Fleas: Facts, Identification & Control

Fleas: Facts, Identification & Control

Facts About Fleas
Fleas form the Order Siphonaptera. They have flat, shiny, reddish brown bodies which are about an eighth of an inch long with no wings. They live as parasites by sucking blood from mammals and birds. They can also live on humans and may carry diseases like typhus. There are over 2000 different species of flea worldwide, females being usually larger than males. Fleas are covered in small spines and have piercing parts of their mouths where they bite. A flea has six long legs which enables it to jump around easily and to move through an animal's fur quickly. An individual female flea will most likely lay approximately one hundred eggs during her life as an adult flea. In theory that creates fifty more breeding pairs of fleas who will each produce another hundred eggs. It's not hard to see how what looks like a small problem can speedily become a terrible infestation.

Flea Life Cycle
A flea begins as an egg and becomes first larvae, then pupae and finally an adult. The life cycle length can range from many weeks to a few months and this varies according to environmental conditions. A female flea will lay her eggs on the surface of the host animal, and can lay anything between three to thirty eggs every day. The eggs do not stick and usually fall off as soon as they have been laid, whereupon they infest carpets or bedding and hatch into larvae within two weeks. The semi-transparent white larvae feed on organic waste and within three weeks they spin silken cocoon structures around themselves. The pupal stage can last for many months or just a few days, and then the adult fleas emerge. A female adult will lay her first eggs within a couple of days from feeding, starting the cycle of life all over again.

Identification of Fleas
It is not difficult to diagnose that you have an infestation of fleas, but getting rid of them can be much more tricky! The first sign that you might have a flea presence in your home is if you notice skin irritation on your pets, and they are scratching themselves incessantly. This might be a sign that they have fleas and you should check their fur carefully. Catching fleas early will help you eradicate them more quickly before the infestation spreads. However, it is very difficult to kill a single flea without using chemical interventions. A flea has a very tough body which can cope with immense pressure, and so these persistent insects have evolved to survive any attempts to get rid of them by an animal's scratching. It is not even usually possible to kill a flea by squeezing it hard with your fingers!

Other things to look out for are hair loss and red marks on the skin, which are a sign of flea bites. These cause itching and a great deal of discomfort. The most common places to find fleas on dogs are on their hind quarters and with cats it is often their necks. Fleas often bite human feet. If you can actually see insects on the skin of your pet or red and black droppings are visible, then you should contact your vet, who will be able to confirm whether or not fleas are the cause of your pet's distress. They will be able to recommend a shampoo with which to bathe your pet. You should of course also thoroughly clean your house, as well as any pet bedding or linen, by using a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly clean carpets or a mop on hard surfaces. The saliva of the flea can stimulate allergic reactions in some cases. This is known as FAD which stands for flea allergy dermatitis. This is a common skin disease with domestic pets and is more common in summer when pets spend more time outside and when the weather is warmer, making the conditions for flea development ideal.

Unfortunately, being aware of fleas on your pet will only show you a small percentage of the actual flea population that exists within your home, as of course there will also be larvae and eggs which can thrive without being seen at all. Eggs can hatch independently from their hosts and can therefore be found in carpets, furniture or even in cracks in the flooring. This means you should contact an expert like Akkad Pest Control who offer an experienced pest control service for indoor infestations of fleas throughout Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, and Abu Dhabi.

They offer professional service and will discuss extermination of fleas with you and what steps you need to take. If you suspect an outbreak of fleas call Akkad Pest Control without delay and one of our friendly engineers will pay you a visit. It is not enough to get rid of the fleas on an individual pet, as this will not effectively get rid of all the infestation within your home. Our professional pest control experts at Akkad Pest Control will offer you sound advice to prevent any future problems with fleas in your home. Give them a call today.