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Whether or not you have pets in your home, fleas can be a big concern. One of the biggest problems with fleas is that they are often misidentified as other pests. The insect you’re seeing might be a flea, but it also might be a bed bug, a tick, or something else. In order to properly treat a flea problem, you need to be able to identify the pest that is plaguing you. Of course, your best option for pest identification is to bring in the experts. If you think you have a flea infestation, contact Ehrlich today. One of our flea control specialists will come to your property and help put your mind at ease.
Fleas are a dark red to brownish color. Their exoskeleton is hard and covered in backward-pointing hairs. If eyes are present, they are simple, as fleas usually depend on their antennae and sense of smell for navigation. These parasitic insects have extended mouthparts that they use to feed on their host’s blood. Additionally, you may see fleas appearing to “fly” through the air, but they’re fooling you. Fleas do not have wings. They travel by crawling and jumping. Their long back legs enable them to jump up to 80 times their height and 200 times their body length.
Even as full-grown adults, fleas are small insects. Generally they don’t get much larger than 3mm in length. Fleas are at their largest in the larval stage at approximately 3-5mm in length. Flea eggs are about .5mm in length. Though very small, they can still be detected by the human eye.
As mentioned previously, flea eggs are very small. They are round or oval in shape and white in color. Flea eggs are unlike other parasites’ eggs in that they are not sticky. Therefore, once they are laid, often directly on the host, they usually fall to the ground.
Flea larvae looks much more like a worm than a flea. In this stage, fleas have no legs or eyes. Flea larvae is white but translucent. As it progresses through three molts to the pupal stage, it will gradually get darker in color.
There are over 2,500 species and subspecies of fleas in existence, but one of the most common is the cat flea. Despite its name, the cat flea can be found on various mammals such as dogs, cats, foxes, rabbits, and even humans. Many dog owners assume that the pest causing their canine friend so much distress is the dog flea, but it is likely the cat flea. Dog fleas are much more prevalent in Europe. Dog fleas and cat fleas are similar in appearance, their differences only distinguishable under magnification. To the naked eye, both cat fleas and dog fleas fit the general appearance of a flea as described above.
Sand fleas are really not like fleas at all. In fact, they aren’t even insects. The term “sand flea” is often incorrectly used to describe various insects such as regular fleas, gnats, midges, and flies. This misidentification generally occurs because all of these pests can leave behind a itchy bite. These tiny crustaceans are usually tan or grey with long front antennae. Like fleas, their exoskeletons are hard, but they can grow up to 1.5 inches in length and have visible eyes.
No matter the type of flea that is giving you trouble, Ehrlich can help. Fleas are an obnoxious pest for humans and pets alike, so don’t let them stick around. Give us a call or send us a message and we’ll send a pest specialist out to help you identify and eliminate your flea problem.
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