There are more than 2,000 different types of fleas throughout the world. The most common of these are cat fleas, dog fleas, human fleas and Oriental rat fleas. Most people associate fleas with their family pets, however, fleas can feed on any warm-blooded animal, even humans. Fleas do not have wings, so they can’t fly. They move around by jumping with their very powerful legs. It’s estimated that an adult flea can jump as far as 12 inches or more, which is more than 150 times their height. They also move around by traveling on their ‟host.” This is the animal or human they have chosen for their blood meal. In fact, the female adult flea spends most of her life on the host animal feeding on their blood and laying up to hundreds of eggs per day.
Fleas are very dangerous when it comes to the spreading of diseases. Because of their ability to travel with the host animal, they can be transported to a vast number of different areas. This was the case with the spread of the Bubonic plague that ravaged Europe many years ago.
Although there are many different types of fleas, most have the same general characteristics. Fleas have a flattened or pancake-shaped body, making it easy for them to move through the hair of their host. They also possess backward shaped hairs and spines on their legs that allow them to grasp on to animals. Have you ever tried to pull a flea off of your dog? It’s almost impossible! Most species of fleas are tan to reddish-brown in color. They have a very strong outer shell covering their body called an exoskeleton which makes it difficult for us to crush them between our fingers. Oftentimes the flea jumps away unscathed.
COMMON FLEA SPECIES
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Fleas infesting your home, your yard or your pets can be very unsettling and difficult to eliminate. Some pets are very sensitive to flea bites causing them to bite and scratch almost uncontrollably, which can lead to skin irritations, sores and loss of hair – not to mention the emotional trauma the pet goes through.
If you suspect that any type of flea may be invading your home, call a pest control professional to schedule an inspection and help you develop a plan to solve the problem.