All About Fleas and How to Prevent Them
March 30, 2023
Fleas are small, blood-sucking parasites that can be found on various animals throughout San Diego and Southern California, including pets, wildlife, and even humans. They are known for their jumping ability, which allows them to move quickly from host to host.
Fleas can transmit diseases through the processes of feeding on hosts or through fecal contamination. Preventing flea infestations is essential to protect both humans and animals from the potential dangers of flea-borne diseases. By following the tips below, you can help prevent flea infestations and protect your pets and family.
Fleas have a four-step life cycle, which includes the egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. The life cycle of fleas typically begins when adult fleas lay eggs on their host or in the environment. Eggs can hatch in as little as one day or up to ten days, depending on the temperature and humidity levels. Once the eggs hatch, the fleas enter the larval stage, where they are free-moving and feed on blood and flea feces, also known as flea dirt. Flea larvae prefer dark, humid areas, such as carpets, bedding, and furniture, where they can hide and feed.
After feeding for 5-20 days, flea larvae will spin a cocoon and enter the pupal stage. The cocoon protects the pupa from environmental conditions and insecticides/repellents for several days or weeks until adult fleas are ready to emerge. This is why multiple treatments are necessary to eradicate fleas from a home. Adult fleas will not emerge from the cocoon until there is a clear presence of a host, such as movement or body heat, which will signal that there is a blood meal readily available.
Once adult fleas emerge from their cocoons, they will begin to feed on their host within a few hours and mate soon after. Adult female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day, which will hatch and continue the life cycle. Fleas prefer animal hosts, but they will resort to biting people when animals are unavailable.
Fleas can be carriers of diseases, including plague, typhus, and cat scratch fever. They transmit germs that cause disease primarily through the processes of feeding on hosts or through fecal contamination. When infected flea feces are scratched into an open wound, it can lead to infection and disease. Flea bites can also cause itching, redness, and irritation.
Preventing flea infestations is essential to protect both humans and animals from the potential dangers of flea-borne diseases. The following are some tips for preventing flea infestations:
- Keep pets clean and well-groomed: Regular grooming, brushing, and bathing can help remove fleas from your pet's fur and prevent infestations.
- Vacuum regularly: Vacuuming carpets, floors, and furniture can help remove flea eggs, larvae, and pupae from your home. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or contents immediately after vacuuming to prevent re-infestation.
- Treat pets with flea preventative: There are several flea-preventative products available for pets, such as topical treatments, collars, and oral medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best option for your pet.
- Treat the environment: Fleas can survive in the environment for several months, so it's essential to treat the environment with insecticides and flea sprays. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label and treat all areas where fleas may be present.
- Keep wildlife away: Fleas can be carried by wildlife, so it's important to keep wildlife away from your home and pets. Seal any gaps or holes in your home to prevent wildlife from entering.
However, it is important to remember that fleas are an incredibly difficult pest to prevent or remove for homeowners working on their own. Even with the best preventative practices, you could still come under flea infestation. When that happens, it's time to call a professional for help.
If you're worried about fleas in your home, contact the professionals at Bite Away Termite and Pest Control for help. Our extensive flea treatment methodology allows us to eliminate flea infestations of any shape and size over consecutive treatments. Don't leave yourself and your pets at risk of the frustration and health hazards that fleas bring: call Bite Away Termite and Pest Control and find out why we're the best option to keep fleas out of your home for good.