Protecting Your Family from Fleas
Homes without professional pest control services like Pest Pros are at significant risk of flea infestations compared to homes with an approved pest control program. The difficulty controlling a flea infestation is in their biology and understanding the flea’s life cycle should clarify why pest control plays a critical part in keeping fleas away from your home and family.
Flea Biology and How Fleas Spread
Around the world, there are 1,600 types of fleas fed on mammals. Within the United States, the Cat Flea is by far the most common. Cat Fleas spread diseases to pets and humans. Diseases such as typhus, plague, and tapeworm. Pets can also suffer from Flea Allergy Dermatitis causing your dog extreme skin irritation.
Found in most wildlife the Cat Flea feeds on opossums, foxes, skunks, coyotes, and other species found in our environment. Feral cats are one of the most prominent carriers and distributors of fleas and flea eggs. Eggs are smooth and not glued to any surface. Eggs drop freely as the host moves across your yard. Female fleas can lay up to 450 eggs in their adult life span of 2 to 3 months, and the host may have hundreds of feeding, and laying eggs.
In a matter of days, eggs fallen from the host will hatch into flea larva and remain in the larva state for 7 to 20 days depending on conditions. During this stage, the larva is threatened by pesticides, but once it enters its pupa stage the insect is protected by a watertight cocoon keeping it safe from pesticides and the environment. Within 14 days a flea will escape the cocoon and begin looking for a blood meal. Fleas can last several weeks without feeding on a host because of the fats stored in their body.
Fleas Getting Into Your Home
It's during this time your pets are most vulnerable. Fleas can jump up to 8” vertically and 15” laterally. With hooks and barbs on their legs, they can easily hold onto the new host. Their slim physique allows them to slink down between the fur. Once at the skin the flea will begin the process of feeding and laying eggs. Unlike other insects requiring a blood meal, both the male and female fleas feed from the host.
Inside your home, the process repeats. When pets enter your home eggs, larva, pupa, and adult fleas fall to the floor. Fleas are durable and can live in many places, but carpet that has been laid over concrete (most all homes these days have concrete foundations) is the perfect environment for fleas. The cool concrete against the warmth held in the carpet creates the perfect humidity for fleas. Once the life cycle is complete adult fleas immediately begin looking for a blood meal, and in many cases, this can be you or your children as well as your pets.
Controlling Fleas with Professional Pest Control
Using a professional to treat the exterior of your home with the proper combination of treatments specifically designed for the time of year and weather conditions will significantly reduce flea activity around your home. Homes treated by Pest Pros Pest Solutions will never have lasting flea issues even when wildlife frequent your yard.
Smith, Eric H., Whitman, Richard C., (2007) NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests, 3.3.1 – 3.3.3