Fleas are a tiny irritating pest that can become a major problem in your home. These parasites cause stress, variety of skin problems and increase the risk of disease transmission to our pets and our families. Fleas are more commonly noticed during warm, humid weather, but may become an issue at any time during the year indoors.
Before you can treat an infestation and put a management strategy into place, you need to understand the life cycle of the flea. A flea has a 4-stage life cycle, the full cycle can take up to 6 months and depends on the temperature. During warm weather (over 30 degrees) the flea cycle from egg to adult only take 12 days, whilst during the colder months they will take longer for reach adulthood. Each adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day and up to 1000 eggs in a lifetime. Once the larvae have hatched, they burrow into carpet or bedding and spin a cocoon where they remain inactive until the cocoon reaches the final adult stage. Adult fleas can live as long as 100 days.
How to know if you have a case of fleas but you have not been bitten or seen a flea:
• You notice your pets are scratching or biting at their skin.
• On inspection, you notice reddened areas.
• You may not see a flea, but you will notice small black pepper like flakes on your pet’s fur, this is the flea’s dirt.
• Collect some of the specks with a paper towel. Moisten them with water. Since flea dirt is dried blood, the specks should turn reddish brown when dissolved in water. Which indicates that fleas are present on your pet.
Management of fleas in your home environment include strategies for the elimination of adult fleas as well as their eggs, inside and outside of your home. Your pest control professional will work with you on a treatment plan that will work for you and your home.
Do not forget to have a regular pest control professional advise you about more strategies how to treat and keep your home and pets flea free.