Fleas can quickly overrun a home within days, and the signs are typically obvious when an infestation occurs. Most people have had a run in with fleas, often a single flea that takes a bite. It’s extremely easy for just a few fleas making it into your home to turn into an infestation. If you have pets, the chances are good that it will happen to you (or already has). Humans have the potential to suffer allergic reactions from the bites and become a buffet in the night, and the pets you have become the perfect appetizer around the clock for this blood-sucking insect.
Size & Appearance
Fleas are fairly common and exist within a variety of 5 species (Hen, Human, Dog, Cat and Rat). The most common type encountered are the dog and the cat flea, which are strikingly similar tiny insects measuring approximately 1/6 of an inch in length. Cat fleas are laterally flattened which is why people have such a difficult time trying to squish them. Their color is typically a reddish brown.
For the most part they have no real visual acuity and have very short antennae. The lengths of their bodies are covered with bristles that help them cling to you when they land. While they have no wings, they can jump great distances (across an entire room of a common home) with their powerful legs.
A female flea can lay over 18 eggs a day, unfortunately there’s rarely just one female flea. Most household animals or humans traveling through a flea infested area outside could bring in up to a dozen (or more). 20 fleas on your pet can produce up to 360 eggs in a single day – over 2000 in the span of a weak. It doesn’t take long for your home to be overrun, and you’ll certainly notice.
While the fleas will gather in the area where the host (your dog or cat) spends their sleep time, they will spread throughout the home. Telltale signs will be noticeable on tables and flat surfaces where the fleas leave their excrement – very tiny black pellets.
Fleas are an ectoparasite, meaning they feed on blood from the surface of the host. Once a home is infested, the host quickly goes from 1 animal or person to just about everyone in the home. They have no bias or preference toward anyone in particular. Blood is blood.
While they tend to exist in more rural areas, they can be introduced to a back yard setting by wild animals such as raccoons that travel through your property. From there, your pets or your family can easily track them in.
Impact Of Pests On The Home
Fleas are a huge nuisance; if they are not treated before they’ve have a chance to multiply (and this happens quickly) then you will have to take a more aggressive approach to treating your home. Fleas will move on any surface, which will result in their excrement, which looks like grains of dirt, turning up on all manner of surfaces including your table and other food prep areas, dishes, clothing, etc.
Health Risks Of Pests
A handful of fleas won’t do much more than cause discomfort but they can quickly become a mass colony if not corrected. If the infestation grows, pets are at risk of severe biting that can cause them to lose a significant amount of blood, leading to anemia. Animals with severe infestations often succumb and die from the onset of anemia.
Cat fleas also transmit various diseases and can transmit parasites such as the tapeworm. Other hazards include the spread of Bartonella (bacteria) which is responsible for diseases such as Carrion’s disease and trench fever.