Fleas are still biting and causing considerable concern for dog and cat owners everywhere.
Fleas can create issues at your home (particularly if you’re a pet owner) and you may be worried about flea bites. Learn more details about fleas so you are equipped to spot them.
Get in touch with a pest professional who is aware of how to stop fleas if you think you’ve seen them at your property. Ehrlich will handle your flea problem in a safe way and return your peace of mind. Call us at 800-837-5520 or contact us online!
According to research, fleas remain active during the fall and winter in addition to the spring and summer. The reason for this is two-fold:
- A commonly held belief that fleas die off or are no longer active during the colder months leads to pet owners believing they no longer need to treat their pets. Bad idea.
- Fleas are a lawn pest. Remember that fleas have been around long before humans invented carpets and central heating. A flea’s natural larvae habitat is in leaf litter, grass and soil. Much like spiders, mice or rats, once it gets cold outside, they take refuge inside our structures. Sadly, since fleas are blood-feeders, this means your pets are more vulnerable than ever; especially if you’ve stopped treating your pets monthly. Treat year-round to protect year-round.
To understand why fleas are so difficult to control you need to know a little about flea biology. Flea life cycles are incredibly fast — 10 to 14 days, and tenacious in purpose. It starts with the egg (this one is self-explanatory), and moves through larva, pupa and adult. Only the adult flea feeds on blood. The larva feed on organic material they find in the carpet or whatever blood substitute they are living on. However, since larvae MUST feed on some blood, they’ll go after the dried fecal spots produced by the adult fleas.
The larval stage is the most indestructible of all the life stages. No matter what you hit them with, they just keep going and going. Fleas can jump a foot off the ground — that’s the equivalent of a human jumping five stories into the air! Fleas can lay dormant for months (new homeowners beware) and suddenly spring into action when you flip the switch to heat your home. Resiliency in a tiny package. Short of breaking through walls and time travel, these teeny tiny critters are bad news. The larval stage is the most difficult to control because the pupae are protected by a tough silk casing which is why many individuals struggle to rid their pets and properties of fleas, sometimes for months at a time, and at considerable expense.
What color are fleas?
It helps to know about flea appearance. So what color are fleas, really?
- Dog fleas and cat fleas are brownish-black to black in color, but once they have taken in blood, they become reddish-black. Adult fleas of these species are small – roughly ⅛ inches in length.
- Human fleas and Oriental rat fleas are colored reddish-brown. Flea larvae are whitish and do not have eyes or legs.
- Although it may seem counterintuitive, cat flea adults are about half as long as mature cat flea larvae – which are about twice as long as adults.
Fleas on humans
Although fleas favor residing on cats and dogs, they can also appear on humans. It’s scary to think fleas could be feeding on you without your knowledge. The human flea (Pulex irritans) likes human blood but cat fleas actually have a greater likelihood of biting people. If you are bitten by a flea, you may encounter itchy red bumps, or even blisters if you are allergic.
Fleas in carpet
The single most important factor for getting rid of fleas is preparation. The more prepared your home or business is for treatment, the more successful the treatment will be. This will require vigilance and patience and some elbow grease.
- Vacuum prior to treatment and for up to two weeks following treatment. This will help to remove fleas and stimulate the pupa into coming out of their protective casing and onto the treated surfaces where they will be killed by the treatment.
- Clear all floors throughout the house of all small items such as books, clothing, shoes, toys, plants. Anything smaller than the furniture. This includes closet floors. This will allow for a more thorough and much more effective treatment.
- Treat your pet with appropriately labeled flea treatment.
- Discard or wash your pet bedding in hot water with heavy detergent.
- Have the entire structure treated. Treating only the areas where your pet enters is trouble for later on down the road.
Ehrlich knows how to stop fleas
Adult fleas can actually survive for six months or more on a single blood meal. That’s not even the bad news. If you factor in the warmer months, add in a warm fall, and forget to treat your pets, fleas could be on your calendar more often than birthdays, holidays and special occasions combined. Come to think of it, maybe keeping up with flea treatments isn’t such a bad idea. Reach out to Ehrlich today to get started with flea control that will do away with these pests!