Fleas are a common pest problem, especially in households with pets. Cats and dogs are common hosts for fleas, but other animals like rats, opossums and raccoons also carry fleas. Once fleas become established in a nesting place, eradication is a multi-step process to make sure the entire growth cycle is disrupted.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are small, reddish-brown insects about 1/4-inch in length that live on a warm-blooded host. Fleas feed on blood, and a single meal can keep them alive for up to one year even without a host. They are wingless but can jump long distances.

Fleas transmit diseases that are harmful to pets and people including tapeworm, cat scratch disease, bubonic plague and typhus. Although plague and typhus are rare in the United States, cases do appear each year.

Life Cycle of Fleas

Fleas have a four-stage life cycle: eggs, larva, pupa and adult. Depending on environmental conditions, the entire cycle can take as little as 18 days or as long as one year. Females lay eggs on the host, but the eggs may drop from the host into the nesting place. Temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity are optimum conditions for fleas.

Larvae avoid light and feed on organic debris including dried blood, flakes of skin and feathers. The larva becomes a pupa, enclosed in a cocoon while the flea develops. If environmental conditions are not right for emergence, larva can exist in a cocoon for more than a year. Cocoons may be present in carpets, upholstery, floorboards, pet beds or outdoors.

Adult fleas emerge when a host is present. Body heat, high levels of carbon dioxide or vibrations from movement indicate when a host is nearby. The new adult will begin to feed immediately when it finds a new host. The breeding cycle starts a few days after the first meal.

Flea Elimination

Examine pets carefully for evidence of fleas. Scratching, reddened skin, hair loss or dark flecks in the pet’s coat may indicate the presence of fleas. Your veterinarian can prescribe safe products to eliminate fleas from the animal.

To eradicate a flea infestation in your home, thorough vacuuming will remove live adults, eggs and pupa from carpets, upholstery and flooring. Wash all pet bedding and your family’s bedding in hot water.

To make sure that eggs, pupae, larvae and adult fleas are completely eradicated, a professional pest control service should be contacted. Technicians are trained to evaluate potential breeding environments and use safe, appropriate treatments to remove not only adult fleas but those in all stages of development.

Bad Bug Pest Control in Birmingham, AL, offers both residential and commercial services to eradicate and control pest infestations. If you think you have a flea infestation, call us today for a free inspection!

Contact Bad Bugs Pest Control Inc. to schedule your service today!