Biology and Life Habits
Fleas are troublesome pests that are found throughout Canada in homes and lawns in the summer months. Several species of fleas attack mammals and birds but the most common ones are the Dog and Cat fleas.
The adults are small, wingless insects with hard dark brown/black colored bodies. Both males and females bite and suck blood. The female lays her eggs loosely among the hairs or feathers of the host, where eventually they will fall off and the spiny larvae emerge.
The larvae will feed on dead skin and dried blood that has collected in crevices in flooring, along baseboards, under edges of rugs, between upholstered cushions and around heating registers.
The adults can live for several months without food and are easily carried from one location to the next in pet bedding, cuffs of pants or used furniture.
Questions and Answers
Q. Where do you find fleas?
A. Fleas are parasites, feeding on blood. They are found on the host (dog, cat, human, etc.) and in various household cracks and crevices where they shelter after feeding.
Q. Are fleas hazardous to humans?
A. Yes. Due to their numbers and world-wide distribution, fleas are a serious health hazard. They have been known to transmit diseases including the bubonic plague which is transmitted to humans from fleas living on rats. Since the reaction to a flea bite is allergic in nature, itching can be intense. Secondary infections can be caused by scratching, especially in children. The presence of a flea infestations should not be tolerated.
Q. What causes fleas to bite?
A. Fleas feed on blood and are attracted by the host’s exhaled carbon dioxide and body heat. In the case of human flea, bites can be numerous because of interrupted feedings.
Q. What causes a flea infestation?
A. Fleas hop from host to host, so even a brief encounter can cause you or your pet to become a host. Stray animals sleeping on porches or window sills can start an infestation. Once they enter the home, fleas spread rapidly.
Q. Do fleas die off in cold months?
A. Yes. Outdoor infestations die off, however, once established inside the home, fleas are active year-round.
Q. Can I do anything to prevent a flea infestation?
A. Yes. The use of a quality flea shampoo on your pet during the peak summer season will help prevent an infestation.
Preparation Guidelines for Flea Treatment
1. Arrange to have your pet(s) professionally treated for fleas while the premises are being treated.
2. Vacuum all rugs, carpet, and upholstered furniture. Special attention must be given to pet resting areas. Vacuum bag should be discarded immediately upon completion.
3. Mop all tile and vinyl floors.
4. Sweep all floors that cannot be mopped.
5. Clear the floor surfaces, including closets, of toys, papers, loose articles etc.
6. Remove and clean or dispose of all pet bedding.
7. Vacate the premises during service and do not re-enter until at least 4 hours after treatments. Open window for 20 minutes after re-entry if possible.
8. Infants, pregnant woman and people suffering from heart, kidney, respiratory ailments or allergies should remain away for at least 24 hours. Place blanket on the floor in areas where an infant may play, for one week after treatment.
9. Avoid waxing or washing floor surfaces, especially edges, for at least 3 weeks after treatment and do not steam clean carpets. Vacuum as usual.
10. Expect to see adult fleas for up to 3 week after treatment.