Let’s get to know the enemy and how we can fight them.
Flea SeasonThere are over 200 flea species in the United States, alone. Yikes! That means there are fleas who can adapt to, and survive, light winters and intermittent snow storms. Only the most northern states see a significant decline in flea populations and can limit their preventative measure to Spring, Summer, and Fall. The rest of us can really only depend on infestation avoidance with year-round preventative measures.
The Flea Life-CycleIn this guide to fleas, we are best prepared when we know how fleas reproduce and grow. That knowledge means we'll have an understanding of how we can combat them. Here’s a brief run-down of the flea life-cycle. Fleas have a four-stage lifecycle that can last for a week or six months, depending on the species and their region.
Stage One: EggsEwe. Fleas have eggs and they leave them everywhere. They aren’t just on our fur-babies. They fall into the carpet, upholstery, and anywhere there’s fabric, such as our clothes and bedding. While cats and canines get the bad rap of bringing them into the house, the fact is that humans can also bring them in on our clothes. All it takes is a close encounter with a cat, canine, or guardian that has an infestation.
Fleas have eggs and they leave them everywhere.
Stage Two: LarvaeGross. At this stage, they look like little white worms, but because they’re only about six millimeters long, they aren’t very visible. At this point, they feed on organic materials they find in their surroundings. That means cat feces and decaying vegetable and plant matter, like houseplants.
Stage Two: PupaeYuck. This is the stage that makes it difficult to rid a household of a flea infestation. Even though flea season is when fleas are active and biting, the pupae stage is a dormant stage when the flea is in a cocoon. Depending upon conditions, this stage can last a week or over a year!
Stage Four: Adult FleasUhg. This is when those little biters do the most damage. They live in our home, on our pets, and lay more eggs. And they spread diseases, viruses, and bacteria. Even when they aren’t spreading illness, they are causing discomfort and irritation for all of us, fur-babies and humans, alike.
Fleas spread diseases, viruses, and bacteria.
What Do Fleas Eat?Once fleas become adults, they feed on blood. A guide to fleas isn't complete with also knowing it doesn’t just need to be animal blood. The most notable fact about these little vampires? They can last a year on just one meal. That doesn’t mean that one bite will stop them from feeding as often as possible. It just means they can live quite a while in a vacant apartment that may have been the home to a flea infestation.
What Do They Look Like?Chances are, most of us have seen a flea at one point or another, but there are a points that are worth mentioning. They are usually only about 0.3 centimeters long, so they can be easy to miss. They are also dark brown, or reddish, so they easily blend into our pet’s hair. Fleas don’t have wings, but they have strong legs and can jump surprisingly far. On top of all of this, fleas are resilient to physical harm because of their flat body shape and tiny size.
Fleas are resilient, can live long periods without food.