Pest Profile: Fleas
Fleas have always been a huge problem for people, but never more so than when they managed to wipe out between 30 to 60 percent of the world’s population by spreading the bubonic plague. Fleas bite and transmit disease and can serve as vectors for parasites. Learn more about these pests and how to get rid of them.
Fleas are tiny bloodsucking parasites that enjoy feeding off of any creature with warm blood, including humans. They are found worldwide, and have lived in close contact with humans and human-domesticated animals for several millennia. Fleas lack wings, and use powerful legs to jump wherever they need to go, usually onto a host. They are finely attuned to their hosts, and can even tell when certain animals are about to give birth through the hormones found in the host’s blood.
Why They’re Pests
Fleas aren’t really picky about where they get their blood. They’ll settle for your dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, bird, baby, you — anything or anyone with warm blood, really. And once they find a blood source, they’re more than happy to dig in, settle down, and give birth to over 500 new pests each in their lifespan. They’re easy to bring home, and very difficult to get rid of.
The Dangers of Infestation
Depending on your location in the country, an infestation can mean more than a few bites, itchiness, and annoyance. Fleas still can carry the bubonic plague, and they also can carry typhus. Other diseases and parasites can come with these little bloodsuckers as well.
For your pets, an infestation can be particularly bad. Many pets are allergic to bites and can develop major skin problems ranging from simple itching to oozing sores and bald patches. When pets try to scratch by using their mouths (either by biting or licking), they can ingest the fleas, which often carry tapeworms which are then transferred to your pet, giving your home the extra pleasure of dealing with a tapeworm problem on top of your flea problem.
Particularly bad infestations can also end up killing smaller animals or young kittens and puppies, so homes that have young or small animals present should be particularly vigilant about pest presences.
Extermination and Control
Getting rid of fleas in your home is a complicated process which is nearly impossible to do on your own. To get rid of fleas, you should treat both your pets and your environment at the same time. Call a professional extermination team to take care of your home. The pest exterminators will treat both your home’s interior and the perimeter of your home to eradicate your existing problem and destroy any potential new issues by killing off eggs and larvae that have not reached maturity. While the pest extermination professionals are taking care of your home, take your pets to your vet to determine the best course of treatment-don’t trust flea medicines you can find at the grocery store to take care of your problem without harming your pet. Timing the vet visit with the pest control company’s visit is usually the best way to go since simultaneous treatment is the most effective and since your pets should not be present for the in-house extermination.