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Flea Treatment & Control

Every critter has their own story.

The secret of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a proven, cost-effective strategy to combat pest problems without unnecessary pesticide use, is to understand the life-cycle of the pest that is pestering.

What do fleas look like and why are they concerning?

Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that belong to the order Siphonaptera. Adult Fleas are typically 2.5 mm in size and have a shiny, reddish-brown exterior. They have flat bodies which allow them to move quickly through fur and hair.

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Their bodies are covered in tiny hairs and they have spines surrounding their head and mouth. Although fleas do not have teeth, they do have a needle-like mouth which is used to pierce through the skin of their host and suck blood. These insects prefer to feed on hairy animals, and are commonly found on cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, rats, squirrels and other animals, both domesticated and wild. Fleas can’t fly, but they can jump long distances, and they commonly jump from one host to another. Fleas are hazardous to the health of both people and pets because they can carry and transmit various diseases and parasites, including tapeworms. Their saliva can cause an allergic reaction in the form of severe dermatitis, and constant itching can lead to infections. Pets may become anemic if they have a severe flea infestation.

Where do fleas live?

Fleas prefer to live in humid, shady areas, although they can thrive in a variety of climates. In the wild they will typically live in debris piles, shrubs, tall grass, weeds, and wood piles.

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Around the outside of homes and businesses, they may live in places like dog houses, sheds, garages, and outdoor furniture. On dogs or cats, they tend to keep to the back, belly, and neck areas. Flea eggs do not stick to the host, and can therefore easily fall off and land anywhere. Once those eggs hatch, the fleas will infest anywhere in homes and businesses that regularly have human or pet activity.

Why do I have a flea problem?

Fleas are incredible jumpers, and can jump great lengths from ground-level to attach onto their host. This makes it easy for fleas to attach to animals while they are outside and subsequently infest the animal’s fur and sleeping area.

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When a host carries one or two fleas into the house, it is not long before others follow. Female fleas are known to produce multiple eggs in as little as 48 hours after feeding on their hosts. Since flea eggs are not attached to the host, they can hatch almost anywhere around a home or business. Fleas are also notorious for jumping from one host to another, which is one reason they spread so quickly once inside. Fleas can also be brought inside on used items like furniture or rugs.

When are fleas active?

Fleas are most active during warmer weather, especially in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

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In warm states, like Florida, flea season is year round. In areas that experience cold winters, flea season is typically between March and December. Fleas will die out when cold weather arrives unless they have a host to keep them warm.

What’s the best way to prevent a flea infestation?

One way to prevent fleas from entering a home or business is by inspecting your clothing and running a comb through your pet’s fur before returning inside. Keeping long-haired coats trimmed also helps.

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All pets should either wear a flea collar or, under the guidance of a veterinarian, be treated with a flea and tick preventative such as flea spray, flea medicines or flea shampoos. All bedding, both pet, and human, should be washed regularly, and all carpets and upholstered furniture should be vacuumed on a regular basis. Eliminating outdoor habitats can greatly reduce the risk of fleas entering a home or business. If you believe you have a flea infestation, call EXCEL today to schedule your free home inspection.

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