What do fleas look like?
Fleas have flat bodies that are dark reddish-brown and are equipped with six legs and a pair of antennae. They do not have wings, but rather strong legs that allow them to jump long distances. Fleas range in size from 1/12 to 1/6 inch long.
Did you know?
Fleas are ectoparasites that feed on the blood of various warm-blooded animals.
The most common flea species is the cat flea.
Fleas can live for about 100 days, which during that time females can produce up to 2,000 offspring.
You don't have to own pets to develop a flea infestation on your property.
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Biology of fleas
During their development, fleas go through a complete metamorphosis consisting of four stages - egg, larva, pupa, and adult. This process can take anywhere from two to three weeks to several months. Ideal conditions for the development of fleas include warm temperatures and high humidity.
To survive, new adult fleas must have a blood meal within a week.
Where are fleas commonly found?
Outdoors, fleas prefer to live in grassy, shady areas close to the soil and not exposed to the sun. For property owners with dog houses or other accommodations for animals outside, fleas are likely to be a problem in those areas as well.
Indoors, fleas are often found in pet beds, carpeting, upholstered furniture, bedding (if pets are allowed to sleep there), and other areas where pets are likely to rest.
What do fleas eat?
Adult fleas feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals and human while flea larvae often eat flea feces and decaying animal and plant matter before they’re able to start sucking blood from hosts.
Are fleas dangerous?
According to a 2023 study published on PCT’s website, Texas, California, and New Mexico have the worst combined rates for the most common flea-borne diseases. This includes cat scratch disease, typhus, and plague. With that information in mind, fleas should be a concern for individuals who live in those states.
Although not every flea bite poses a significant health risk, it’s worth noting that flea saliva can create an allergic reaction in both people and animals.
How did I get fleas?
The most common way for fleas to get in your home is on your pets, but they can also be introduced on mice and other rodents that sneak in through openings on the exterior of your house. They might also arrive on used furniture, on your belongings, and even jump right in.
While flea problems are more common for properties with pets, homeowners without pets could become infested with fleas when they bring in flea infested items or have wildlife on their property that are acting as hosts to these ectoparasites.
How can I prevent flea infestations?
To prevent fleas from infesting your yard or home, our pest control specialists recommend the following flea prevention tips:
- Speak to your veterinarian about preventative treatments for your pets
- Wash pet bedding regularly
- Clean your own bedding often if you allow pets to sleep on your bed
- Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture routinely
- Wash kennel walls and floors with soap and water
- Clear away tall grasses
- Keep lawns trimmed
- Address rodent infestations and try to keep other wildlife off your property