Flea Infestations: How Bad Is My Flea Infestation?
The first thing to understand is that fleas are not just small insects, but they are actually very large arthropods (Arachnids) which belong to the order Hemiptera. These creatures have eight legs and four pairs of wings. They are usually found in warm climates such as tropical or subtropical regions where there is plenty of moisture. Their life cycle lasts from one to three years. During their lifetime, they will lay between 100 and 500 eggs in a host animal’s body. After hatching, these tiny little critters go through several stages before reaching adulthood.
In the early stage of development, the larvae look like round worms with two pairs of legs and no antennae at all. These larvae develop into adults within a few weeks after hatching out of their egg cases. Adult fleas are called adult because they have developed enough to bite humans. Once the flea larva grows up, it becomes a pupa stage and then finally enters its final developmental phase –the adult stage.
Adult fleas can live for over five years and can transmit many diseases including malaria, typhus fever, plague, bubonic plague, leprosy and even HIV/AIDS. They may cause skin infections such as scabies or even worse known as Hansen’s disease.
How to Tell if I Have Fleas?
Unfortunately, it is fairly easy for fleas to jump from one person or animal and into another. They are very tiny and their sharp claws make it easy for them to latch onto your clothing, skin, or hair and make a home out of your body warmth. Not only are they a nuisance, but they can be dangerous if you have an allergic reaction to them. The first thing you should do is to examine your pets. If they have fleas, these could be the culprits of your own infestation.
Another good way to check for fleas is to place a white piece of paper under your pet’s fur near their neck or bottom and gently comb them with a nit comb. Flea dirt is small dark specks that resemble coffee grounds. These are actually flea feces which contain dried blood.
Sources & references used in this article:
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A randomized, blinded, controlled USA field study to assess the use of fluralaner tablets in controlling canine flea infestations by C Meadows, F Guerino, F Sun – Parasites & vectors, 2014 – Springer
Efficacy of selamectin in the treatment and prevention of flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis) infestations on dogs and cats housed in simulated home environments by DJ Shanks, TG Rowan, RL Jones, P Watson… – Veterinary …, 2000 – Elsevier
… orally administered combination product containing sarolaner, moxidectin and pyrantel (Simparica Trio™) for the treatment and control of flea infestations on … by K Kryda, SP Mahabir, L Carter… – Parasites & …, 2020 – parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral …
Survey of flea infestation in dogs and cats in the United Kingdom during 2005 by R Bond, A Riddle, L Mottram, F Beugnet… – Veterinary …, 2007 – veterinaryrecord.bmj.com