How To Keep Fleas Out Of Your St. Louis Home
August 20, 2021 - Fleas
There are more than 2,500 species of fleas in the world. There are about 30 species of fleas in Missouri. The flea that causes humans and pets the most problems is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), which also bites people and dogs.
Description Of The Flea
Fleas are small, narrow, dark brown or black anthropoids. They are 1/12 to 1/8 inch long. The hind legs are adapted to jump and can jump 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally. Their bodies are covered with dense backward-facing spines. They can move easily between hairs on dogs, cats, and other animals. While fleas prefer dogs, cats, or rodents as hosts, they will bite humans if they can’t find anything else.
Dangers Of Fleas
When a flea bites a human, it leaves behind a red, itchy spot with a single puncture wound. This distinguishes the bite from other anthropoids such as spiders, which leave two puncture marks. People are usually bitten on the lower legs and feet.
In addition to being annoying, flea bites can be dangerous. Fleas can carry bubonic plague, murine typhus, tularemia, bartonellosis, and tapeworm. Rodent fleas can carry bubonic plague out in the Western parts of the United States. The Oriental rat flea transmits typhus from rat to human. Pets can get tapeworms when they ingest a flea with the larvae in it.
Lifecycle Of Fleas
Fleas are difficult to control because they have a complex life cycle. Indoors, the whole lifecycle happens in 20-30 days, so the flea population increases rapidly. The adult female flea lays 2-14 eggs after every blood meal. She can lay 300 eggs in her lifetime. These eggs are laid on the hair of the host, such as a dog. Some eggs fall off the dog into the bedding or other places the dog frequents.
The eggs hatch in 2-14 days. The larvae are legless but move using stiff bristles. They eat organic matter, including the feces of adult fleas. They are about 1/16 inch when newly hatched and grow to 1/8 inch long. They molt three times as they grow. Larvae prefer dark, moist places to live while they grow. When fully grown, the larvae spin a silk cocoon, weaving in dirt and debris as camouflage. Inside, the larvae become fleas. Five to seven days later, the adult emerges. The adult flea can stay in its cocoon for up to five months. It emerges when it senses a host nearby.
Flea Prevention Tips
The best way to prevent fleas is to take your pet to a veterinarian and ask them what flea control product is appropriate for your pet. There are products that are applied between the pet’s shoulders and there are products that the pet eats. Both kill the fleas. Flea collars are of little use when you have a flea infestation.
Fleas can enter a house on rodents such as mice and rats. Here are some things to prevent that from happening:
- Keep your pet inside.
- Mow the lawn.
- Clean up debris in the yard.
- Move firewood onto a rack up 8 inches from the ground and at least 20 feet from the house.
- Stuff steel wool into cracks and holes in your foundation and caulk it in place.
- Use steel wool and caulk to close any openings where pipes, electrical wires, or cables enter the house.
- Vacuum your house and everywhere inside the pet touches. Dispose of the vacuum bag by sealing it in a plastic bag and putting it in the outside garbage can.
Get Professional Help
Vacuuming alone will not stop a flea infestation. Roberts Pest Control can treat your environment so that the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult fleas are killed. When you call us, we will give you a free estimate of cost. Our technician will come out and do an inspection of the inside and outside of your house, noting any pest problems present.
We will then treat your house for all of your pest problems, including rodents. We will come out in 60 days and re-treat the exterior of your house to keep rodents and their fleas out of your house. Call Roberts Pest Control today and get rid of rodents and their fleas from your St. Louis property. We also offer commercial pest control in St. Louis.