Flea infestations can be very harmful to your pets and also to your health. Some fleas even transmit several deadly diseases. So, controlling flea infestations is very important and must be prioritized.
Common Types of Fleas Found in Madison
There are 2500+ species of fleas around the world. The U.S. itself has 300 species of fleas. There are only a few flea species that can harm a person’s health. They are:
- Oriental Rat Flea – This flea is known for transmitting Flea-borne (murine) typhus and Plague. This flea is mainly associated with rats and can globally transmit the Plague bacteria.
- Ground Squirrel Flea – It is also known as Oropsylla montana. This flea is known for transmitting Plague. These are found primarily on ground squirrels, even in rock squirrels and California ground squirrels.
- Dog Flea – This flea is also known as Ctenocephalides canis. This flea is known for transmitting a tapeworm known as Dipylidium caninum. This tapeworm is commonly found in cats, dogs, and sometimes in humans too.
- Cat Flea – This one is also known as Ctenocephalides felis. It is known for transmitting diseases like CSD (Cat Scratch Disease) and Flea-borne (murine) typhus. This flea is commonly found on pets, like dogs, etc. This flea can also be found on several other domestic animals. It can even spread plague bacteria, but not as efficiently as the rat fleas or the squirrel fleas.
How Long Do Fleas Live?
The lifespan of fleas is not very long. The life cycle of this flea starts with eggs, larvae, pupae, and finally, the adult stage. The entire process takes 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes even months. In ideal situations, adult dog fleas and cat fleas can live for about one year. It only lives for 1 – 2 weeks if it doesn’t get a host. The eggs are laid, while the female fleas are attached to their host. The eggs slowly drop on the ground as these are unattached. The eggs take about 2 to 12 days for hatching. Then they form larvae.
The larvae have no legs, and their color is whitish. These larvae don’t have appendages, but they do have well-developed and robust mouths. In the summertime, the larval stage is usually small. It takes around 4 to 24 days to enter the pupal stage. During the rest of the year, this can extend to 200 days. These larvae feed on the shedding of their own skin. They also feed on organic debris (including dead skin cells and hair) and waste products from other adult fleas. These larvae spin a cocoon around themselves to enter into the pupal stage. The pupal stage usually is 5 to 14 days long. Under poor conditions, it might take even longer. When the right time comes, these adult fleas finally emerge out of their cocoons. Then they wait for a potential host to pass by.
How to Keep Fleas Out?
It can take weeks or even a month to stop or control flea infestations. It is always better to prevent it from occurring in the first place. If you don’t want ticks or fleas to bother your pet or to move into your home, follow these simple steps for preventing flea infestations:
Troubleshooting Your Yard
The first thing you need to do is mow the grass and trim the shrubs present in your yard. You need to do this frequently to prevent fleas and ticks from hiding in your yard. Don’t let feral wildlife or pets come into your yard, as they might carry the fleas with them. Feral cats, raccoons, and opossums need to be avoided the most. Don’t leave bowls of cat or dog food outside. Otherwise, it will attract feral pets. Any tall shrub or tree needs to be trimmed so that no wild animal can enter your attic. You need to seal off all the openings under decks, sheds, and garages to prevent stray cats or dogs, or wild animals from nesting. You also need to plant the shrubs away from each other and away from your house as well.
Prevention is always better than cure. So, when your pet comes home, always remember to run a flea comb through the pet’s coat before letting it enter your home. So, even if it is carrying the fleas, the combing will at least reduce the number. If your pet is long-haired, fleas can easily hide. So, during the summers, make sure to shave down your pet. It will help you to spot the problems, if any.
Keeping the Home Clean
If you have fleas in your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your house is dirty. You need to observe specific areas to decrease the chances of flea infestations. Flea eggs, flea larvae, and flea pupae can survive in the throw rugs and the carpeting. Make sure to vacuum at least once a week. Or, do it more frequently if you notice fleas.
Identifying Flea Bites
Fleas are so tiny that people sometimes fail to notice them. It is vital to identify the flea bites; otherwise, you won’t even realize the problem before it gets worst. Flea bites look like round-shaped bumps on your skin that are surrounded by halo shapes. These bumps are red and itchy. The degree of itchiness varies from person to person. Most people experience severe itchiness. People who have flea allergies might even develop rashes or hives. It can take almost 24 hours for allergic reactions to occur. The confusing thing about flea bites is that these look similar to mosquito bites. Several types of insect bites can also cause red bumps on your skin. You can find out the actual culprits behind these bumps by identifying at what times of the night and day you are getting it and how frequently you are getting it.
The best thing is to find any evidence related to the pest. So, if you are in a similar situation, it is always better to seek professional help for flea control in Madison. Our experts at Thrive Pest Control know exactly how to help you in this situation. So, go ahead and give us a call at (918) 600-2028!