HOW TO IDENTIFY FLEAS
Fleas are the tiny organisms which belong to the category of insects. They are wingless and their structure which is flattened from the sideways, help them in moving easily through the fur and wings of the host. They vary in size but the most common size of fleas are 1.5 to 3.3 mm long. They are usually dark in color like reddish brown or an orange tinge.
They act as a parasite on some animals and even birds. Their strong and long legs help them in clenching to their host while they suck the blood through epipharynx.
- Unusual scratching- If you experience an unusual amount of scratching then fleas might be the reason behind it. The same goes for the pets so it has to be observed if your pet is scratching or biting his skin a lot.
- Restlessness- When fleas invade the outer layer of a host, their presence causes a lot of restlessness among the hosts. It has to be determined properly in both humans and pets.
- Red patches on the skin- When a flea bites the host it can cause an unusual rash on the skin of the host which can be easily noticed.
- Powdered remnants- If you find remnants of white, brown, or black on the skin of the host as well as the carpet or other such areas then you can be sure that there are fleas. The white remnants are the eggs of the fleas, and the dark ones are the waste excreted by them after the consumption of blood.
- Hair loss- Though there are many reasons for hair loss, one of them is alopecia which is a reaction to flea bites. So if constant hair loss is observed then it should be treated severely.
- Pale gums- Anemia is a disease which is related to the lack of red blood cells in the body. If you see that your pet’s gums are pale then it might indicate a flea infestation, as fleas suck the blood from the body of the host and make it deprived of red blood cells.
HOW DO YOU GET FLEAS
One question that everyone who has ever encountered fleas wonders is “How did fleas enter my house?” Well, there is no fixed reason which causes a flea infestation but here is a list of reasons which can help you in identifying the reason behind its infestation in your house:
Old furniture- If you have recently purchased an old furniture and encountered a flea problem then you can be sure that the furniture was laden with fleas, which resulted in flea infestation.
Previous owners- If you encounter a flea infestation after moving to a new house then it can mean that the previous owners might have had fleas and they did not get rid of it before selling you the house.
Jumping fleas- As it is known that fleas are great jumpers, they can invade your house by jumping on your pet from the garden and finding their way inside your house.
Pets- If your pets get fleas through any means then it can have a direct access to your house and can cause an havoc for you and your dog.
Dirty neighborhood- Even if you have a neat and clean house then also fleas can enter your house if you have a dirty neighbor who might pass on the fleas from his house to yours.
HOW TO GET RID OF FLEAS
Getting rid of fleas can be a lot complicated process then it seems especially if you want to opt for a do-it-yourself trick. The reason behind this is that you can only get rid of the fleas that are visible to you, whereas the fleas who are hiding may be a lot in number which can increase if it is not treated at the right time. So it is advised to hire a professional team of pest control to get rid of all the fleas from your house.
Even if you cannot get rid of the already existing fleas in your house, you can prevent them from entering it by keeping it clean, and regular cleanups in places which are humid and away from sunlight as these spots are used by fleas for shelter.
Life Cycle of Fleas
A flea goes through three stages before finally becoming an adult. They are-
This is the first and the foremost stage from where the life of a flea begins. Some species of fleas who live in nests lay their eggs in it whereas the other species end up laying it on the host. The hatching of eggs takes two days to two weeks.
Flea larva comes out of the egg and starts feeding on the available organic material like dead insects, and feces. As larva, the flea feeds on the adult flea’s feces as it contains stored and dried blood. They cannot see, and they avoid sunlight by hiding in dark and humid places.
After completing the larva stage, the flea builds a cocoon for itself and begins its process of metamorphosis. It can take two days if the environment is suitable for a flea to turn into an adult.
As soon as the flea becomes an adult, feeding and reproducing becomes its primary purpose. An adult female flea has the capacity of laying 5000 or more eggs throughout her life.
An adult flea can live up to 2 to 3 months in the right environment, but if the environment is not suitable then their lifespan can be shortened to a few days.
Purpose of Fleas in Ecosystem
The purpose that fleas serve in the ecosystem has not yet been accurately determined but it has been observed that they are a part of the food chain as they suck blood from their hosts and eventually provide the required nutrients to tapeworms who further continue the chain.
Facts About Fleas
- Animals over human host- They prefer feeding on an animal rather than feeding on a human host.
- Survive without feeding- Fleas can survive a long time like around almost a year without feeding, which is why they are found in old houses which have been deprived of any pets or humans.
- Best jumpers- Fleas can jump up to 8 inch vertically which makes them one of the best jumpers in the animals, depending on their size.