flea up close

It usually begins with a single sighting. You may notice your cat or dog scratching excessively or acting strangely. And by acting strangely, we mean experiencing sudden shivers or shakes, indicating they are in discomfort. This odd behavior then prompts an inspection of their fur. During that check, you see a tiny black insect disappearing into your pets fur and a sense of horror washes over you. Your pet has fleas! Another way you may discover you have a flea problem may is when you start noticing bites on your legs or ankles, and this prompts you to check your pets. If you've found out you have fleas in these two ways or any other way, there are a few things you should know:

1. Fleas are very difficult to get rid of.

These parasites reproduce very rapidly. In fact, a single female can lay as many as 50 eggs in a single day! Those eggs develop into tiny larvae that, under the right conditions, will be able to survive inside a home and continue this vicious cycle. If you don't understand the conditions necessary for flea development, you could find yourself vacuuming your rugs, washing your bedding, and spraying your pets with flea products, only to still have a flea problem!

2.  Fleas don't just bite.

We all know that fleas bite. That is the primary reason we want to get rid of them when we first detect them. But those red, itchy welts aren't the only threat that these pests pose. Fleas can also act as intermediate hosts for tapeworms and other parasites. Your pet can get tapeworm if an adult flea is accidentally consumed during grooming. Humans can also get tapeworms through accidental consumption.

Fleas are vectors for murine typhus, a flea-borne disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Symptoms of murine typhus include fever, chills, loss of appetite, body pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, cough, and rash. In most cases, individuals infected with this disease will heal on their own. However, in severe cases that remain untreated, damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, or brain can occur.

If a flea is infected with the bacteria Bartonella henselae and passes it to your cat, this can result in the transmission of cat scratch fever. This illness will occur if your cat bites or scratches you, or if their saliva is introduced into an open wound or the whites of your eyes. You may also contract this disease from an infected flea. This disease is most common in the southern United States, and among children ages 5 to 9. Individuals at risk of severe illness from this disease are those who have cancer, HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or have recently had an organ transplant. Cats don't generally show symptoms of carrying this bacterium. Common symptoms in humans include swollen lymph nodes or blisters near the bite or scratch, headaches, fatigue, fever, and body aches.

Understanding Fleas

When fleas hatch from their eggs, they aren't immediately a threat. You might see them jumping around inside your home, and they may even land on your feet and legs, but they can't bite you. Those tiny larvae are searching for flea dirt. Flea dirt is the feces left by adult fleas. In the feces of adult fleas, baby fleas find the blood meals they need to develop into a cocooned pupae, and then eventually emerge as biting adult fleas. When you vacuum regularly, you remove flea dirt from your rugs, making it impossible for these larvae to find a meal. When you wash clothing and bedding, not only do you kill fleas in all stages of development, you eliminate flea dirt as well. If you do this routinely and treat your pet with veterinarian-prescribed products, you might eventually win the battle against fleas. But there is an easier way!

When Is It Time To Call A Pest Control Company About Fleas?

A professional pest control company can take the drudgery out of dealing with fleas. Professionals can use effective, EPA-approved products to rid homes of active fleas quickly. If you're looking for a convenient solution to your flea problem, this is the way to go!

This is also the best choice if there is a risk of disease. When symptoms of murine typhus, cat scratch fever, tapeworms, or some other flea-related illness appears, those fleas need to go fast! At Russell’s Pest Control, we can help with that.

For quick relief from flea infestations in Knoxville Tennessee and the surrounding area, start here.

 

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