SOLVING A FLEA PROBLEM EASILY
Having fleas in the house has never made life easy for homeowners. Most people think that fleas are just a common dog and cat pests. What we all should be aware of is that fleas also affect humans too.
Overview of fleas
Fleas are small insects, about 2.5 mm long. They are wingless, reddish brown in color, and are laterally compressed. Due to this shape, they can move easily between the hairs of their hosts. They have mouthparts that can pierce the skin and suck blood. And though they do not have wings, they are capable of jumping long distances. Fleas can jump up to 110 times their length.
Fleas can live for a few months only. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. This is what they feed on to survive. They can also feed on one host to another. Fleas can be such a big problem because not only are their bites itchy and irritating, they can also transmit diseases.
Fleas feed wherever they find fresh blood. They do not really choose their hosts, as long as they can get blood from it. Fleas can detect their next host through vibrations on the floor. They are also capable of detecting carbon dioxide that was exhaled by humans and animals. They simply jump onto the next host for some fresh blood.
Flea life cycle
The life cycle of a flea has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
An adult female can lay as much as 40 eggs a day. The female adult lays her eggs on her host, most probably your pet. From time to time though, these eggs would fall off from the host and scatter all over the house. The eggs would then hatch on different parts of the house. It takes about two days for the flea egg to hatch.
After the eggs hatch, they become larvae. They are tiny and look like worms. They are 3/16 in. long and have hair. They are brownish red and have no eyes. This stage lasts for 5 days when they just feed and crawl around. They feed on the adult feces and dried blood. After 5 days, it then gets into a cocoon, until they sense a host and then they become adult fleas.
A fully developed flea will only emerge from the cocoon once host appears that it can feed on. A female flea, once it had its first blood meal, can lay eggs after 1 to 2 days of that meal. After laying the eggs, then the whole cycle restarts.
Fleas can survive without eating for as long as 2 weeks. Their pupae can stay in their cocoons for 1 year. However, adult fleas can only lay eggs after a blood meal.
Signs of flea infestation
The best way to tell if there are fleas in your house is that there is persistent itching. You may also see them jumping around. You may also find flea bites on you or a member of the family. They are usually located at the legs and ankles, where they can easily reach from the ground.
Fleas diseases you may get
People now know that fleas not only can cause very itchy bites but are also disease carriers. One of these diseases is the murine typhus. Your pet cats can be carriers of the fleas that are infected with the murine virus. Humans then get infected by the murine typhus when bitten by the fleas. Signs and symptoms of this disease are fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches, and backaches. These are just the initial symptoms, however, as, after five days of the initial symptoms, rashes would start to appear. The rash would start from the trunk of the body and spread to the arms and legs. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms start to appear.
New studies have now pointed to fleas as the cause of the plague. The plague is a bacterial disease caused by the Yersinia pestis virus and spread through flea bites. There are three types of plague: the bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonia.
In bubonic plague, patients develop fever, chills, weakness, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. The bacteria can spread into the other parts of the body if not treated with the right antibiotics. A septicemic plague has for its symptoms fever, abdominal pain, weakness, chills, shock, and bleeding skin and organs. Skins on the nose, fingers, and toes may die and turn black. Pneumonic plague is the most dangerous. If bubonic or septicemic plague is left untreated, pneumonic plague results. Symptoms include fever, weakness, headache, and pneumonia with shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and bloody or watery mucus. This type is also the only plague that can be spread by human to human contact.
Another disease from fleas is the cat scratch fever. Cats are infected with this disease and pass them off to humans when they bite or scratch, or by licking a wound or near a wound.
Cat scratch disease is rare, but in those rare cases, it can affect the brain, the eyes, the heart, and other internal organs. When bitten or scratched by your cat, wash immediately with soap and water and never allow them to lick your wounds. It is said that 40% of cats have had the bacteria that causes it – Bartonella henselae – at one point in their lives.
Fleas can also give us tapeworms. While it is mostly found in dogs and cats, children may also get tapeworms. Children get them by accidentally swallowing fleas while playing outdoors. Dogs and cats also get them the same way.
Another interesting fact about fleas is that they are blamed for the spread of the “Black Death”. This happened in Europe during the Middle Ages. The Black Death wiped out more than half of Europe’s population and even reached Asia. The damage was so immense that it took almost 300 years for them to fully recover. Rodents were initially the suspects until further studies showed that fleas were the real culprits by carrying the bacteria Yersinia pestis.
How to solve your flea problems easily
Prevention will always be the best solution, rather than having to treat the flea infestation itself. Since flea infestation starts mostly from your pets, then have them checked by the vet regularly to have them treated. This will prevent any further problems with fleas.
However, when there are fleas in your house already, effort should be made to get rid of them immediately. Here are some ways to get rid of fleas that you can do yourself.
- You can use your vacuum cleaner to clean the house. Vacuum the areas that you think are infested by the fleas. Include areas that are under the sofas, cabinets, and tables. If you have to move the furniture to vacuum the whole carpet, then do so.
- Wash all beddings in hot water, including your pet’s. This is if you think you already have a flea infestation. Then dry the beddings using the highest heat setting to kill the fleas.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the house. In case you are unfamiliar with this, diatomaceous earth is made of fossilized remains of diatoms. It is described as being like tiny shards of broken glass and is highly abrasive for the insects. Diatomaceous earth inflicts several tiny cuts on the fleas’ bodies, making them bleed to death. You can buy this from your local garden supply stores.
- You can make a lemon solution by yourself. Get a piece of lemon and thinly slice it. Put it into a pint of water then boil. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray the lemon solution onto affected areas. Other citrus fruits like oranges, lime, or grapefruit can be used.
- Wash your pets with flea soap and water. This is an effective way to kill the fleas that are latched to your pets.
- Pour soapy water in a cup, then get a comb to use on your pet. Then dip the comb into the cup of soapy water after running it through your pet. The fleas that you capture with the comb will drown each time you do this. Repeat as often as necessary.
- If all else fails, then pick up the phone and call the best pest management in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Simply the best pest control management in North Carolina
When it comes to pest extermination, residents and businesses in North Carolina trust only one name: Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company that has excellent experience in pest extermination. They have a team of expert professionals who are highly skilled and well-trained, so you can say goodbye to those pests. They also employ family friendly and pet-friendly methods of exterminating pests like fleas, cockroaches, mice, mosquitoes, spiders, wasps, moths, weevils, and silverfish. You can be sure that you and your family will be safe.
For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.