Flea Facts & Information

Everything you need to know about fleas

picture of a flea
The size of a flea varies between 1/12″ to 1/6″ in length and they tend to be dark red or brown in color. They are relatively flat in shape and have two antennae and six legs. They do not possess wings, although their strong legs allow them to jump long distances. While they are a small pest, fleas can typically be seen with the naked eye. Adult fleas are equipped with bristles that point backward, which allows them to move swiftly through fur, hair, and feathers.

Fleas can live for about 100 days during which time the females can produce up to 2,000 offspring! These pests transport themselves on rodents and other mammals, usually remaining on their hosts at all times. Fleas use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8″ vertically, which is 150 times their own height.

Where Do Fleas Live

There are many signs of a flea infestation but the most common include scratching, hair loss and red bumps. You may also notice small black specks, which is usually flea feces, scattered throughout pet beds, carpets and rugs. Flea larvae is harder to find and is usually located in more secretive locations like behind furniture or inside the cracks of floors. These eggs are deposited on your pet by the female adult flea, allowing them to fall off of your pet as they move and dispersing them throughout the areas your pet lives in. If you see some of the above signs, you should contact us to perform flea treatments asap.

Like other pests, fleas are able to easily infest households. They’re commonly called “freeloaders” because they transfer to new environments by latching onto mammals, as well as shoes, pant legs, and blankets. Once inside, fleas usually hide in areas where pets and people sleep like furniture, beds, and carpeting, as well as the cracks of hardwood floors. Fleas can be found in any part of the United States including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island!

How Did I Get Fleas

While pet owners are primarily at risk for flea infestations, these biting pests can also be brought onto a property on wild animals like raccoons or skunks and then make their way into your home. The most common species is the cat flea, which (despite its name) feasts on cats, dogs, and humans. If you suspect you may have an infestation, we highly recommend professional flea extermination services to get them out as quickly as possible. Also be sure to take your pets to the vet for proper care and on-going preventative flea treatments.

What Problems Do Fleas Cause

Fleas are small, flightless parasites that feed on the blood of various warm-blooded animals, depending on the species, and can transmit diseases to their host. Although most people think of fleas as a problem only the family pet has to deal with, they can also bite humans and are the most common transmitter of the rare bubonic plague. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats. Additionally, fleas can transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets, which is why active flea management is an important component of pet care.

Fleas will bite both people and pets alike. Their bites commonly cause small painful, itchy red bumps with a “halo” around the bite center. Unlike mosquito bites, they remain small and usually appear in groups of three or four, or in a straight line. On humans, bites are commonly found around the ankles or legs, as well as the waist, groin, armpits, and in the skin folds of the elbows and knees. Their saliva can also cause serious flea allergy dermatitis in pets and their debris has been reported to cause similar allergic reactions in humans. Flea bites will usually subside on their own without any treatment. However, in order to stay safe from further biting, an infestation needs to be permanently and professionally dealt with.

How Can I Prevent Fleas?

Flea control is an ongoing battle. Due to the flea lifecycle, it could take weeks or months to finally end the infestation. If you’re concerned you have a flea issue, it is important to quickly treat any pets who may have become a host. Comb your pets to remove fleas and then bathe them with effective flea treatments. It may be necessary to take your pet to a veterinarian if symptoms persist. To prevent any further infestations, keep dogs on a leash when outside, and be sure to regularly bathe and groom pets.

Prevent household infestations from taking hold by cleaning and vacuuming frequently to help remove flea populations and prevent the laying of eggs. Additionally, be sure to regularly wash bed linens. For serious infestations, you may need to apply heat with a steam cleaner to kill off eggs or, better yet, hire a flea exterminator. Outdoors, make sure your lawn is well-groomed since fleas prefer to hide in tall grass. Since fleas typically travel via rodents, be sure to eliminate any rodent harborage sites on your property such as overgrown trees or shrubs. Professional exclusion work can help keep these flea-infested rodents out as well.
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Why Waltham for Flea Control

We’re passionate about keeping fleas out of your home or business because we live and work here – it’s our neighborhood, too. With our 130 years of experience keeping homes and businesses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island safe from pests, Waltham has the experience you can trust.
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