fleaplFleas live on host animal fur and crawl on the skin because they are external parasites. The adult parasites measure around 2.5mm long and they have reddish brown shiny bodies. They usually have microscopic hairs covering their bodies. The hairs are actually compressed so that the parasites have an easy time moving through the animal’s fur. They do not have any wings, but they have the ability to jump long distances, making it easy for them to move from one host to another or from place to place. The three sets of elongated legs every flea has is probably what makes the jumping possible.

In North America, the most common type of flea is the cat fleas. Human, dog and even oriental rat fleas are however also found in this part. In general, fleas love and prefer feeding on haired animals like rabbits, rats, cats, dogs, squirrels and mice and other wild and domesticated animals. Humans do not make a very good food source for them and it’s highly unlikely that there can be a sustained population when the parasites have humans only as a source of food. They can however bring about allergies when they feed on humans and they expose them to diseases such as tularemia and typhus.

A female flea lays eggs on the hair surface of a host animal or it can also lay the eggs on the ground. When the eggs are present on the animal, especially a pet in a home, they can drop with ease, creating infestations on the carpet, furniture and bedding. The eggs then hatch into larvae in a short period of 12 days. The flea larvae will keep off light and mostly feed on any organic matter that is readily available on crevices and cracks. The larvae then enter into the pupa stage after 18 days and they construct a cocoon-like structure that is small in size around them before adult fleas emerge from the structures 2 weeks later and start their search for sources of food.

These insects tend to establish large populations in areas where there are pets or other haired animals including livestock. Animals that suffer from the infestations scratch incessantly and it is therefore easier for you to know when your pets are infested. The scratching can be risky to you because it does not only make it possible for the fleas to jump on your or your children and other parts of the house but you will also have to deal with pet hairs and dander. Humans will also exhibit some allergies when they are bitten by the fleas.

Treating a flea infestation
The best way to keep fleas off your home is by ensuring that you take proper care of your pets and domesticated animals. They should be cleaned and treated for such parasites on a regular basis. If you have a worrying flea population, then you can seek the intervention of pest professionals who employ a number of treatments to completely get rid of your flea problem.