Fleas are more than just a biting nuisance – they can transmit several diseases to both humans and animals, particularly to pets. If you suspect that fleas have invaded your home and are terrorizing your pet, our team at Orkin Canada can help. When you start to notice excessive scratching from your dog or cat, start by inspecting their skin and fur to determine if you do in fact, have a flea problem. Ignoring these signs will not only make your pet suffer more, but it can intensify the problem, allowing the fleas to reproduce quickly and eventually infest your carpeting, furniture, and more
The Uninvited House Guest
Fleas are blood-feeding insects; they feed on warm-blooded animals including humans. There are over 2000 species of fleas in the wild; with just a few being of threat to humans namely the cat flea, dog flea, human flea and oriental rat flea. Fleas can live both outdoors and indoors. They are brought indoors by infested pets or wildlife such as rodents, raccoons and skunks. Then once inside, they make themselves at home, harboring in pet beds, on the couch, in carpeting, and in furniture – anywhere that is close to their host. Outdoors they can inhabit and breed in places frequented by pets or wildlife, typically in cool, shady areas protected from sunlight.
Why You Should Be Concerned About Fleas?
Fleas feed on your pets for nourishment. They will bite their skin, suck their blood and then reproduce. This process not only causes pain and irritation for your pet, but also it can also result in secondary skin infection resulting from scratching or dermatitis. Fleas transmit disease-causing pathogens as well as tapeworms to pets. To make matters worse, if the fleas are not controlled, severe infestations can lead to a serious medical condition if not treated can result in death.
How Do They Breed?
After they have feasted, female fleas will lay their eggs on your pet, the host, in batches of up to 40 to 50 eggs. The eggs can also be deposited in pet bedding material or in cracks and crevices near by. The eggs will then hatch into larvae within 2 to 12 days. This larval stage can last for up to 200 days. The larvae will feed on organic debris, adult flea feces, and even your pets’ skin until conditions are right for them to pupate and weave a cocoon. They can remain dormant for several months until the conditions are just right for the adult flea to emerge. Once the final stage has (pupae) been completed, the adults will merge from the pupal cocoons and look for a host to start feeding on – your pet.
How Can I Spot Them?
First, check your pet. If they are constantly itching and scratching, you will want to inspect their skin and fur for fleas. Adult sized fleas can often be spotted crawling on their skin and through their fur or you will see them jump. Fleas can jump up to about 15 cm vertically. An adult flea is about 2 to 3 mm long, wingless, and reddish or dark brown in colour. The body is thin, flat from side to side, with prominent jumping legs. With the exception of the human flea, fleas have comb like spines around the “neck” and mouth.
How Can I Get Rid of Them?
Fleas are very difficult to control because of their size and ability to live on and off pets in other parts of the house and outdoors. To completely get rid of them, you need an intergraded, comprehensive treatment to kill the fleas in all life cycles, not just the adults, both indoors and outdoors as well as on the pets. This includes setting up flea traps around your home and using a flea collar and shampoo on your pet to target the adults. Vacuuming and steam cleaning of the home should be used to remove/ kill the fleas that are developing and hiding in the furniture and carpeting. For effective control, the above methods should be supplemented with strict application of appropriately registered and labeled flea products such as insect growth regulator (IGR) and insecticides, which is always best serviced by a professional pest control personnel.
Keep Them Away for Good
Our Orkin Canada team will develop a monitoring system and make sure that you have all the information you need to keep the fleas from coming back. Some things you can do right now to prevent a flea infestation – make sure your pets have flea collars, frequently groom your pet using flea comb or take to a groomer, vacuum frequently, and clean pet bedding and resting areas – do not allow pet fur to build-up in cracks or crevices, wash and change pet bedding frequently. Control any wildlife activity on the property both indoors and outdoors. Then head outdoors to remove items that commonly attract and breed fleas – leaf litter, tall grass, etc. If you find wildlife nests on your property make sure you remove them as they can harbour and breed fleas into your yard, which will jump onto your pet. You should also talk to your vet about the treatment options available for your pet in order to keep the fleas off.
Over the counter products alone are not enough to combat a flea infestation — an integrated approach is important. When you need effective flea control, you can rely on Orkin Canada to get rid of them for good. Our integrated approach to controlling fleas is highly effective and will help to control fleas by eliminating the active population as well as breaking their reproductive life cycle and eliminating conducive conditions that promotes infestation. We follow-up our flea treatments with monitoring and post-treatment visits to ensure that all fleas are eliminated permanently. Contact us today to learn more!
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