Your Complete Guide to the Facts and Myths About Fleas

The Definition of Fleas

The fleas are tiny insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They do not have wings and reach the host by jumping, which can reach more than 40 cm. They are found in places where domestic or other animals are present, such as rodents. Fleas can pose a serious health problem, especially for animals: by biting, they are able to cause itching, hair loss, and infections. They are also disease transmitters for humans: bubonic plague, for example, which has decimated millions of people throughout history, is a disease transmitted by fleas infected by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

The Life Cycle of Fleas

The life cycle of a flea compromise of four stages: the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Eggs are laid by a flea on an animal or in cracks and grooves on the floor. Eggs laid on pets are not tightly attached and usually fall out. Immature fleas termed larvae hatch from the eggs for about a week. Flea larvae are vastly different from adult fleas. They have the appearance of worms, lack legs, and do not feed on fresh blood but survive on organic compounds, including excrement discarded by adult fleas and dried blood particles. The larvae grow to their maximum in around 12 days, and go to the pupal stage and then transform into adult fleas. The adults feed on fresh animal blood more than once a day.

What do fleas look like to the human eye?

The flea is one of those little wingless jumping insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Once inside our home, fleas spread everywhere since their larvae hide in dark places, and their diet is based on any remaining organic matter, and they are extremely difficult to detect. Fleas are very tiny, contain no wings, and have three pairs of legs.

Being very small insects, the size of a flea is usually 1/14 inch, that is, less than an inch, This size benefits them a lot when it comes to hiding between the hair or the wings of the guests. The color of fleas is usually dark reddish-brown, and they have biting mouthparts. For the naked human eyes, they can be very hard to spot since they move and jump fast along the animal’s body.

How to find fleas on a cat or dog?

To help you become the best “flea detective,” we provide you some of our best tips:

  • The pet scratches excessively. To the point that the skin becomes red and loses its hair. In dogs, the preferred area is the hindquarters, while in cats, it is the head and neck.
  • Visual identification. We cannot always find fleas jumping on the animal’s skin. This does not mean that it is exempt from the problem since, during its life, the flea goes through four different phases, and it is estimated that only 5% of the fleas are in the adult phase at any one time. A clear symptom is small mounds of white and dark particles at the base of the hairs. The white ones are their eggs, while the dark ones, more abundant, are their stools.
  • Bites. They appear as small red dots surrounded by a halo in groups of three or four. They are very stinging and, although they can appear anywhere on the body, the most common is that they do so in the ankles or legs area.
  • Check your pet daily. Choose a time when the animal is calm and relaxed, perhaps after a nap or a good walk. Gently comb the fur, especially in areas that are flea hotspots, such as around the head, down the back, and around the tail. If your pet has thick or long hair, separate the fur with a comb and examine it around the hair roots. Adult fleas love to stay there, and their droppings can be seen.

But how do you detect fleas and be sure? It’s easy to mistake dirt particles for flea droppings, as they look so much alike. So if you’re not sure, just comb the hair on a damp cloth. If it’s flea droppings, you’ll see a red halo around the black droppings (that’s undigested blood).

How long can fleas hold their breath?

Fleas can live up to 7 days when dropped in water. Although when submerged, it can only take 24 hours for fleas to drown. To speed up the process, you can add a couple of drops of dish soap to the water. Dish soaps contain surfactants, which reduce water’s surface tension and cause fleas to sink and drown.

How long can fleas live underwater?

You’ve probably wondered about drowning fleas in water. However, research has shown that just like the cockroaches and many other insects, fleas can also probably survive a nuclear bomb since they have excellent survival capabilities. According to the research, a flea that is simply dropped into the water can survive for as long as one week. However, while this may sound as if you have no hope whatsoever of winning the flea battle, that is not so. While fleas can survive when dropped into water, it is still possible that under the right circumstances, they can be drowned.

How long does it take for fleas to starve?

Well, the fleas can starve to death, but how long they can live without a host depends on their stage of life— egg, larva, or adult. If an adult flea is removed from its host when it has been there longer than 24 hours, it generally dies within 2 to 14 days (average of 4 days). This is because once they start feeding, they develop a dependency on their host and need to keep feeding.

In the egg and larval form, fleas don’t need a host. The larvae do die when the temperature reaches 95 degrees, though, so they stay in the shade. The larvae then spin a cocoon and morph into adults.

Before their first meal, hatched adult fleas can live up to six months to a year inside their cocoon while waiting to detect a nearby host. It’s kind of like they are hibernating inside the cocoon until the time comes to emerge.

Unfed fleas having left their cocoon can only last on average about a week without feeding. In cases of ideal habitat, when it’s cool and the air saturated with water, some evidence suggests (though I would take it with a grain of salt) adult fleas can live much longer, months even. These conditions are rarely found naturally or in homes.

Why do fleas bite me and no one else?

They seem insignificant because of their tiny size, but fleas can cause serious health problems in humans. Given our proximity to pets, it is very likely that a large part of the population knows first-hand what a flea infestation is and some visible effects caused by their bites. There are also many reasons why fleas might be more attracted to you.

One reason why fleas are biting you and no one else is because of your skin and chemical makeup. Skin secretions and gas emissions vary among individuals. Also, a lot of people are allergic to the saliva secreted by fleas. A person with a moderate or severe allergic reaction would notice more bites than a person who is not allergic. Fleas also send signals to other fleas, alerting them of the presence of a warm-blooded meal. Once it finds it, it may relay the message to others until the host is swarmed with fleas.

How to get fleas out of the car?

Cars have upholstery and carpets just like your home, so fleas can just as easily reside in your car as anywhere else. This can happen if your pet walks with you, or it can just happen if fleas hitch a ride in the car on your shoes. Thoroughly getting rid of fleas is a multi-step process. The simple use of a flea product, while it can kill many of them, cannot get all the fleas and their eggs.

Things you will need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Painters Mask of carpet Flea and upholstery spray

The instructions to get rid of fleas in your car

  1. Empty the entire interior of the car, including all carpeted and upholstered areas. Use vacuum cleaner accessories to vacuum under seats and other hard-to-reach areas. Vacuuming alone absorbs a large number of fleas and their young, as well as lifting upholstery and carpet fibers so flea products can more easily penetrate these.
  2. Put on rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a painter’s mask, so you don’t touch the chemical, get into your eyes, or inhale. Roll down the car windows for ventilation.
  3. Test a small area of ​​flea spray on carpet and upholstery to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration first. Spray the carpet for fleas and spray upholstered inside. Make sure you get it under the seats, in the upholstery grain, and other areas the fleas and larvae can hide.

How fast do fleas reproduce?

The way the flea reproduces is through the eggs laid by a female flea. Well, once the female passed the Pupa stage and fed for the first time, she will begin to lay eggs in large quantities, which she places on the host’s skin. The number of eggs that a flea lays per day is 25 to 40 eggs; that is, they lay up to more than 2,500 eggs. This is due to the fact that the female flea lays eggs all her life, so that amount is not surprising.

The eggs do not stick to the host’s skin or hair, so they can easily fall off. The place where these eggs mostly fall and are is in the guest’s rest area. Taking only one day to hatch, although sometimes they do so after 10 days. It all depends on the temperature because if there is a high temperature, the egg hatches faster, and if the temperature is low, the egg will not survive.