Fleas are a common pest that can be found in homes. They feed off of the blood of animals and humans and can contaminate your home with their feces and eggs which can lead to an infestation.
Flea Facts and Information
Fleas are common wingless insects that often live on pets such as dogs or cats and that belong to the order Siphonaptera.
They can come in many different colors of red, brown, and black, but nearly always have a white or dark line across the back of their bodies.
It lives by feeding on organic debris with tapering snouts that enable it to bore into fur or feathers to feed on blood.
They suck up the blood using two hollow tubes on their lower body known as “sucking lancets”.
They usually bite one time because it takes time to do that blood-sucking process I mentioned before, then moves to another site to stay alive.
Since fleas can’t fly, they will jump onto an animal if it happens to move or stay closely near them.
Fleas have three pairs of legs and they jump by straightening them one at a time. The most apparent difference between males and females is that a male flea has genitals near its rear end while a female does not.
These pests like warm temperatures so it’s important to keep them at bay during colder months by keeping your house heated above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or turning up the heat if you live in an area where winters get really cold.
Common Types of Fleas
1. Cat Fleas
Cat fleas, also known as Ctenocephalides felis, tend to infect cats most often. However, they may also be found on dogs especially in homes where both cats and dogs and reared as pets.
Cat fleas are the most common of the flea kinds. They have been known to transmit diseases such as plague or typhus through their bites.
2. Dog Fleas
These fleas are mainly found on dogs. This however does not mean they cannot jump onto other animals such as cats, dogs, and rats.
3. Rat Fleas
As the name suggests, rat fleas are mainly found on rats and mice. Therefore, if your home has been invaded by rats or mice, chances are that you will suffer from a rat-flea infection.
4. Human Fleas
Human fleas prefer sucking blood from humans and pigs. while they may still be found on other animals, it seems these ones like having our blood as a primary food source in their diet.
5. Sand Fleas
Sand fleas are also known as Chigoe fleas and they tend to be fun on the beach sand. therefore, the most affected people are beachgoers.
6. Sticktight Fleas
Sticktight fleas are commonly found on poultry, squirrels, and other birds (domestic or wild). as the name suggests, these fleas tend to be sticky compared to other species, which basically means it is not to detach them from the host.
This may be an adaptive development because their hosts are most likely very dynamic and locomotive animals thereby necessitating stickiness to be able to remain on the host for long.
Woe unto you if you interact with the common hosts named above.
Common Flea Treatments for Homes
The most common flea treatments recommended by veterinarians are topical products. The most common ingredient in these products is the chemical permethrin.
Other chemicals found in household treatments include pyrethrins, carbamates, and nepetalactone.
Products containing these ingredients (like Advantage) should not be used on or near children under 2-years of age because they can pose a neurotoxic hazard to them if accidentally ingested.
A safer choice for treating dog fleas is Bravecto, which can also kill tick larvae that come into contact with it. A single treatment period of Bravecto lasts for 3 months!
The second best option is Nexgard since it’s similar to Bravecto but only lasts one month long.
Featured image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, bugwood.org | slight edits were applied | licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.