Basic Flea Facts and Control Measures
Fleas are some of the most common pet parasites today. They are ectoparasites that feed on blood from mammals or birds. Flea bites are usually painful and may transmit pathogens to both pets and human beings. Some of the most common flea species are the human flea (Pulex irritans), cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis).
Fleas are basically thin brown in colour, measuring 2.5 mm long. As such, they may be observed using naked eyes. Though wingless, the parasites can jump up to 40 cm horizontally and 15 cm vertically, using then long hind legs. Their larvae are white in colour with protruding hair on every segment. They are laterally flattened and have mouthparts that are adapted for piercing and sucking
Flea Life Cycle
The parasites undergo a complete metamorphosis, moving from egg, through larva and pupa to adult. Their average life span is between 30 and 90 days. However, the parasites may live for up to a year. After sucking blood from their host, the adult females lay eggs on the host skin. The eggs take between 2 and 12 days to hatch, under the right conditions. The larvae stage takes up to 200 days while the pupa stage lasts for five to 14 days. If the eggs are not on the right host, the larva remains dormant, until it is on the right host.
While the flea larvae feed on the adult flea faeces, host skin and skin particles, the adult parasites pierce the skin of the warm blooded hosts to suck blood. Flea bites lead to skin irritation and secondary infection, in some cases.
Fleas can be found in any place, across the world. However, they are predominant in places that are densely populated by their hosts. Their eggs are laid on the skin of the horst and require high temperature and humidity of the larva to thrive. During the wet weather, the parasites gain entry into the house by attaching themselves onto the skin of the pets and then inhabiting the places that are frequently visited by the pets, particularly in cracks and crevices.
Detecting Flea Infestation
In the initial stages of infection, the parasites may be hard to detect. Some of the warning signs at this stage include constant scratching by the pets and red marks on the pet skin left by flea bites. However, if the infestation is large, you will also be able to see the parasites jumping up and down the pet skin.
Flea Related Problems
Other than the skin irritation caused by their bites, flea bites may lead to infections like feline anemia and bartonellosis. If not treated, flea infestation can kill a pet. The parasites are also known to be intermediate hosts of rodent and dog tapeworms. They may as well transmit worms to human beings.
Flea Prevention / AMG Extermination
Fleas are known to spend 90 percent of their lives on carpets and furniture. As such, you should steam clean the carpets and furniture in the house thoroughly. This will remove the fleas in all the developmental stages. Additionally, you should regularly inspect your pets for flea infestation. If infested, you should have a professional administer the appropriate flea regulation strategy on the pet and the house. At AMG Extermination, we have an array of products to regulate this rather annoying parasite.