Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Cat fleas are the most common species. They are found on cats, dogs and humans; as well as other wild animals. These pests are tiny but can jump as high as 8 -12 inches. They spend most of their lives on the animal host until scratched or shaken off.
Fleas live for about 100 days and the female flea produces about 500 offspring. The eggs are “glued” to the hair of the host animal where they hatch into a larval stage. They spin a cocoon and the adult emerges to start the cycle again. Pesticide intervention is effective in the larval and adult stages. The egg and pupal stage are protected in their cases. Only about 10 percent of the population is in the adult stage at any given time. This is important because even if you eliminate all of the adults, the other stages will continue to “hatch” and it can take weeks for all of the fleas to reach maturity where they can be killed.
It cannot be overstated that treating the host animal is imperative for control. Fleas have adapted to certain chemical treatments and may be immune, so trying different active ingredients may be necessary. Also, some pets can be especially sensitive to pesticides. Check with your veterinary professional regarding what is working in your area. DO NOT over-treat your animal.
Frequent vacuuming of rugs and furniture, as well as sweeping of hard-floor surfaces can reduce flea populations in the home. Be sure to clean behind doors, under beds and other furniture, and dust area when pets spend their time. If the cat likes window sills or the top of the refrigerator, these are areas to vacuum or dust. Washing or replacing pet bedding is recommended.
Color – Dark brown
Length – 1/12” to 1/8” with a flat body
Diet – Fleas feed entirely on the blood of their host
Habitat – Generally, fleas live on the skin of rodents, cats, dogs, opossums and even humans. They look for a warm-blooded host
Impact – Fleas can spread diseases, all the while leaving behind red bumps that are itchy and irritating. Their saliva can also cause allergic reactions in pets and humans. Fleas should be exterminated if you notice their presence in your home or on your pet.