What You Should Know About Fleas

BY | November 24 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
What You Should Know About Fleas

Image sources: Pixabay.com/

Fleas are one of the most annoying creatures that your pet has to suffer from. Once your pet is infested with these parasites, it can be very difficult to get off them. As a result, you will end up looking piteously at your pet, who constantly scratches itself. While there is no permanent solution to the problem of fleas, knowing a few things about these creatures can really help you in dealing with this problem.

Fleas have four stages in their life-cycle

Just like butterflies, the life-cycle of a flea begins from an egg. The egg hatches in 7 days to give out larvae, which eventually turn into pupae. The pupas burst after a period of time to give out fleas. The eggs are very difficult to find as they are โ€˜bouncyโ€™ and keep falling off the hostโ€™s body. These eggs and the larvae that come out of them will be found in greater density in areas where the host spends the most time.

Fleas thrive in the dark

Flea larvae hate the light. Larvae tend to move away from bright areas and try to hide in dark spaces as cracks and crevices. Such dark spaces around areas where the host spends a lot of time have a greater chance of being infested. Keeping your pets away from places that have little or no light at all such as basements and attics- can really help check infestation. If your pets frequent these areas, there is a chance they will leave some eggs or larvae there, which could be a perfect environment for them to breed.

Flea dirt is the richest food for larvae

Larvae thrive on flea dirt. Flea dirt is nothing but the excrement of fleas, which is nothing but dried blood. The presence of flea dirt on your pet is a sure sign of flea infestation. Getting your pet cleaned off this flea dirt can cut off the source of nutrition for the larvae, thereby preventing them from breeding. You can identify flea dirt by looking for tiny dot-like blackish particles on your petโ€™s skin. Try to extract these particles and try to moisten them, perhaps by placing them on moist white paper. Flea dirt, which is actually blood, will release reddish-brown streaks. Getting rid of fleas can be a painful task, although one that is very important. If you know that your pet is infested with fleas, try using medicated sprays and applications, or giving baths in medicated soaps and shampoos. Besides, keep your home very clean and pay extra attention to areas where your pet spends more time, especially to dark spaces in those areas. Try to keep your house aired and bright.

Everything You Need to Know About Flea Larvae

As a pet owner, youโ€™ve likely come across flea problems before and if you havenโ€™t, youโ€™re sure to experience the issue at some point in time. In fact, you donโ€™t even have to be a pet owner to come across a flea problem. Youโ€™re probably wondering what fleas actually are. Well, fleas are basically insects. They are extremely small in size, which is exactly why detecting them seems like a herculean task. Most pet owners find out about flea infestations only after watching their dog/cat scratch profusely or by coming across bite marks. A close inspection of a flea will present you with a creature that measures only one-fourth of an inch with an almost flat structure. You will also notice that they have extended hind legs. These extended hind legs function like springs. They are designed to help the flea jump great distances (for its size). Their diet consists of blood, which is why they feed on your cat or dog. The blood they consume is essential to their reproductive process. After successful mating, a female flea hatches eggs into the blood of the host animal. From there, the eggs go through 3 stages as larvae, pupae, and adult. In this write-up, weโ€™re going to go through some interesting facts about the larvae stage.

Flea larvae donโ€™t stay in one spot

After the eggs turn into larvae, they donโ€™t remain in the same spot. They fall off because of the hostโ€™s movement. The larvae function like little balls that bounce. Once the host moves, the larvae practically bounce off the hostโ€™s body and end up in places nearby. Thatโ€™s when they hatch and become pupae.

Flea larvae avoid light

Once the eggs are laid by the female flea, it takes the eggs about 2 days to almost a week to hatch into larvae. The larvae are known to be phototaxic i.e. they are not comfortable with light and will try to get away from a light source. In fact, theyโ€™ll try their best to occupy tiny crevices and cracks that are free of light.

Flea larvae eat dirt

Larvae survive by consuming flea dirt. Flea dirt here refers to organic debris and dried blood, which is excreted by adult fleas as feces. This process continues for about 2 weeks, after which, they enter the pupae stage. This is characterized by the spinning of the cocoon. Fleas remain in the cocoon stage for extended periods of time and come out only when they sense a host.

Getting rid of larvae isnโ€™t the same as getting rid of adult fleas

Adult fleas can be eliminated using chemicals and medicated applications. However, getting rid of larvae requires a different approach. For starters, you must vacuum your home completely to get rid of the larvae. Using an attachment known as a beater bar with your vacuum cleaner can be of great help. Also, makes sure the vacuum bag is disposed of immediately. Secondly, there are sprays and foggers developed to get rid of flea larvae. However, not all products boast of the same effectiveness. So, talk to your vet. Your vet understands your requirements better because he/she has been to your home, see your pet, and has a basic idea of how you live. Even with all these remedies, it might take a couple of months to be 100% flea larvae-free. The next step is to prevent a repeat infestation. So, keep your pets indoors as often as possible and make sure your home is prepared to fend off other animals such as raccoons and possums, etc. As mentioned earlier, flea larvae like being in dark spaces, so, the seal of areas such as crawl spaces, and attics. Finally, do make sure you treat your pet for fleas. You will need to exercise permanent flea control to prevent an infestation or re-infestation.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like