Fleas are small insects, their body size is only 0,75 to 5 mm. The body is brown or black, flattened and smooth, ideal for life on the animal’s skin. Fleas has long and strong hind legs capable to jump up to 70 cm in height and up to 1 metre in the distance. Fleas’ mouth is designed to overbite the skin and suck the blood of humans and warm-blooded animals, as it is their main source of feeding. 39 species have been identified in Latvia, but most of them are feeding with animal blood. Four of them are parasitize on humans – human fleas, cat fleas, dog fleas and less often rat fleas.
There are four stages in the life cycle of a flea: egg, larva, nymph, and adult and a full cycle of development takes about a year. The female is able to lay 500-2500 eggs during her life. Flea larvae hatch in the surroundings in warm places – in the animal’s bed, in floor gaps, dirt, sand, etc. Larvae feed from a variety of organic materials. In the next nymphs stage, flea in its own woven cocoons waits for favourable conditions to emerge. The length of adult flea life is two to three months.
Fleas in the warm summer months tend to multiply in huge numbers. While the air is at least 8 degrees warm, fleas can survive outside pretty well. But in the fall, as time gets cooler, fleas go looking for warmer places – in people’s homes. For example, in rural houses and boutiques where they are hidden in gaps in the floors.
Fleas are common in sharing facilities of apartment buildings. Their breeding sites are fur of domestic animals, sand that can be present in basements and in the home itself, for example, at the doormat. Usually fleas are brought in by pets, who can catch these parasites in grass, sand. In sharing facilities of apartment buildings disinsection or flea elimination must be carried out regularly to avoid flea infestation.
The presence of fleas in the home may be indicated by black spots on the sheets, itchy rash in the flea bite areas for both pets and humans. In humans, flea bites mainly cause discomfort, but in more sensitive people also an allergic reaction. In turn, in pets, flea bites can become inflamed because scratching injures the skin. Even fleas can transmit various infectious diseases and tapeworm larvae.
Only adult fleas that are only 5-10% of the population can be seen with an eye. Most fleas are still in other stages of development that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Therfore fleas can be difficult to eliminate.
How to get rid of fleas? Not only adult fleas must be eliminated, but also their eggs, larvae and nymphs. Treat the environment (floor gaps, carpets, beds, sofas, other soft furniture, the dog’s bed) properly by vacuuming regularly for several weeks and thoroughly washing bedding and toys in hot soapy water. Treat the adult fleas living on your pet. In cases when it is not possible to get rid of fleas on your own, then PELIAS pest control specialists can help and perform professional disinsection or flea elimination.