WILL PEST CONTROL GET RID OF FLEAS?
When we first got our pets, we made a commitment to take care of them for the rest of its life, or ours. We take them in with the intention of making them a great new addition to our families; so we shelter them, we feed them, talk to them, play with them, and we sometimes let them accompany us when we go to beaches and malls. What’s wonderful about this relationship is that it is not one-sided; pets love us back. Perhaps they love back unconditionally and sometimes they even get the raw end of the deal because to them, we are their whole lives.
This is why it is painful for us to see them suffer. They are not capable of taking care of themselves, unlike their cousins out in the wild. Obviously they do not talk so they cannot directly tell us if there is anything wrong with them; we can only take visual cues from them. We take them to the vet when they look sick for treatment. When we see them scratching incessantly, we check them for fleas.
Fleas are among the most common problems pet owners encounter. We exert all efforts to prevent fleas from attacking our household, but sometimes it is our pets themselves who inadvertently bring them in; so if you are free from fleas now, you might not be so fortunate tomorrow. Now, what do we do if we have fleas?
What are fleas?
Fleas are small insects that have reddish-brown bodies and grow about 0.12 inch to ⅙ inch long. Considered as parasites, they feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals, including humans; this is called hematophagy. Adult fleas can consume blood as much as 15 times their own body weight. Their mouthparts are designed for sucking blood. They are flightless but have strong legs that make them excellent jumpers. Their bodies are flattened sideways, with long claws on all of their six legs. Their preference for hairy hosts makes this body shape perfect for moving through their hosts’ feathers or fur.
While other insects have compound eyes, like flies and cockroaches, fleas have simple eyespots with one biconvex lens. There are even some fleas do not have eyes at all.
Fleas have strong legs that are great for jumping. They can jump from one host to another, with the ability to jump 6 inches vertically, so latching on to a host who happens to pass them by is easy.
Flea life cycle
Fleas undergo four stages all through their lifetime: the egg stage, larva, pupa, and finally the adult stage. An adult female can lay as much as 40 eggs a day and would only take two days to hatch. Next, they become larvae. They are tiny and look like worms. They will stay as larvae for 5 days. After that, they go through the pupal stage. It then gets into a cocoon. They remain there until they sense a host, emerging as fully developed adult fleas.
A female flea can lay eggs after it has taken its first blood meal. Then the cycle would start all over again.
Fleas transmit diseases
Fleas attack dogs, cats, hamsters, and other hairy hosts. This does not mean that humans are exempted, however. Fleas have mouthparts that bite, and when they bite, their bites are extremely itchy and could sometimes lead to infection.
You and your pets would be considered lucky if itchiness is all you get. Fleas are also known to spread various deadly diseases. Some of the diseases that fleas are known to transmit include Rickettsial diseases, bartonellosis, the bubonic plague, murine typhus, tularemia, and tungiasis.
Fleas would rather feed on dogs’ and cats’ blood but can attack humans in the absence of pets. Fleas have high body temperature, so they cannot survive long and breed on humans.
Where do fleas normally hide?
Fleas hide all over the house, usually in areas where your pets love to relax or play. If you suspect that you have fleas at home, here are the first places you should look at.
- Look for them on your carpet. Since carpets simulate a hairy host, his is the favorite place for fleas to stay. This is also where they usually fall off after latching on to your pets. They can also just wait for a host to pass by and jump on the opportunity to latch on to that new host.
- Look for them in dirty clothes that have been in a single place for quite some time.
- Fleas are attracted to indoor plants as well, where they stay and hide undisturbed.
Types of fleas found in the United States
There are approximately 2,500 identified species of fleas, and they are scattered all throughout the globe. Here in the United States, we are fortunate to have only about 200 flea species. Listed below are the most common types of fleas here in America and the things that you must know about fleas in order to have a better understanding on how to get rid of this pest:
- Cat fleas – Cat fleas’ main hosts are cats, but they also feed on dogs, humans, and other animals. They typically hide in carpets, indoor plants, as well as on clothes. They lay their eggs on pets, but usually, these eggs fall off and can be found around the house.
- Human flea – Human fleas victimize humans, hence their name. They like to hide in the hairy parts of the human body, especially on people who do not practice good hygiene.
- Sticktight fleas – Sticktight fleas have dogs, cats, birds, and even humans for their hosts. They are difficult to remove because they bury their heads into the skin of their hosts.
- Springtail fleas – Springtail fleas are as small as a pinhead. They are very good jumpers; they can jump up to four feet. They do not attach themselves to animals unless they detect a skin infection which would make the skin damp and therefore attractive. They thrive in damp areas.
- Rat fleas – Rat fleas are the most widely spread among all its genus. There are two kinds: the Oriental and the Northern rat fleas. The Northern rat fleas came from Europe. The length of their bodies is about 3 to 4 mm. They have eyes on their heads. Oriental rat fleas, on the other hand, are about 2.5 mm in length and are very good jumpers; their body shape is perfect for jumping. It has been said that the Oriental rat fleas are the source of bubonic plague that rocked Europe during the Middle Ages. These are usually found in rats but can also use humans as a host.
Signs that you have fleas
One sign is when you find your dogs scratching non-stop. Flea bites are very itchy. If you see them scratching, inspect further. Using a flashlight, look for fleas on the hairy parts of your dog or cat. Look for fleas on your pet’s belly, armpits, ears, inner thighs, and tail. You may check your dog’s fur for the presence of flea feces. Adult fleas’ feces is mainly blood. They look like little specks of dirt. To check if these are indeed flea feces, use a paper towel to pick them off. If they spread out like stains, then these are flea feces.
If you see these signs, then it is time to make your move.
Pest Control to get rid of fleas
Will pest control even get rid of them at all? The good news is yes. There are ways to stop them. Here are a few tips on how to control fleas.
- Vacuum carpets, couches, bedding, and other furniture. Afterward, seal the vacuum cleaner’s bag and properly dispose of it to ensure that they would not be able to return.
- You can buy diatomaceous earth and sprinkle them on carpets, couches, furniture, bedding, and anywhere that your dog frequents. Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of diatoms and is like tiny shards of broken glass. It is safe and non-toxic to humans and pets. When crawled on by fleas, it would cause tiny cuts on their bodies. Eventually, they would bleed to death. It is safe to put on your dog’s coat too, but be careful not to hit the eyes, ears, and mouth. Make sure it is kept dry. Reapply once a week for one month, or when it gets wet.
- Sprinkle table salt in areas around the house where fleas are present. Leave it as is for a few hours, then vacuum the areas where you sprinkled salt. Table salt will kill the fleas. Throw away the vacuum’s bag properly.
- Bathe your pets using a flea shampoo regularly. Consult with a vet first before using a certain shampoo.
These pest control measures will get rid of fleas in your household. But if your flea infestation problems persist, then it is time to call the best Cornelius extermination services since 1959, Lake Norman Pest Control.
Lake Norman Pest Control is trusted by residents and businesses all over Cornelius. For more information, call us now!