Nowadays, almost everyone has a pet. In today’s fast-changing world, we feel the need for something consistent, loving and calming. Pets provide it for many of us. However, even our precious furry companions have enemies – fleas. The flea is a small, almost unnoticeable creature which negatively impacts the lives of many pets and their families. They are nasty and unpleasant pests, which can be a lot of trouble for our pets and us. Getting rid of them and ensuring they never come back should be a top priority. A few interesting facts will make you more aware of the dangers they pose.
Fleаs feed on blood
Many people already know this from personal experience. However, it’s still worth mentioning because it’s the most alarming fact about these creatures. Fleas feed entirely on blood. They usually infest other animals, like cats, dogs, birds and everything with fur or feathers. They jump on their prey and hide inside its coat. If you see your pet constantly scratching, this may be a sign of a flea infestation. You should take immediate action and exterminate the pests before they transfer to you. Fortunately, vet stores sell many solutions for this problem.
Fleas are surprisingly durable
Many people think that because fleas are so tiny, they’ll quickly die out when they leave the property for a few days. The truth is that fleas are actually pests which won’t go away easily. It’s been proven that they can last up to a hundred days without food. If you decide to get rid of them by vacating the property for a while, when you come back, they’ll probably be even more aggressive than before.
Their life cycle is also very flexible. They are more common and reproduce faster in warmer climates, and they can survive in a heated home during winter. They have a longer life cycle during that period compared to the summer. This is why winter is the most challenging time of year to get your pet and home rid of them.
The safest way to get rid of them is to hire pest control professionals to deal with them.
Fleas eat a lot
The only answer scientists have to explain why fleas can live so long without food is that they can drink enormous amounts of blood. Every flea can ingest 15 times its body weight in blood daily. Besides that, they usually come in packs. They are also very aggressive feeders and won’t hesitate to feed on people as well. The amount of blood they can drink from your pet is horrifying.
A female flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day
40 eggs a day amounts to 1,085 eggs, on average, for just one adult female over its life span. Most flea eggs are laid directly on the host and often fall off, spreading the infestation to the surrounding environment. Since the eggs aren’t sticky, they fall on carpets, wood floor cracks, and pet bedding.
Prior to hatching, the eggs lie dormant for 2 to 12 days. After that, they go through several life stages before becoming adults. First, there is the larval stage, which is temperature-dependent. In warm weather, flea larvae live 24 days, while in cold weather, they live 200 days. They burrow in pet bedding or other safe, dark and warm spots.
Once they are ready, they change into pupae in a cocoon. Depending on the conditions, this stage can last from 5 to 14 days. A pupa can survive up to one year in its cocoon. When the time is right, it hatches into an adult flea. It takes an adult flea 10 seconds to feed once it has landed on a host. However, adult female fleas cannot lay eggs until after their first meal.
If you bring home even only one adult female flea, in 60 days, your home will be overrun by as many as 20 thousand fleas. A flea infestation can spiral out of control very quickly.
Fleas are jumping machines
Adult fleas are capable of jumping 200 times their body length. They can also jump around 30 thousand times in a row. This means they can quickly jump on humans, pets, and even through screened doors and windows.
Fleas pose a health hazard
Even if fleas are tiny, they’re very dangerous. They can cause anaemia and many other blood diseases for your pets if they’ve been feeding off of them for too long. Some pets can even develop allergies to flea saliva. Additionally, cat scratch fever or murine typhus are among the diseases caused by flea bites. If you suspect that you have a flea infestation, take measures and make sure your home is safe from these dangerous pests.
Besides negatively impacting your pet’s health, fleas also transmit diseases that impact humans. The Bubonic Plague caused the deaths of more than 25 million people.
Besides disease, fleas also transmit parasites. The most common one is the tapeworm. If you’re giving your pet tapeworm medication, you must also treat it for fleas because the tapeworm will return quickly if they’re still present. Besides that, a species of tapeworm can also be transmitted to people.
More than two thousand species of fleas are known to humankind, and new ones are identified all the time. However, even if there are so many, only one, the cat flea, inhabits homes and pets’ fur. All pets are susceptible to flea infestations, including indoor rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. Regardless of the climate in your place, fleas are always waiting to get into your home and start feeding. Since they also affect wildlife, eggs and larvae can be found virtually everywhere, and they can be carried inside your home riding on clothing and backpacks.
Luckily, treating and preventing flea infestations has dramatically improved over the years. New medications can be used all year round on almost all animals. However, make sure to speak to your veterinarian about which products they’d recommend for your area. All the issues of a flea infestation can be avoided by understanding what type of pest they are, how they behave and prior planning.