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Pest Details: Fleas

Fleas reproduce at astounding rates, laying several hundred eggs which hatch and mature in under 14 days, each new flea ready to reproduce hundreds more. They enter your house on pets and lay their eggs in carpeting, bedding, and upholstered furniture. Since they must feed on blood to survive, hungry fleas can make life miserable for you and your pets, causing itching and swelling wherever they bite.

Of the approximately 2,000 recorded flea species, the most commonly found is the cat flea. These fleas are attracted to homes with domestic pets. Cat fleas infest a variety of animals and are not only found on cats.

Cat fleas develop through the egg, larval and pupal stages before emerging as adults. This process can be complete in 30 days, although environmental conditions may cause the development cycle of the cat flea to stretch over one year. Females can produce one egg an hour. Eggs are oval-shaped and usually fall from the host animalís fur to the ground, remaining there until they hatch into larvae. Larvae then become pupae and eventually mature into adult cat fleas. Adult cat fleas live on their hosts, consuming their blood in order to reproduce.

While their bites cause little damage in small numbers, cat fleas can transmit murine typhus to humans. Cat fleas are also intermediate hosts of dog tapeworm. Some hosts develop allergic reactions to flea bites, resulting in flea allergy dermatitis. If the infestation is severe and the host is particularly small, the animal may become anemic.



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