Fleas are a particularly irritating year-round pest in areas like southern California and the desert southwest. This is because warm weather does not kill off the insect altogether. Fleas are native to dirt, and they come inside our homes on the fur and skin of our beloved pets. Fleas are difficult to get rid of because of their prolific birth rates and their ease of surviving in the carpets and bedding of our homes.
Fleas lay eggs which can jarred loose from your pet into your carpet. Flea eggs and larvae may reside comfortably in any soft cloth-based environment of your home. Each adult flea may lay up to four dozen eggs per day.
Your cat or dog's intense scratching may be a sign that fleas may have set up in your pet's fur or in or near your home. The animal may have areas where the fur has been rubbed off due to severe irritation. Inflamed bumps on your skin or your pet's skin may indicate fleas in your home. Severe infections may occur as a result of contamination of the flea bite.
Adult fleas live off of the skin and blood of you and your pet. You will therefore find adult fleas on living creatures. Flea larvae, however, can survive on the spilled blood collected by adult fleas as well as adult flea excrement. Therefore, flea eggs and flea larvae will be found in the carpets and bedding of your home, as well as the surrounding lawn and garden.
When fleas turn into the adult form during the life cycle, they may be stimulated to bite by feeling movement, which indicates that a warm blooded animal--pet or human, may be nearby. The Journal of Parasitology Research reports that fleas move towards light sources, indicating that this phenomenon might have benefit for research into future flea-extermination science.
If you live in a temperate climate, you may notice fleas more often in the spring and summer months than in fall or winter, but fleas can be present year round. The Journal of Parasitology reports some initial laboratory findings indicating that humidity and gender may play a role in flea bites: fleas tended to bite male victims more at 75 percent humidity, but conversely fed on female victims more at 95 percent humidity.
- Photo Credit Ronja 5 image by Nadine Wendt from Fotolia.com
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