Fleas

Scientific Name: Siphonaptera

If you have pets and noticed they are scratching, licking, or biting their skin constantly chances are they may have fleas. In more severe cases, your pets may experience some hair loss, scabs, hot spots, or have an allergic reaction to the flea bites. If you check their coat or environment, you may see flea eggs that look like small dark droppings or “flea dirt.”

What do Fleas look like?

Fleas are 1/16”, dark, reddish brown and wingless, with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and drawing blood. They thrive in warm, humid environments and feed on a host. If you have pets, your home is likely to be susceptible to fleas. Because fleas are so small, they are difficult to identify with the naked eye, which means you may not know if they are on your pets or in your home until you start to see the symptoms.

flea anatomy
Diagram of a Flea
By Al2 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Flea Types

  • Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
  • Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)
  • Human flea (Pulex irritans)
  • Moorhen flea (Dasypsyllus gallinulae)
  • Northern rat flea (Nosopsyllus fasciatus)
  • Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis)

Flea Control Options

Consult your veterinarian if you think your pets may have fleas. They will be able to identify the issue and discuss the best treatment options for your pet. Clean your home thoroughly including rugs, bedding, upholstery to remove fleas – just remember to throw out the vacuum cleaner bag, or else the fleas can lay eggs in the bag. Flea control can be difficult to implement because it requires treating both your pet and home in order to get rid of this pest.

If you are unsure of how to treat your home, contact a pest control professional. It is important to treat your lawn and interior of your home in order to effectively remove fleas. Experienced pest companies will not only be able to identify the type and size of the infestation, but will also be able to recommend and provide the best treatment possible for your home and family.

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