most often introduced onto a property by wild animals or a wandering dog or cat. After the female flea feeds it can lay about 50 eggs per day, usually in the fur of an animal host. As the animal moves about, the eggs fall to the ground where they will stay until they develop into an adult.
After fully developing, the flea stays in a protective cocoon until a host comes by that stimulates them to emerge. They will jump onto the host, begin feeding, and continue the life cycle. When they jump onto you, your kids, or your pets, they are then unintentionally introduced into your home.
Fleas also get into homes inside upholstered furniture or rugs that are already infested with flea eggs, larvae, or cocoons.
Where will I find fleas?
Fleas can breed both indoors and out, making them hard to control and eliminate. Fleas develop quickly in warm, humid conditions, preferring temperatures that range between 70 and 90 degrees. Colder temperatures cause adult fleas to stay in their cocoons until conditions are more suitable. They can remain in their cocoons without feeding for about 12 months, which another reason why these pests are so difficult to control.
Outside, adult fleas wait in their cocoon for a host to come by that triggers them to emerge and jump on the host and begin feeding. You'll most often find them in damp, sandy soil. The soil under leaf piles, decks, woodpiles, or dense shrubbery are common hiding spots.
Inside our homes, fleas are either feeding on a host (your pet) or lying in wait for a host to come by. They hide in carpets, upholstered furniture, behind baseboards, and bedding.
How do I get rid of fleas?
The first step you should take to get rid of fleas from your property is to contact a professional. At Admiral Pest Control, our professionals know the steps needed to eliminate fleas and prevent a re-infestation.
We are our area's oldest family-run pest control company, and we take care of all our customers as if they are part of our family. If you are looking to rid your southern Los Angeles County or Orange County residential or commercial property of pests, reach out to the friendly and knowledgeable professionals at Admiral Pest Control. Call us today to learn more about our flea control services!
How can I prevent fleas in the future?
Fleas and other pests are difficult to prevent, so the best prevention tip is always to partner with a trained and experienced professional. Also, try the following tips from Admiral Pest Control to help you avoid problems with fleas:
- If you own pets, the best prevention measure you can take is to partner with your veterinarian and place your pet on a year-round flea preventative.
- Routinely bathe your pets using a flea-control shampoo.
- Since rodents and wild animals are the most common reason for a flea infestation, take away their access to food on your property that may attract them by keeping lids on trash cans, removing bird feeders, and maintaining vegetable and fruit gardens.
- Clean up any leaf or excess woodpiles from your property.
- Keep grass on your property cut short.
- Regularly vacuum floors and upholstered furniture and wash your pet's bedding.
- If pets are allowed on your bed, wash your bedding in hot water frequently.
- If at all possible, avoid introducing used rugs or furniture that could be harboring fleas or flea eggs into your home.
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