5 Facts About Fleas That’ll Make You Pay More Attention to What’s Around You
Fleas are here to stay – if you want them to. No one wants a flea infestation and yet, over time, these nasty crawlers seem to want to share our space. It’s even worse when it decides to make a home on your poor pet because you not only worry about getting your furry friend well, but you also have to do a complete evaluation of your surroundings.
Then again, maybe if you were made aware of some of the most interesting facts about fleas, maybe you’ll start paying attention to what’s around you. Maybe then you can prevent future unwanted guests from calling your place home.
To help you out, here are some facts about fleas you should definitely know about:
- The primary goal of an adult flea is to find blood and reproduce.
Fleas are parasites and they feed on blood – it is their reason for living. And their preference tend to be four-legged animals, but that doesn’t mean they won’t feat on human blood either. Blood is necessary for an adult flea to reproduce.
Within 35 to 48 hours of its first blood meal, a female flea is ready to lay eggs. They can lay as much as 40 to 50 eggs in a single day, and as many as 2,000 in their lifetime.
This fact stresses the importance of maintaining clean surroundings even if you haven’t detected fleas yet. After all, you don’t start keeping tidy only when your pet starts scratching or you see fleas with your own eyes.
- Fleas are attracted by body heat, movement and exhaled carbon dioxide.
Here’s a curious thing about the life cycle of a flea: the pupae is the last developmental stage before an adult flea emerges, but if environmental conditions aren’t right, the cocoon can protect the flea from developing for months, and even years.
Keeping a flea inside the cocoon is a away of increasing its chances of survival. In other words, an adult flea won’t emerge until the presence of a potential host is guaranteed. How can they tell? Through vibrations, the rising levels of carbon dioxide and body heat of course. This is one of the explanations of why you suddenly find a flea infestation.
Then again, all this points to maintaining cleanliness in ALL surroundings to ensure that none of these creatures ever make a home in your own home.
- Fleas can travel.
Although fleas cannot travel long distances without a host, they are blessed with a gift for leaping. They can jump as much as eight feet high, or around 150 times their own height. Once they latch on to a new host, they start a cycle on that poor creature.
Fleas, however, can only survive from a few days to about two weeks without a host.
- Fleas don’t like extremely hot temperatures.
Fleas do thrive in higher temperatures, but only to a certain extent. They need at least 21° to 32°C (70 to 90°F) to survive. Also, relative humidity that is less than 50% or soil temperature higher than 95°F kills flea larvae.
In other words, it’s in moist, shaded spots where fleas thrive the most. So if you have a pet and suspect them to have fleas, check the area where they mostly spend their time in as there’s a good chance it’s where the infestation is rampant.
- Fleas are a source of disease.
You only need to look at history to know the damaging effects fleas can have on both humans and animals. The Bubonic Plague was caused by fleas on small rodents. They also transmit murine typhus, a bacterial disease, to humans through infected rats.
On June 8, 2015, a 16-year old teenager from Larimer County, Colorado called Taylor Gaes died from a mysterious illness but which was then confirmed to be the septicemic plague, a life-threatening infection of the blood which is most commonly spread by bites from infected fleas. Investigators believed that Gaes was bitten by a flea that picked up the plague-causing bacteria from the rodents in the area.
Also, a July 7, 2015 news report in News Channel 10 confirmed that at least 20 people have been treated for murine typhus. Pest control companies in the Amarillo area attribute the spike to an increase in the rat population.