There are several species of fleas that live on different mammals and birds. Cat and dog fleas are very similar in appearance and both species can live on either cats or dogs or humans. They are wingless insects with long legs and mouthparts that pierce into skin and suck blood. Cat and dog fleas typically measure approximately 2mm in length and are black to brownish-black in colour. Females are usually slightly larger than the males.
Habits & Behaviours
Cat and dog fleas are one of the most widespread and the most troublesome residential insect pests that affect many people throughout all of Ontario. They are external parasites that survive off the blood of their hosts and both species attack cats, dogs and humans. Cat and dog fleas cannot survive outside in the winter, but if established inside the home, they can thrive year round. The adult fleas you can see only represent about 5% of your total flea population. Because their lifecycle has four stages, out of 100 fleas, there will be about 5 biting adults, 50 eggs, 30 in the larvae stage, and 15 that are in the pupae/cocoon stage.
Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter. They are blind and extremely sensitive to sunlight and will therefore live in dark places like cracks and crevices and bedding. Soon after the larvae stage, they enter into the pupae/cocoon stage. Once an adult flea develops and has had its first meal, mating can happen and egg production will begin within 48 hours. Thevicious cycle keeps repeating.
Complaints & Destruction
Cat and dog flea infestations can get out of control very quickly and are extremely difficult to exclude. Fleas can reproduce rapidly and will quickly infest domestic pets, humans, floors, carpets and furniture throughout the property. Adult flea bites can transmit diseases and cause extreme discomfort and irritation to both pets and people.
Major Risks & Dangers
Fleas can transmit organisms and disease-causing bacteria such as bubonic plague, endemic typhus fever, and in some cases tapeworm. Some people and animals suffer allergic reactions to flea saliva resulting in rashes. Flea bites will cause a slightly raised hard, red, itchy spot. The bites often appear in clusters or lines, and can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks. Flea bites can also lead to hair loss as a result of frequent scratching and biting by the animal, and in extreme cases, cause anemia.
Reproduction & Lifecycle
After each blood meal, the female mates and lays her eggs loosely on the host. She can lay about 25 eggs per day and several hundred throughout her life. Eggs typically laid loosely on the host drop or are shaken off on to floors, carpets, and furniture throughout the house. The eggs then undergo the four stages of development.
Fleas are parasites and feed on blood.
Treatment & Prevention
To eliminate and reduce the risk of fleas invading your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, treatment and exclusion is the best prevention.
Caution must be taken when attempting to eliminate a flea infestation on your pet or in your home. Eliminating a flea infestation can be an extremely difficult, costly and lengthy process. Infestations within your property usually require professional pest control measures with several treatments. If you are suffering from a flea infestation, it is best to let the professionals do the job of safely excluding the insects. Please contact us today or see our Pest Control Services section for further information on the types of services and insect pest solutions we can provide.
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