There’s a possibility that the facts found here may leave you feeling itchy, but also more knowledgeable and better equipped to fight off some fleas.
Just the Facts
Did you know that there are thousands of species of fleas worldwide? That fact alone probably has your skin crawling. In Wisconsin we (and our furry friends) tend to only have run-ins with a few types of fleas. The cat flea is the most common domestic flea that we meet.
Fleas are small, wingless parasites that feed on blood. They appear flat, dark, and reddish-brown in color and are about 1/12”-1/6” in size.
Fleas do not have the ability to fly, but they can jump! Fleas can jump as high as 8” vertically, which is 150 times their own height.
Once a flea hatches and becomes an adult, it will jump onto a host. Fleas are attracted to and can live on any warm-blooded animal, but seem to prefer humans, dogs, cats, rats and other rodents. Once attached to its host, the flea will feed. The female flea can consume 15 times her own body weight in blood daily. Fleas will mate and lay eggs upon their chosen host. A female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime! Some of these eggs will drop off of the host and land in places such as our yards, bedding and carpeting.
Besides the itchy, painful red bumps that flea bites leave behind, flea bites and infestations can cause allergic reactions in humans and pets and can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets. When fleas populate a mouse colony, disease can become a very deep concern, the worst disease on record being the bubonic plague. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats.
Since fleas can be transported on rodents and other animals, search the perimeter of your home in fall with a mirror, looking at the bottom side of your siding for any openings where animals or rodents may be entering your home. Walk the perimeter of your home looking for freshly dug dirt and use a flashlight and search under the deck to check for burrowing animals. A good prevention tip is to use chicken wire behind lattice to create a decorative “rat wall” to keep these critters out of these areas.
Keep your home clean and vacuum regularly, wash any bed linens that you think may be carrying fleas or their eggs.
Keep your yard clear of garbage and pet droppings; keep your lawn properly landscaped.
Protect your pets by checking their coats for fleas, especially if you see any excessive scratching or licking, bathing your pet (and their bedding and plush toys) regularly and see your vet for annual check-ups and for advice on flea products and prevention.
Fleas have the ability to reproduce quickly. Contact a licensed professional pest management specialist for assistance.
At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to handle your flea problem. Give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.
Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net