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When opening up your home to travelers for lodging, not all guests are polite. One of the most common unwanted guest is the Ctenocephalides felis, or better known as the cat flea. With measurements about one-eighth of an inch long and the ability to leap upward at least 12 inches, the adult cat flea is capable of gaining access into your home or yard in many ways. In addition, an adult flea spends most of its time residing on the host pet consuming 10-15 blood meals per day. Unlike a bed-and-breakfast, a flea infestation is not luxurious, relaxing, or pleasant.
The adult cat fleas’ eyes and antennae are utilized to identify carbon dioxide, heat from warm blooded animals, floor vibrations produced by an approaching person or pet, and changes in air currents, all in an attempt to find a hot meal. Only minutes after jumping onboard, fleas use their slender proboscis (beak) that extends forward, to pierce the skin and begin feeding. Once fed, the female and male mate. Within two days the female flea starts laying eggs in the fur of your pet.
The eggs resemble tiny white pearls (oval shaped). Most of the eggs fall off the host pet and hatch in the surrounding environment (furniture, dog bed, carpeting, and wherever else the host pet sleeps or spends time). Hatching may occur within two to five days under sufficient conditions of warm temperature and relatively high humidity. The entire life cycle of cat fleas usually is completed in 14-28 days under suitable conditions.
Description and Characteristics
- Fleas also like breakfast in bed
- Females require blood for the development of eggs
- Newly hatched young adult fleas usually feed right away
- Adult cat fleas can survive weeks indoors without feeding
- Since cat fleas do not have wings, they are unable to fly
- Fleas can also transmit tapeworms and bacterial infections
- Adult cat fleas are reddish-brown with a laterally flattened body
- Female cat fleas tend to be slightly larger than their male counterparts
- An adult cat flea’s body is divided into three parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen
- Adult fleas have three pairs of legs with the back pair greatly enlarged for jumping ability
Since fleas reproduce rapidly, and with the capability of laying 30-50 eggs per day for a total close to 2,000 eggs that develop into more breeding adults over her lifetime, treating the host pet’s environment is critical when attempting to control and prevent flea infestations. Vacuuming is critical to managing a flea infestation.
If You Think You Have a Flea Infestation
VACUUM – Vacuuming will suck up many of the developing pupae, larvae and eggs before they hatch. In addition, vacuum beneath furniture, cushions, beds, and throw rugs. Since vacuuming picks up various stages of the flea’s development, it helps reduce the population. But beware, fleas continue their life cycle in the vacuum bag. When done vacuuming remove and seal the vacuum bag in a garbage bag preventing escape. Place in an outdoor trash container.
Fleas will gather at the base of the tail, back of the legs, neck, and shoulder blades of the host pet. Be sure to groom your pet with a flea comb, removing all fleas. Have your pet treated by a veterinarian. Clean your home and wash all linens especially pet bedding.
A homeowner should see a significant reduction in flea population if the various methods listed above are applied. Eliminating flea infestations requires knowledge, attention to detail and perseverance.
About Southern Pest Control & Sovereign Pest Control:
Southern Pest Control & Sovereign Pest Control offer a full line of pest control, termite, exterminating, and mosquito management services for residential homeowners in Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia homeowners – serving over 40,000 annually. Unwanted pests can pose a huge risk to your home or business on multiple levels. SPC provides qualified, experienced, and licensed pest control professionals prepared to resolve any pest issues that homeowners or business may be experiencing. Southern and Sovereign Pest Control respects their customers’ time and strives to make it convenient when scheduling service. For your convenience, SPC schedules EXACT TIME Appointments. A dedicated dispatch, GPS, and routing system, along with on the hour appointments, enables SPC to cater to their customers’ schedules. All field personnel are state registered or certified. SPC services over 40,000 residential homeowners. Contact Southern Pest Control at (800) 627-0577 to schedule an inspection. For a list of complete services and locations please visit www.southernpestcontrol.com. Southern Pest Control can also be found on Facebook (facebook.com/southernpestcontrol).