Fleas are wingless insects, that are dark in colour, are very small (approximately 2 mm in length) and have bodies that are flattened in appearance (from a side view). They are agile and can jump up to 13 inches high (just over a foot and about 200 times their own body length). They are external parasites of mammals (including our house pets) and birds and depend on a fresh blood meal for survival.
Fleas have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult.
They lay tiny, white, oval eggs in cracks and crevices around your home or on the host. Eggs can easily fall off their hosts, so areas where the host rests or sleeps is one of the primary nesting sites. The eggs take around two days to two weeks for a larvae to hatch.
The larvae are small, pale in colour and have bristles of hair covering their worm like bodies. They feed on organic matter, like the faeces of mature fleas containing dried blood. They are in the larvae stage from between four to eighteen days.
Under preferable conditions, a flea will emerge from the Pupa within four days, but can take much longer under adverse conditions. This exact stage of life is what makes fleas so difficult to eradicate, because the pre-emergent adult flea will wait until the environment is suitable before emerging. Triggers that encourage emergence include vibrations (including sound), heat (in warm-blooded hosts) and increased levels of carbon dioxide. When fleas first emerge from their egg, they must feed on blood before they mature enough to be capable of reproduction. Female fleas can lay 5,000 or more eggs over the span of their life.
With ideal conditions of temperature, food supply and humidity an adult flea can live up to a year and a half.
Fleas are most active later in the summer, around August and extending into October – December (with our milder early winter months).
WHEN INVADING HUMAN LIVING SPACE
Fleas primarily choose a host with fur or feathers, but can and will bite humans. Flea bites cause a slightly raised, swollen, irritating mark that can become very itchy, similar to a mosquito bite. The area can become inflamed and lead to skin infections and/or hair loss.
Fleas lay eggs in cracks and crevices around your home and on their hosts (family pets). Areas of concern are baseboards, carpets, pet bedding, upholstered furniture and beds.
Balson first recommends with all flea infestations that the homeowner start by doing a very thorough vacuuming of their home, with special attention to the areas of concern mentioned above. Afterwards, be sure to replace your vacuum bag and discard of fleas and eggs that have been contained. Also wash all pet bedding, pet toys and human bedding using the hottest temperatures and drying in your machine on the highest heat setting. Be sure to thoroughly wash and completely dry your pets, using comfortable water temperatures and drying heat, just to remove loose fleas and eggs. Purchase from a reputable pet store or vets, a topical flea treatment for your pet. You will need to apply a treatment topically to your pet once a month for three consecutive months, at a minimum, longer if possible. This advise is recommended for pets that stay indoors all the time. For pets that frequent the outdoors, a flea treatment will have to be applied monthly from March to December.
Even though you as a homeowner has completed all of the tasks recommended above, in order to eradicate fleas from your home a pesticide must also be used. Balson Pest Control will send in a licensed technician to perform a treatment. We spray all cracks, crevices, around windows, door jams, baseboards, area carpets and carpeting.
The house must remain fully vacant for a minimum of 12 hours.
Fully understanding the life cycle of a flea and targeting treatment to those specific life stages is crucial in eradication.
Under preferable conditions, a flea will emerge from the Pupa within four days, but can take much longer under adverse conditions. This exact stage of life is what makes fleas so difficult to eradicate, because the pre-emergent adult flea will wait until the environment is suitable before emerging. A special precautionary message to be understood is that large numbers of pre-emergent fleas can choose to lay dormant, waiting in an otherwise thought to be flea-free environment and then once a suitable host is introduced (such as a new pet or returning to the home after leaving it vacant for some time) a mass emergence of adult fleas may be triggered. Creating an infestation in a very short amount of time. Leaving the home or cottage for a period of time, closing off rooms or renovating will not eradicate the flea infestation. A chemical treatment must be performed.
The initial chemical treatment is effective against adult fleas left behind after the homeowners thorough cleaning and will also make them sterile, preventing additional reproduction. However, the chemical treatment will not affect eggs or pupa.
Balson will return after one and half weeks to treat, addressing any newly emerged larvae and fleas. If necessary, depending on the infestation, a third spray may be required.
It is recommended that the homeowner continue with a thorough vacuuming of the home regularly (daily) to extract as many fleas as possible before they reach adulthood.