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Fleas are small, dark, wingless insects that are agile and have piercing sucking mouth-parts perfect for feeding on the blood of their hosts which include dogs, cats, and other mammals, including you. Their hind legs are long and made for jumping. This tiny insect can jump vertically up to 7” and horizontally up to 13.” It would be like a human jumping over a 30 story building or broad jumping the length of two football fields!

The body is tough and able to withstand great pressure. It’s quite difficult to kill a flea by squeezing it between your fingers.

Fleas are insects that go through four life cycle stages–egg, larva, pupa, and adult. It all begins when the female has a blood meal and lays eggs afterward. She lays the eggs in batches of up to 20 (5000 in her life), usually right where she just had her meal, and the eggs often roll right off of that host to the ground. Because of this, areas where the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of eggs and developing fleas—yards, carpets, beds, bedding, etc. The eggs take two days to two weeks to hatch.

Flea larvae emerge from the eggs and gobble up any available organic material they can find: dead insects, feces of adult fleas, pet dander and vegetable matter. Shortly after they weave a silken cocoon and adults are ready to emerge in just a couple of weeks. They stay resting in their little silky cocoon until they get a signal that an appropriate host is near—vibrations, heat or carbon dioxide can all be signals. They can stay in this state for several months, long after pets are gone, waiting for that signal. This is the reason it is not unusual to walk into a seemingly clean, vacant home only to be immediately attacked by fleas, excited to find a new host. This is also why vacuuming is key component in a flea treatment.

Fleas are a definite annoyance to their hosts. Their movement and feces can cause an itching sensation which in turn may result in the host biting, pecking, scratching, etc. in the vicinity of the parasite. The scratching can cause irritation and secondary infections. Flea bites themselves are also very itchy. They are red, and slightly raised with a single puncture point at the center (similar to a mosquito bite). The bites, which often appear in clusters, can stay bothersome for several weeks. Severe infestations have been known to cause anemia.

The Pest Force is able to eliminate fleas. Click here for more information.