Latin Name: Siphonaptera
Fleas are shiny dark brown parasites about 1/12 inches long, covered in small spines. They have a mouth with protruding piercers and 6 powerful legs used for jumping long distances. They are parasites and feed themselves off warm-blooded hosts. Fleas often live on the skin of cats and dogs, causing intense itching.
Fleas rarely grow larger than 1/8th of an inch. They prefer to spend their time attached to a warm-blooded host, most commonly cats, followed by dogs and humans. They are not pick and will feed off of any wild or domestic mammal.
As with many parasites, flea bites often cause sores and blisters on the host’s skin. Though fleas do not regularly live on or feed from humans, humans may end up with flea bites from sleeping in an infested bed or sitting on infested furniture. While fleas lack wings, their powerful legs allow them to jump remarkable distances from host to host.
Fleas need hosts to survive and spend most of their lives attached to a host. Female fleas allow their eggs to drop from the host, onto carpets, furniture, and other surfaces. Flea larvae need only a dark space and a small amount of organic material to grow and thrive. An egg can develop into a fully grown flea in about one month, which means infestations can rapidly get out of hand.
Getting Rid of Fleas
Due to their rapid reproduction and persistence, fleas are very difficult to eradicate. However, if you follow these simple steps, it is possible to get rid of the pests and prevent them from coming back.
- Wash fabrics. Wash and dry all potentially infested items on the warmest settings possible. Human bedding, pet bedding, plush toys, and any other machine washable items should be sealed in plastic bags until they can be washed. Two ounces of Cedarcide’s PCO Choice can be used in the wash cycle to help kill bugs.
- Clean the floor. By minimizing clutter and thoroughly vacuuming and mopping every nook and cranny, you will make it difficult for fleas to reproduce and grow. Flea eggs and larvae can survive on even slick flooring, so you can prevent the infestation from growing by keeping your floors as clean as possible.
- Take care of the yard. If you do not take care of your yard, fleas will continue to infest your home by hitching a ride on you or your pet. Keep overgrowth to a minimum and try to eliminate damp or shaded areas in your yard. Cedarcide offers PCO Choice as a full solution to keep insects out of your yard.
- Visit the vet. If your pet is infested, a vet can help treat the infestation and give relief to itchy spots and sores that may have developed. Your vet may also be able to recommend natural and chemical flea repellents that will be safe for you to use on or around your pet. If your home is being treated for an infestation, it is often wise to have it coincide with your pet staying with the vet or your groomer, so that you aren’t exposing your pet to a potentially harmful situation. Cedarcide Original is Cedarcide’s natural insect killing formula that’s safe for pets.
- If the problem is not going away, consult a professional. Since each situation is unique, you may need to consult a specialist. You can ask them for any tips specific to your situation and ask them how to prevent future infestations.
Even after the fleas are gone, continue cleaning, washing, and doing yard maintenance. Repeating each of these simple steps can help prevent the nightmarish infestations from reoccurring.