Fleas are ectoparasitic, wingless insects that survive by feeding on blood from household pets, like dogs and cats, and human beings. These outdoor pests are usually brought into your property by wild animals such as rats, raccoons, and rabbits.

 As these critters crawl in your yard, they drop the fleas that, in turn, hide under leaves, grass, and debris. As your pets wander around the backyard, the fleas hitch a ride and get into your home. These hitchhikers are ravenous bloodsuckers who feed up to 15 times their body weight daily. They also boast strong hind legs that enable them to jump as high as eight inches!

These creatures inflict itchy bites that cause animals and human beings to start scratching themselves. They also pass tapeworms and bacteria to animals and human beings. Flea infestation usually gets out of hand fast, as females can lay over 2000 eggs in their lifetime. Keep reading to learn more about flea identification, diet, habitat, prevention, and control. 

How to Identify Fleas

Fleas are not easy to identify due to their small size. However, once you catch one, you can try to identify it by looking at these features.

Size:  Fleas are very small, only around .03 to .13 inches long

Color: Dark brown, but turn reddish after feeding

Bodily features: Fleas have a flat body with a rounded back. They have hard plates known as sclerites that are covered with hair and short spines that move backward and cover the entire body. Unlike other insects, fleas don’t have compound eyes. Instead, they feature simple eyespots with biconvex lenses. They have strong hind legs that enable them to jump 8 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally. They have sucking and piercing mouthparts. 

Habitat: Fleas are usually prevalent in warm and moist environments. They usually appear when the weather is hot and can be found in the yard hiding in grass, shrubs, and under debris and leaves. 

Diet: Adult fleas rely exclusively on blood from their hosts to survive, and the larvae feed on the adult fleas excretes and dirt. 

Are Fleas Dangerous

Fleas are dangerous to both pets and human beings. They inflict extremely itchy bites that, when the host starts to scratch itself, may contract infections. In extreme cases, fleas can cause hair loss and anemia in household animals such as cats, rabbits, and dogs.

 These hitchhikers can also transmit parasites and bacteria to animals and humans. Fleas have acted as vectors and carriers of several diseases in the past, including bubonic plague. For these reasons, a flea infestation should be prevented at all costs.

How to Prevent and Control Fleas

To help prevent and get rid of fleas from your property, follow these tips:

  • Keep lawns maintained and remove yard waste.
  • Avoid overwatering, as fleas love moisture. 
  • Prune bushy trees and flowers to allow sunlight to penetrate the areas beneath them.
  • Mulch with cedar, which is a natural flea repellant.
  • Make your yard less friendly to wildlife such as deer, rodents, and other critters.
  • Keep all pets on preventative flea treatments.
  • Vacuum indoors often to prevent fleas from nesting in your carpet and furniture.

If prevention doesn’t work and fleas infest your lawn and home, don’t try to control them by yourself, contact a professional pest extermination company. Since these creatures multiply quickly, you need the experts at Domain Pest Control to help you eliminate them. 

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