- Size: Tiny insects measuring about one-sixth inch in length and are laterally flattened.
- Color: Reddish-brown.
- Behavior: One female flea can lay about 18 eggs a day and just 20 fleas on a dog can produce 360 eggs per day and over 2,000 eggs in a week. After the home is treated with flea control products, it may take up to two weeks or more before fleas are no longer seen. Vacuuming as often as possible after the flea extermination can help shorten this time period.
Fleas are ectoparasites of animals, meaning they live on the outside of the body and need to feed on the blood of these animals in order to produce eggs. Because fleas usually feed and lay their eggs while the pet is sleeping, the pet's resting areas are where the most fleas will be found. Many pets acquire fleas outside in the yard, which can lead to a flea infestation inside the home. Research has demonstrated that urban wildlife, such as raccoons and opossums, are commonly responsible for introducing these biting pests onto residential properties where the pets can encounter them.
Tips for Control
Controlling a flea infestation successfully requires four steps:
- Preparation for treatment
- Treatment of pets
- Treatment of the inside premises
- Treatment of flea activity sites outside
Obviously, the pet is critical to minimizing flea infestations, and regular grooming helps to limit fleas on the pet. For this reason, customers need to keep the pet groomed and treated with on-animal flea control products. Consult your veterinarian for assistance in treating your pets for fleas and ticks.
Step One. Any flea extermination will be less effective if the home is not prepared properly by completing the following steps:
- Remove all items, such as toys, clothes and pet food from all floors
- Wash or replace pet bedding.
- Vacuum all carpets and rugs thoroughly, including beneath beds and upholstered furniture.
- Clean all wood, tile and linoleum floors by sweeping and mopping.
- Clean concrete floors with soap and water in the garage, basement or enclosed patio where pets rest or stay.
- Remove all pets including birds and reptiles. Cover fish tanks with a damp towel and turn off the air pump. (Note: saltwater tanks cannot have pumps disconnected.)
- Replace any pet bedding outdoors and make all shaded areas, crawl spaces, etc. available for treatment.
- Arrange to be out of the home for several hours until the treatment has thoroughly dried.
Step Two. The homeowner needs to arrange for treating the pet, and this should be done at the same time that the home is treated. A number of on-animal treatment products are now available. Treatment of pets should be done under the direction of a veterinarian.
Step Three. In homes with an active flea infestation, a residual treatment combined with an insect growth regulator should be applied. The professionals at Terminix® flea extermination service know how to get rid of fleas by using the latest flea control products. Efforts should be focused on the areas where pets rest or sleep, as these are the sites where the most fleas will be located.
Step Four. Outside, treatment is typically applied to shaded areas and beneath shrubs and decks where pets rest or sleep.