How to Get Rid of Fleas
Fleas are a common problem for many animals and can be difficult to get rid of. They suck blood from the animal they live on, leaving them with itchy skin and open wounds. In addition, flea bites can be irritating or even dangerous to those with allergies or weakened immune systems. Flea bites can also spread diseases like tapeworms or Lyme disease.
This blog will provide information on how you can prevent your pet from being infested by fleas and learn about their life cycle so that you know what to look out for if they do become an issue in your home!
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are wingless insects, have mouth-parts adapted for piercing skin, and usually feed on the blood of mammals and birds. The adult flea is typically about 1/4 inch long, wingless, light brown, hairy with no eyes. They have three pairs of legs used for jumping or digging into their host’s fur or feathers. In addition, they have a tough, flexible body and a flattened posterior to make moving through the fur easier.
An adult female can lay up to 50 eggs a day and over 2,500 in a lifetime. The eggs are tiny (1/32 inch long) and white with a sticky outer covering that makes them stick to bedding or carpet until they hatch. Fleas take about four weeks to complete their life cycle – egg, larva, pupa, adult.
The flea larva is small, about 1/8 inch, white with a black head and bristles covering its body. It has no eyes or legs but has three pairs of spiracles that allow it to breathe while it tunnels through the host’s skin flakes. After tunneling, the larvae bring up a mass of tissue and store it as a food supply for later development into adulthood. Next, the larvae spin silken cocoons in between skin flakes, debris, or whatever their host has been sleeping on.
The pupa is similar to the larva but with eyes, legs, and mouthparts adapted for chewing. They do not have a respiratory system and must rely on the air surrounding them. This stage lasts for about 18 to 24 days until they emerge as adult fleas, ready to start their life cycle again.
Adult fleas live an average of one month depending on species, diet, and living conditions such as temperature, humidity, and whether or not their host is present. Fleas will feed on blood and not lay eggs for two to four weeks. However, they can survive without a meal for several months and continue laying eggs so long as they have the proper conditions.
Where Do Fleas Came From If You Don't Have Pets?
If you don’t have pets, where do fleas come from? Fleas can be brought into your home by other animals that may frequent the outdoor areas of your home. These animals could include squirrels, mice, and wildlife such as possums or raccoons. When fleas get in indoors, they usually get on your furniture and pets. The larvae can get in carpeting and other household goods such as pet bedding or sofas.
If your house is infested with fleas, adult fleas may be living in your carpeting. They also may be hiding under furniture or even within cracks or crevices found in woodwork or drywall. In addition to the adults, immature larvae and pupa can sometimes be found living in carpeting.
Signs of Flea Infestations
The most common sign that you have a flea infestation is if your pet starts scratching more often. You might also notice that your pet is losing hair, and there might be drops of blood. A close inspection of the fur around its body might reveal black dots, actually flea feces. You may also see small white grains near your pet’s bedding or in the carpeting where it likes to sleep. These are eggs from adult female fleas who have been feeding on your dog or cat and might soon develop into larvae.
Once in your home, fleas can reproduce rapidly. An adult female flea lays up to 50 eggs every day! Female fleas need blood meals before they can lay eggs, so if you have an infestation, there are probably lots of little fleas out on the loose right now, without the benefit of any blood meals. Some of these fleas are just developed into adults, but most of them will be feeding off your pet.
Normally, when a flea bites your pet to feed on its blood, it drinks for several minutes and then falls off. In the case of a heavy infestation or if you have an older pet who is less active, it can take quite a while for all these little vampires to jump ship. During this time, they can accumulate in your pet’s fur and be carried into your home. If you see an adult flea crawling on your dog or cat for a long time, the chances are that it’s just waiting to get enough blood to lay eggs.
In addition to adults, you might also notice either white or red larvae in the carpeting near where the pets sleep. This larvae looks pretty similar to the adult, but it’s smaller and white or transparent. Flea larvae are legless grubs with tapered ends. They don’t have eyes or legs, so they can squirm about in carpeting, upholstery, rugs, and even bedding. If you find one, check your pet for fleas. These larvae are very young fleas that only need a blood meal to develop into adults.
How To Get Rid of Fleas
The quickest and most thorough way to get rid of fleas is by using insecticide sprays, powders, foggers, and so on. Sprays are the simplest option because they can be applied directly to your pet’s body. There are many different insecticides available for purchase, so you should consult with your vet or a professional before making a purchase. Insecticides can also be applied directly to your pet’s bedding and the carpets in your home.
Fleas and ticks can carry deadly diseases, so you should do everything in your power to get rid of these parasites. Flea infestations are particularly problematic for dogs, but you should also be wary of infested cats because fleas can jump from animals to humans.
Remember that you should always treat your pet with any insecticide — never spray it directly onto your pet’s body. Instead, you should apply the insecticide and allow it to be absorbed into your dog or cat’s fur. Also, remember that taking care of fleas can be a difficult task. It may take multiple treatments before all of the parasites have been eliminated from your home.
Keep those pets clean as well as your pet’s beddings and cage. Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of mammals and birds, which include cats and dogs. Since these parasites can jump long distances (up to 13 inches), keeping pets clean is an effective way to prevent flea infestations.