How DC-Area Residents Can Protect Their Pets from Fleas in Fall
Ctenocephalides felis, the ‘cat flea’, is one of the most profuse and prevalent fleas found in the world. As the name suggests, the ‘cat flea’s’ primary host is the domestic cat but they can also live on other pets and animals that visit the city, such as dogs, opossums, foxes, mongeese and even rats. They are also found indoors in narrow cracks where these animals frequently visit, or outdoors in humid climates. Their larvae live in the same kinds of places, especially where there is high moisture. Cat flea adults are about 1/8 inch (2.5 mm) long with a body that is flattened from side to side and has no wings. Brownish black to black in color but reddish black when full of blood, ‘cat fleas’ have chewing mouthparts and feed on organic debris, as well as dried adult flea fecal blood. After each blood meal, a female cat flea lays 4-8 eggs among a host animal’s hairs or in its bedding area, amounting to 400-500 during her life. Eggs are tiny white ovals, about 1/64 in (.5 mm) long, which take 1-12 days to hatch. They may fall or be shaken off into crevices where the animal sleeps or spends time. Larvae need high relative humidity (45-95%), going through 3 instar stages in 1-2 weeks to several months. Cocoons (pupae) with camouflaging debris on the surface last 4-14 days, up to a year. The pre-emerged adult stays in the cocoon for up to 20 weeks, protected from dangers such as pesticides. Adult fleas look for a blood meal soon after emerging, but can survive for several months on stored fat. Once on a host, they feed, mate and lay eggs. Many adults live only a few days, as cat grooming removes up to half of them, but survivors can live about one year.
Fleas can enter buildings that do not have pets as they can jump up about 6 inches (15 cm) and enter on peoples’ shoes and clothes. Even if a structure has been empty for 6 months, should there have been flea larvae or cocoons present, it is possible for the population to have grown to be a nuisance, since a continual food source is not required.
Cat fleas bother both the host animal and the household. They are intermediate hosts of dog tapeworm, which can infest indoor cats and rodent tapeworm, which can sometimes infest humans. They may also transmit plague and murine typhus.
Fleas can be a very difficult pest to get rid of as they can be brought in to your property from outside sources, even though you may not have a pet. Should you find a flea infestation, calling American Pest is your best bet for a quick, efficient and safe resolution to your flea problem.
Although there are Do-It-Yourself methods and products available it is worth remembering that any pest control method that utilizes chemicals can be potentially harmful to humans or pets if used incorrectly. American Pest's pest control professionals are highly trained in the use of pest control products, their correct dosage and positioning.
At American Pest, we strive to give our customers a rapid, efficient service and make every effort to be with you the same or very next day.
All products used by American Pest must have first been thoroughly checked by the EPA and registered for pest control use. Only then can they be considered for use by our highly trained pest control professionals. You can be assured that pest control services provided by American Pest will not cause any harm to humans or pets.
Preventing fleas can be a very difficult task due to the way in which they can enter your property. Should your property or pets become infested by fleas, your first call should be to American Pest. We are committed to improving the quality of life for all of our customers by providing the safest and most effective treatment for the management of pests which pose a threat to their health, property and food supply.
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