THINGS THAT THE FLEAS WOULD NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW THIS FALL SEASON
We can all think of so many reasons why we love the fall season. Everything looks so fresh, and warm, and cozy. When it rains, the smell of it is much better than any other season. The air seems of better quality, the birds sing more beautifully. The colors of fall are more stunning, crisper. And of course, hot chocolate tastes better too. I and my dog enjoy outdoor walks during the fall season. He just loves how the leaves fall around him. Ah, the wonders of fall!
Well, just like in life, not all things turn out good during fall. For one, it is hard to get rid of fleas even in the fall. Fleas are very small insects, yet they are known to be among the most annoying ones on earth. They bite pets and humans, feeding on their blood while leaving immense itchiness after.
Unfortunately, there is more to the fleas than their itchy bites; fleas are known to transmit deadly diseases. At one point in mankind’s history, they almost single-handedly eradicated the entire human population. Though it is highly unlikely that they will cause the same kind of destruction, the dangers they bring still lurk. In this article, we will show you how you can eliminate that risk, and be flea-free for this fall. Even fleas would not want you to know these things we are going to tell you.
What are fleas?
As of this moment, there are around 2,500 known species of fleas. They are small but are easily visible to our naked eye. They have flat, wingless bodies and are unable to fly because of that. Their bodies are divided into three segments: the head, thorax, and the abdomen. They have reddish-brown bodies that grow about 0.12 inch to ⅙ inch long and are flattened sideways. They have legs that strong enough to allow them to jump. They have three pairs of legs that are attached to their thorax. Their bodies are a little challenging to squish because they are covered with what is a sclerite, a hard plate that protects them from animal bites or from a fall after a mistimed or miscalculated jump. Covering their hard exoskeleton are tiny hairs. These hairs point towards the opposite direction of their head. Since their bodies are flattened sideways and their hair not getting in the way, fleas easily navigate hairy hosts. These hairs have another use: it acts like tiny hands that hold on to their host’s fur so they are not easily dislodged. Aside from that, they are equipped with long claws that allow them to latch on to the skin of their hosts. They have mouth parts that are capable of piercing skin, allowing them to suck blood from their hosts. They have spines around their heads and mouths. Several parts of their mouths form a needle-like tube so they can feed. These mouth parts include two laciniae that cut the skin. Then they have their epipharynx which is a needle-like part that is surrounded by the laciniae to form a stylet. Lastly is the labium, and this supports the stylet.
Fleas are disease carriers
They would not want you to panic, so at least they can suck blood peacefully. The truth is that they, not just nuisance pests, they are also dangerous. This is because fleas are known to be transmitters of disease.
We have listed below some of the diseases that fleas are known to pass on to humans.
- Tungiasis – This is an inflammatory skin disease that is transmitted by the sand fleas. The sand flea is also known by the name burrowing flea, or chigger flea. This usually affects the feet, because sand fleas have limited jumping ability and can only attach themselves to that part of the body. Most cases of this disease are reported in tropical regions such as the Caribbean, Central America, and the West Indies, but later cases have increased in the United States due to increased travel. To minimize risks of getting this disease, wear shoes instead of sandals when walking in sandy areas in these affected regions. The symptoms a lesion that can be described as a white patch with a black dot. This lesion can be painful and very itchy, and in some cases, it turns red and swollen. In some cases, there may be no symptoms.
- Tularemia – This is a disease that can inflict people and animals. Tularemia is a potentially serious illness that is common in North America. It can be transferred to people via flea or tick bites, skin contact with infected animals, drinking water that has been contaminated, or laboratory exposure. The signs and symptoms would depend on how the bacteria enter the body. In an ulceroglandular tularemia, there is a high fever, skin ulcer at the site where the bacteria entered the body, and swelling of the regional lymph glands. Glandular tularemia features the same signs and symptoms. Another form of tularemia, pneumonic tularemia, is the most dangerous of all. Symptoms are difficulty in breathing, chest pains, and cough.
- Plague – Fleas, not rats, were the cause of the spread of the plague that decimated Europe’s population during the Middle Ages, killing an estimated 25 million people. This disease exists until this day, but advances in the field of medicine make it rare nowadays or at least easy to treat. Patients develop fever, chills, weakness, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. This results from an infected flea bite. It should bet treated with the right antibiotics, otherwise, the bacteria can spread into the other parts of the body.
Signs of fleas
Fleas do not want to be discovered by us. They would rather be left alone, hiding in dark, shady places. Thus, we should be proactively looking for them. Look for fleas on your dog’s belly, armpits, ears, inner thighs, and tail. You may check your dog’s fur for the presence of flea feces. This comes in the form of brown specks of dirt. If you find them, grab a paper towel to test if these are indeed fecal matter to pick them off. If after a few minutes these specks spread out like bloodstains, then your dog has fleas.
If you notice an increased scratching and licking by your dog, it is possible that he has fleas.
Fleas may not only be found on your dog’s body, but they can also be found in areas where your dog frequents.
Now here are some of the things that fleas really hate. Do this, and you eliminate fleas effectively.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on carpets, couches, furniture, bedding, and anywhere that your dog frequents. Diatomaceous earth is like tiny shards of broken glass and is non-toxic. It is even safe enough to be applied to the dog’s coat as well. When crawled on by fleas, it would cause tiny cuts on their bodies. Eventually, they would bleed to death. Be careful not to hit the eyes, ears, and mouth. Diatomaceous earth works only when dry. Reapply once a week for one month, or when it gets wet.
- Sprinkle table salt throughout the house. This will effectively kill the fleas. Leave it as is for a few hours. Leave for a few hours, then vacuum the areas where you sprinkled salt. Throw away the vacuum’s bag properly.
- Fleas hate apple cider vinegar and are a very good flea repellent. They do not like their scent. Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray this on your pet’s coat for protection.
- The lemon spray also works. To make a lemon spray, boil some lemons and let it seep overnight. This will let the oil and juices mix with the water. Spray over furniture, bedding, carpet, and directly on your pet’s coat. To make it last for one week, refrigerate the lemon spray.
- Vacuum areas that your dog frequents, including sofas, bedding, carpets, and other furniture. After vacuuming, seal the vacuum’s bag and dispose of properly. This is to ensure none of the fleas would be able to return.
- Regularly bathe your pets. Use a flea shampoo.
- You can also use boric acid. Boric acid works by dehydrating fleas and dries them out to kill them. Sprinkle boric acid on areas where you think there are fleas. Use a shaker to make sprinkling easier for you. Be sure to label it as “Boric Acid” to avoid getting confused with other ingredients in the kitchen.
There you go. Some secrets that fleas never want to get out. If you have noticed, we used all-natural materials and none of those chemical pesticides. Natural is safer.
If you still have these unwanted pests in your home, be sure to contact the best exterminators for fleas on dogs, Go-Forth Pest Control. Let Go-Forth Pest Control do all the dirty work for you, so you can avoid the hassle and just focus on the more important things: your family.