FLEAS

Flea pest control macarthurThere are four species of flea which are found across the Australia: the cat flea, the dog flea, the human flea, and the oriental rat flea. Although named for their most common host, each of these species has a range of animals that it will bite. In most cases, cats, dogs, and humans are on all of these lists.

 

Identifying a Flea

 

Fleas are very small, measuring only 1/8 of an inch. They are wingless and range in color from brownish-black to reddish black (when engorged with blood). They have thin bodies with long legs, which are well developed for jumping.

 

Flea larvae, which are 1/4 of an inch long, are sometimes easier to find than the adult insects given their size, and the fact they are whitish in color and without legs.

 

The Damage Fleas Can Cause

 

Fleas belong to a grouping of insects called blood-feeders, meaning that their favored source of nutrients is animal or human blood. Flea bites can be painful and itchy, creating a specific nuisance for infested pets. However, beyond the discomfort they cause, fleas are also dangerous carriers of disease such as the plague, murine typhus, and tapeworm.

 

Flea's Life Cycle

 

An adult female can lay 400-500 eggs in a lifetime, usually distributing 4-8 eggs at a time, after each blood meal. The eggs hatch in 1-12 days, releasing the legless flea larvae. These larvae are able to move using abdominal hooks, feeding on organic debris and the fecal blood of adult fleas.

 

After a few weeks or several months, depending on the species and conditions, the larvae will spin a cocoon using surrounding debris as camouflage. This pupal stage can last from less than a week to more than a year, releasing an adult flea at the end. Without intervention, a flea can live for approximately 1 year.

 

Habits

 

Although commonly thought of in association with animals, fleas can be present in buildings that are pet-free. In these cases, initial fleas will have been brought in on human clothes or other items.

 

In homes with pets, the flea infestation will likely be concentrated around the pet's bed and its other most frequented areas. However, given their jumping abilities, fleas can travel throughout the home in search of a host.

 

It is also important to note, that fleas can be present in homes that have been uninhabited for some time. Although an adult flea will seek a blood meal each day, they can live for several months on stored body fat.

 

 

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