Fleas have been around forever, they are one of the most prominent of the blood sucking insects. These little creatures are opportunists and once they have invaded they are difficult to get rid of. They can imbed themselves in furniture, carpet and rugs. Fleas are a known carrier of diseases such as Cat Scratch Fever, Typhus, and the Bubonic Plague. It is often thought that rats are the carriers of such deadly diseases, but it is the fleas riding along that carry it from one critter to another. Fleas feed on blood from pets and humans, and any mammal that passes them by. But what is little known is that they do not breed on the mammals, but instead they do so near their food source. Only five percent of all fleas will be found on the animals themselves, they spend the majority of their time off of their movable buffet.
The Flea Cycle of Life
The flea has a three cycle life pattern. The female will lay her twenty eggs in dark damp areas such as cracks in the floor or dark corners in a basement, and are likely to lay more during a high humidity period. The larva from the eggs will hatch in about ten days and will feed on whatever is close to the area, including hair, debris, and feces. The third cycle starts when the larva spins a cocoon and waits for the opportunity to feed. When a warm blood mammal passes by the cocoon, the pupae will jump out of their secure home and on to the passing meal. This waiting period can be anywhere from one week to one year, but their jumping on to a food source can happen in a matter of seconds. The interesting part of this is that the female cannot lay her eggs until she feeds on blood the first time, then will only take her up to forty eight hours to lay after feeding. Because of this long cycle it is difficult to rid your pets from these creatures. Even if you are clearing an animal of the adult fleas the eggs and larva are still hanging around. This is the reason that most people will find that a week after treating a pet the little critters have taken up residence again.
Fighting the Battle Of Fleas
Since fleas love to hitchhike from one animal to another it is probable that if you have more than one pet, even if only one is showing signs of fleas, all pets will be infested. This is also true of people bringing pets into your home, if they are infested than they may leave their visitors behind. Although there are many insecticides and products that are available it is important to note that these have strong chemicals. If overdone it may cause more harm to your pet than the fleas. There are flea shampoos, dips, collars and powders that will affect the different stages of flea life. Most will only work on the adult flea that is on your pet, but will not affect the larva.
Tackling the Home Front Battle
Treating your pet for fleas is only half of the battle; you will also need to treat your home. Some recommendations are vacuuming your home daily to eradicate the pests. While doing this put a flea collar inside the bag to kill whatever is being picked up. It is also a good idea to throw away the vacuum bag in a tightly plastic bag outside of the house. Then wash all your linen, furniture covers, and pet’s bedding, once dry sprinkle diatomaceous earth or pyrethrum, not only on the cleaned items, but also on carpets and floors. For a serious infestation it is recommended to call in professionals.
Products On The Market
There are many different plugin products that use sonic sounds, magnetic pulses. As far as keeping these pests out of your home there are a few sure fire ways. First of all you want to vacuum often and keep all the pet hair cleaned up. If your pets are outdoors a lot then it’s certainly a good idea to get them started on one of the many products your vet can recommend. Quite often this is all you will need. But if you have large problems you may need to work with other items such as bombs for the home or sprays for the yard. There are any number of products you can try that will assist in killing the parasites and most of the products you will treat your pets with will render the fleas sterile and break the breeding cycle.
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