Fleas are harmful pests for you and your pets. This is how you can rid of them:
Fleas are wingless blood-feeding parasites surviving on birds and animals and can affect humans too. They come in contact with your pets, especially with dogs and cats as they have furry skins. Fleas may stay at your house or your outdoors and they can easily approach you and your pets. But you must be wondering, where these fleas come from? How do they approach your pets?
When you find fleas in your house, what are the steps to get rid of them? All your questions will be answered in this guide. If you wish to know about the different kinds of fleas, click here where we have thoroughly put pictures and descriptions of about 19 kinds of them.
In order to terminate these blood extracting parasites, first, you will have to know about their life cycle. Below is the picture where it is demonstrated.
The life cycle of a flea has 4 stages, egg, larva, pupa, imago or adult. The transformation may take 2 to 3 weeks or even months. Neither the male nor the female species are capable of reproducing even after they are fully matured. They need a source of protein to be capable enough to reproduce.
That is why adult fleas look for a host (your cats and dogs) to bite and suck blood from them, which is a rich source of protein. After having the first blood meal female fleas start reproducing. Once they lay eggs on the furry skins of your pets, they may remain their or fall out and camp somewhere in your home. Remember certain species of fleas may lay a thousand eggs at a time, that too within 1 to 12 days.
Pets, though how expressive they maybe cannot make you understand that they are having a skin itch. They shake their pelt, scratches their skin to get rid of the irritation of the laid eggs on their skins. The more they shake or scratch, the more eggs drop inside your house to your carpet and couches. That is how fleas are found inside the home.
The dropped eggs inside your house stay inactive for a few days. A dark and cozy corner of your house allows larvae to break the eggs and come out. Flea larvae after emerging from eggs live on readily available organic materials like dead insects, bodily wastes like dungs or excreta and rotten vegetables.
Pre-digested foods from the mother flea also help them for some time. They are approximately 3 to 5.2 mm in length. This stage lasts for 3 weeks. They wrap themselves in netting commonly known as a cocoon. After that, the larvae skin sheds and they arrive at the pupae phase.
Larvae transform to Flea pupae during their final stage. The larvae having no legs, no eyes convert into a highly developed insect who can detect warm-blooded animals on which they can nest on. They jump high and fast enough to reach the animals to feed avidly from their blood.
It takes 7 to 19 days for cocooned pupae to reach adulthood naturally. Close to being adults, fleas inside the cocoon become sensitive to thermal changes in the environment and they tend to break out from them. An almost-adult flea inside a cocoon can break and come out of it if it can sense thermal energy near it, which may be your dog or cat.
Adults jump highly on hosts on whom they acquire nutrition by sucking blood and lay eggs on their bodies. They rush for their first blood meal as they cannot survive without a host. As an emergency, they jump on any animal they find near them, which could be humans too. Fleas can stay inside the furry skin of your pet for a lifetime.
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Have you found fleas inside your house? Get rid of them immediately! If the infestation is not that serious, you can try some home remedies. Some DIY stuff could be effective and non-expensive too. Scattering harmful chemicals in and around your house can be hazardous too.
Rosemary is a natural flea repellent. Its strong scent and antiseptic flavour keeps fleas away from it. Rosemary bath for dogs is a regular flea treatment.
Look at this video and you will get to know the method:
Herbal mixtures are easy to make. Try using natural remedies like vinegar, lemon juice, and witch hazel leaf, bark or twigs to make a biological herbal spray. These ingredients are highly acidic and work as a powerful pesticide for fleas.
It becomes really difficult to reach the inner layers of carpets or deep corners of couches at your home to look for fleas. The easiest way to remove them is to suck them out from places where you can’t reach. A vacuum cleaner is a handy device in doing so. First, spread baking soda and salt on the suspected areas and keep it untouched for one night.
Use a brush, so that the mixture is spread uniformly. These 2 substances tend to dehydrate fleas, either inside eggs or at the cocoon stage. The fleas die and the vacuum cleaner on the next day sucks the dead insects out from their hiding places. Repeat the process if necessary.
Fleas are very light weighted insects. A normal adult flea weighs about 0.45mg to1.08 mg depending on whether it has had its blood meal or not. A male flea even weighs less than a female flea. Their body weight is incapable to break the surface tension of water.
That is, if fleas fall in the water, it is not possible for them to jump on to hosts and they die eventually. A useful homemade flea trap is possible by just using a bowl or a saucer, washing liquids, water and a lit candle.
The heat generated from the lit candle provides thermal energy, which the larvae sense and they break out from the cocoon. They fly towards the thermal energy source and incidentally fall into the watery solution. They get trapped in water and the washing liquid kills their exoskeletons. Place a few of these traps in your house and you get rid of them in no time.
Here is a useful video guide:
Fleas target furry animals as their hosts and the innocent pets at your house are their easy targets. Below are some methods by which you can get rid of them from your pets:
When you get to know that your pet is affected by fleas, the first thing you should do is to go to a vet. He or she might suggest some drops or serums. The commonest medicines are K9 Advantix 2 or Frontline Plus. These 2 products are not the only products available in the market but their goodwill tends the vets to recommend them. But how do they work?
Flea collars are more effective than serums or drops and are easy to apply too. Just put a collar on your pet and the job is done, especially when you are going outside your home. Effective flea collars kill fleas by releasing a safe insecticide (for the pet) as they come to contact. It works indoors too if your pet is already affected. It works for several months.
Here is a video from where you can get an idea how a flea collar works:
If your pet is really suffering from severe flea infestation, another method of killing fleas is to apply pills. It works as a quick relief for your pets. The pills are needed to be ingested by your pet, rather than applied externally. The remedy transmits to fleas when they bite into the skin of your pet. Different kind of pills contains different treatments to kill fleas.
For example: Lufenuron kill the larvae, Spinosad and Nitenpyram kill the adult fleas. If applied directly, these pills do not react on the fleas. If they are mixed with any other insecticides, they work otherwise. The basic reason to recommend these pills is to give your pet a quick temporary relief.
Obviously you give a bath to your pets. Some pets love it some run away from the water. These furry cute animals need a regular shampooing as it keeps them clean and tidy. Flea shampoos have the same feature as regular pet shampoo, only an odorless repellent (for your pet) is added as an active ingredient.
Shampoos do have insecticidal or herbal repellent which works both ways, not attracting further infestation on your pet’s skin and as well dropping off dead fleas from their bodies. New infestation might be a debatable issue regarding using flea shampoos.
Check this video to give a perfect flea-free bath to your pet:
Even a parasite can have a parasite to host on. Nematodes are microscopic multicellular worms who feed on fungi, bacteria and other nematodes living inside earth. Why are we talking about them in this article? Are they relevant? Yes, they are. These worms dig through soils and kill adult fleas, larvae, pupae and survive on their bodies.
These worms are environment-friendly and are effective at outdoors to resolve flea infestation. Once they get finished with the fleas they die and their bodies’ mix with the soil. But they actually do not solve your immediate flea problem.
You may have a pet or not, flea infestation can be a common phenomenon to your house. You may find fleas jumping in your house, despite the fact that there is no one to jump on to. But since prevention is always better than cure.
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