What are Fleas?
Fleas have small wings and measure 2.5mm in length. Their bodies are shiny, reddish brown and covered with microscopic hairs. They are also compressed to make it easy to move through animal fur. Although they don't have wings, fleas have strong back legs and can jump long distances.
Fleas can be considered ectoparasites, meaning that they live and feed outside their host. The only food they have is the blood of warm-blooded mammals like cats, dogs and rodents. The cat flea is the most prevalent flea in the United States. These tiny parasites, which are about the size of a grain of dirt, are very difficult to squash due to their hard bodies.
What kinds of fleas are there?
Cat fleas grow to about 1/4 inch in length. Cat fleas, which are small, dark brown or black insects, are compacted and appear compressed when viewed side-by-side.
The Dog Flea is most common in European, African, and Asian and are less common in North America. They look and behave very similar to cat fleas and are often confused.
How did I get Fleas?
Flea infestations are often caused by pets, such as cats and dogs. Fleas can attach to an animal while it is outside and infest its fur and any places where it sleeps indoors. It can be hard to prevent fleas from your home and garden. Any pet owner can be vulnerable to an infest.
Find a host for blood
To survive, fleas need to have blood from a host. Fleas can become an interior problem when their host is not around. Fleas then turn their attention to other hosts within the home and feed on them. A trapping and removing a mouse from the home can be an example of this. Fleas that had previously fed on the mouse will then feed on pets and people.
What are fleas' favorite foods?
Adults are parasites which draw blood from their host. Larvae feed off organic matter, especially the feces from adult fleas. These feces contain undigested blood. Fleas prefer to eat hairy animals like:
- Domesticated animal
- Wild animals
How do fleas reproduce?
The eggs are not attached to their host. These are the places eggs will hatch:
- On the ground
- Cracks in the floor
Most fleas hatch in two days. Learn more about the lifecycle of fleas.
How do I keep fleas away?
While exclusion is an important practice for pest control, it does not provide a significant benefit to flea control. To keep fleas out of your home, seal any cracks, gaps, or holes.
The most effective ways to keep fleas from getting inside the home is to eliminate outdoor flea habitats and outdoor hosts, plus using area-wide flea control chemical products and veterinarian-approved flea control products on pets.
- Dog Fleas Ctenocephalides canis
- Cat Fleas Ctenocephalides felis
If fleas become an issue, contact your local Alta Pest Control professional to request an inspection.