Flea Identification: Identifying Fleas Accurately

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Flea Identification: Identifying Fleas Accurately

Fleas are blood-sucking tiny insects that tend to jump from one place to another. Their length is around 1.16 to 1/8 of an inch. As they feed on the blood of their hosts, they eventually get a red colour after a full blood meal.

They have a flat and hard body with large rear legs that they use when jumping. They can jump as high as 7 inches vertically and can be brought home by pets and even wild animals.

Behaviour and Biology

Just like other insects, fleas also go through different life stages and have distinct behaviours. Get to know more about these insects here:

  • The life cycle of fleas has four stages. It consists of the egg, larva, pupa, and the adult stage. Eggs can live for 2 to 14 days and then hatch for the larva to emerge.

Larvae live for 8 to 14 days before entering the pupal stage where they live from five to 7 days. The final life stage is when they emerge as blood biting adults that can live from 2 weeks to about 3 months.

  • Females can lay several batches of their eggs with about 20 eggs in each batch.
  • Upon reaching the adult stage, they will start looking for a host for their blood meal and then reproduce.
  • Flea bites cause itching and allergic reactions to the host. This is the main reason why these insects are considered a nuisance.
  • A flea problem doesn’t only start if you have pets. These insects can also be brought in by other animals, such as raccoons, roof rats, squirrels, and bats.
  • They can also carry diseases, spread bacteria, virus and rickettsia diseases not only to humans but other warm-blooded animals.

How to Identify Fleas?

To know how fleas really look like, there are specific characteristics that you should look for. The main characteristics that you should look for are the following:

Shape

  • Laterally, they are compressed and has an oval-shaped body
  • They have six long legs
  • They are wingless

Size

With various species of fleas, cat flea is known as the most problematic since it is infesting more domestic dogs and cats. What makes things worse is that they are able to quickly reproduce indoors.

The size usually depends on the gender. However, the typical size ranges from 1.5 mm to about 3.5mm.

Colour

Adults are usually reddish brown or dark brown in colour. While they are still in the early stages of life, they are rarely seen using the naked eye.

Different Types of Fleas

There are approximately 2000 recognized species as well as subspecies of this insect. Fleas prefer a particular type of hosts. It is the reason why their names indicate the host. However, they can still choose humans, cats, and dogs as hosts.

Below are some of the common types that you may encounter:

Dog Fleas

This type of flea doesn’t only affect dogs, but also other hosts. They can be found in animals in the wild like opossums, raccoons, and even on livestock.

Cat Fleas

It is the most common species found on most household pets in North America. These fleas prefer cats, dogs, and humans as hosts.

Tropical Hen Fleas

Also called sticktight flea, this type is mostly affecting poultry. However, they can still feed on other animals nearby.

Oriental Rat Fleas

A species known for carrying the bubonic plague, these types prefer feeding off of rats. They can also suck the blood of humans and other animals.

Rabbit Fleas

These fleas are not only found in pet rabbits and wild ones but with household pets as well. You will typically find them on the ears of cats and dogs, which causes papules and crusts on the edges.

Human Fleas

Aside from humans, these fleas also feed on pigs in addition to cats and dogs. You will most likely find them on the hair. However, these fleas

Ways to Prevent Fleas from Infesting Your Home

If you notice that you and your pets are developing itchy small red bumps that are itchy or swollen, you should start flea control practices. Get rid of eggs, adult fleas, and even flea dirt by regularly combing your pet using a fine toothcomb.

When the infestation is worse than you expected, you can always contact expert pest control services to handle the situation.

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