The temperatures are warming up and the flowers are beginning to bloom. That’s right, it’s spring. But as we welcome warmer temperatures, we also welcome a whole new season of pests, particularly for pet owners. That’s right. It’s flea season. The time of year for those pesky little parasites that make our pets itch and scratch.
At about 1/8″ long, fleas are among the most common of nuisances affecting the warmer months. These wingless little insects, known for jumping more than 7 inches, have long thin bodies to easily move through your pets fur, and legs with a claw-like grip to hold on to your pet when they scratch. Similar to mosquitoes, they pierce the skin of your pet and feed on their blood, causing your pet discomfort and aggravation.
Besides being a nuisance, fleas can actually pose a health risk to not only your pets, but to your family as well. You or your pet may be allergic to the bite of the flea, causing itchy and broken skin known as flea allergy dermatitis, but fleas have been known to transmit other bacterial diseases and parasites as well such as typhus and tapeworms. The most infamous example would be the “Black Death”- a mortal disease that affected almost 60% of Europe’s population in the 14th century caused by fleas on rats.
The biggest problem with fleas is that once you have them, they are hard to get rid of! These little insects have been around longer than people, so they have definitely have learned to adapt. Add to this the fact that a female flea can lay approximately 40 eggs every day, and you can see why a flea infestation is so quick to spread! As your pet moves around the house, the eggs can become embedded in other areas, such as couches, rugs, and beds. In fact, flea eggs make up almost half of the infestation in your home. The entire flea cycle, from egg to adult, can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but the adult flea can begin laying eggs within a few days of it’s first blood meal, causing your infestation to spread even more rapidly with each new flea cycle.
So what can you to prevent fleas? The first step is to stop them where they start with a good preventative medication for your pet. Most of these medications take 2-3 cycles before you see a significant difference because they infect the new offspring rather than the fleas you see, preventing new generations of pests from forming. Make sure you vacuum your carpets and upholstered items often. Make sure to clean around your pet’s personal area often and wash any pet bedding in a warm wash cycle. And finally, call Go-Forth Pest Control to treat the areas inside and outside of your home.