Fleas are important group of insect pests because they cause discomfort by biting and they can transmit several diseases like the plague and murine typhus!!! Fleas cause discomfort and irritation to both pets and people. In the United States Cat fleas are the most common domestic flea ..and they are commonly found on both cats and dogs.
Fleas are about 1/8 inch - laterally flattened, wingless, brownish black to black, but reddish after a blood meal. The mouthparts are piercing-sucking - and mature larvae are twice as long as adults (1/4 inch). Fleas can jump about 6 inches and they can hitchhike into a building by jumping on a shoe or sock and hitching a ride indoors.
Adult fleas (the biting stage seen by pet owners) spend most of their time on the animal. Females lay 3-4 eggs after a bloodmeal and they can lay over 500 in their lifetime -the females lay all of their eggs (up to 50 per day) on the pet. However, the eggs soon fall off the animal into carpeting, beneath the cushions of furniture, and wherever else the pet rests, sleeps or spends most of its time. The life cycle is as follows:
- Eggs - 2 days to hatch, larvae - about 2 weeks
- pupae stage - anywhere from 14 days to a year under harsh conditions
- adults - about a year.
Persistent little buggers huh? Cat fleas also serve as dog tapeworm and rodent tapeworm carriers. Most flea bites occur around the ankles.
To control - any wild animals or rodents in or around the structure must be removed or destroyed - Vacuuming removes many of the eggs, larvae and pupae developing within the home. Vacuuming also stimulates pre-adult fleas to emerge sooner from their insecticide-resistant cocoons, thus hastening their contact with insecticide residues in the carpet. By raising the nap of the carpet, vacuuming improves the insecticide's penetration down to the base of the carpet fibers where the developing fleas live. Vacuum thoroughly, especially in areas where pets rest or sleep. Don't forget to vacuum along edges of rooms and beneath furniture, cushions, beds, and throw rugs. After vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag in a garbage bag and discard it in an outdoor trash container.
Pet owner's must have pet treated - indoors a flea treatment to all the resting sites of pets and using a labeled pesticide and IGR - and outside spots treatment should be done where the animal frequents - like porches, patios and if the infestation is severe an overall yard spray may be necessary.