Fleas have a habit of sneaking into homes and bugging you and your pets. These pests live and feed on their hosts. Having an understanding of fleas and their habits can help you control and prevent these pests in your home. Check out a few interesting facts about fleas and how to get rid of them.
What Do Fleas Look Like?
Fleas are small, narrow, wingless insects with three pairs of legs. Adult fleas measure about 1/8" in length. They are dark reddish-brown and have biting mouthparts. The species most likely to be problematic to animals and humans include cat fleas, dog fleas, and human fleas.
5 Important Facts About Fleas
If you're dealing with fleas, it's important to understand what you're up against. We've made a list of five important facts about fleas.
1. Fleas Are Excellent Jumpers
Fleas have hind legs much longer than their frontward legs, allowing them to jump incredibly high and forward. Adult fleas can jump up to two feet high. They can leap forward distances of about 150 times their body length.
2. Fleas Have Many Hosts
These pests can feed on any warm-blooded body, including humans. They prefer to feed on hairy animals such as dogs and cats. Their bristles and flat body allow them to easily move through coarse animal hair. Cat fleas prefer cats as hosts. Human fleas, despite their name, prefer to feed on pigs.
3. Fleas Prefer Warm Environments
Fleas like to spend time in warm, humid environments. Warmth aids their development, and they have a flexible life cycle. Ideally, it takes about three weeks to develop from an egg to an adult. Fleas can wait until conditions are optimal to go from one stage to the next. The warmer and more humid conditions are, the faster fleas can develop.
4. Fleas Can Survive Without a Blood Meal
These pests can go a long time without a blood meal. Fleas can survive without feeding for up to 100 days. However, females do need a blood meal to lay eggs.
5. Fleas Transmit Bacteria
Fleas can transmit bacteria and blood-borne contaminants as well as smaller parasites like tapeworms. Dogs and cats often eat fleas when they are self-grooming, which means they can swallow fleas infested with tapeworms.
Interesting Facts About Fleas
Check out a few interesting facts about fleas.
- Even if you don’t have pets, you can still deal with fleas.
- Indoor-only pets aren’t immune to fleas. Humans and dogs can track fleas into a home, which can later latch on to an unsuspecting cat.
- An adult flea can feed up to 15 times a day.
- Flea excrement contains blood. Droppings are made of dried blood residue.
- Pets dealing with fleas will scratch and bite itchy spots. A severe infestation can cause patches of hair loss.
- Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs daily. They lay eggs on their animal host. Eggs are round, smooth, white, and tiny. They easily fall off pets onto soil or your floors.
- Dinosaurs had to deal with fleas too. Flea fossils dating back 165 million years to the Mesozoic Era have been discovered.
- One flea species, the Chigoe flea or jigger, is native to Latin America and parts of Africa. It’s known to live on the blood of humans, burrowing deep into skin and feet. They cause itchiness and ulcers. If they become serious, they can make walking difficult.
- The effects of flea bites vary between hosts. Allergies can make it worse, especially the itchiness of the bite. Pets can develop an allergy to flea saliva, which is injected when fleas bite a host.
How to Prevent Fleas
Implementing preventative methods both indoors and outside can help keep fleas away. Check out a few tips to prevent fleas from invading.
- Keep Your Yard Clean: Trim foliage and trees back from your home. Keep your lawn trimmed. Seal openings to crawl spaces, garages, sheds, and under decks. Clean up trash from your yard that flea-infested wildlife might want to eat. Don’t leave your pet’s food outside overnight.
- Keep Your Home Clean: Thoroughly sweep and vacuum your floors to remove adult fleas, eggs, larvae, and pupae. Vacuum upholstered furniture and underneath furniture. Seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag, and dispose of it in the trash, preferably outdoors.
- Take Care of Your Pets: Check your pets for fleas often, especially after spending time outside or near other animals. Give your pets baths. This will make it easier to spot fleas and will also help to remove those on your pet. Wash your pet’s bedding. Work with your veterinarian to choose the best preventative methods.
- Create a Protective Barrier: Spraying your lawn with a plant-based insecticide spray can help to prevent fleas. Our Yard Bug Spray kills fleas on contact and has repellent properties. This residual repellency will help to deter fleas from entering your space.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
When dealing with fleas, you have to treat your pets and your home. We’ve gathered information to help you get rid of these pests.
Treat Your Pets
It’s important to treat your pets to ensure an infestation is eliminated. Start by talking to your veterinarian. They will know the best way to help your furry family members. Regularly give your pets a bath to help remove any fleas hiding on them. You’ll want to keep their bedding and toys clean as well.
Treat Your Home
You’ll also need to take care of things in your home. A plant-based insecticide spray can help. Our Bed Bug & Flea Killer and Home Bug Spray kill fleas on contact and provide residual repellency. You can also use an insecticide dust like our Bed Bug Killer or Spider & Insect Dust. They can be applied to the edges of carpets, under and around pet bedding and rest areas, and underneath furniture cushions. Dusts are a longer-lasting solution. While our products can be used in areas where pets hang out, they are not labeled for use on your furry friends.
Fleas aren’t ideal house guests. When they invade, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you’re dealing with a pest problem, we have your back! For a more environmentally and family-friendly solution, check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.