Fleas are possibly one of the most annoying pests on the planet. These tiny creatures feed on humans and pets by biting the host and sucking their blood. Since they’re so small, they can be hard to detect until your home is overrun with an infestation. But what causes flea infestations in California? Here’s a look at what fleas are, how they operate, and what to pay attention to when it comes to infestations.
These tiny, wingless insects can cause a big headache for homeowners with and without pets. They are reddish-brown in color and measure about 1/16 of an inch in length. They live and breed on hosts. Eggs hatch into larvae which cocoon and pupate before finding a host. Fleas can live up to two years, so the cycle can be repeated over and over. The most common flea species in Northern California is the Reddish-Brown Cat Flea (Centocephalides Felis), which lives on both cats and dogs.
The only priorities of fleas are to feed and breed. Their lives are spent on a host eating and reproducing. Female fleas can lay more than 25 eggs a day and take in up to 30 times her body weight in blood daily. Once eggs are laid, they can transfer onto surfaces where you or your pet live. They take up residence in places like carpeting, furniture, dirty laundry, and more. They then hatch and wiggle into the fibers of these places feeding on organic matter as they can. Larvae spin a cocoon and pupate where they’ll stay until a host is available. At that point, they jump up to eight feet onto the host to feed and repeat the cycle.
Fleas love warm weather, so many parts of California are home to these pesky pests year round. Even during colder temperatures, fleas never truly go away, they are simply dormant. Preventing fleas or quickly dealing with infestations is important because you may be living with these pests without even realizing it.
Infestations and Dangers
While fleas don’t pose a direct health threat to humans, their bites can cause itchy welts that may lead to an infection. Additionally, an infestation can exacerbate allergies and respiratory illnesses. Fleas can also wreak havoc on pets. From allergic reactions to tapeworms caused by ingestion, these pests can be dangerous for our four-legged friends.
Infestations can happen quickly. Since fleas reproduce rapidly, a single flea can turn into an infestation before you even realize it. Treating pets with a preventative is key, but even then you may still become a victim of a flea infestation. There are some blatant signs that your home has developed a flea infestation, including:
- Dot-like insects in your pet’s fur
- Seeing fleas hopping around
- Black or brown debris in your pet’s coat (this is flea excrement)
- Pets scratching or licking excessively
If you see any of these things in your home, you’ve got an infestation and need to call in professional help immediately.
Avoiding flea infestations is the best way to handle them, however, it can happen despite your best efforts. Discovering you have a flea infestation can be terrifying. It’s well-known that fleas are hard to get rid of, but there are steps you can take to try and avoid an infestation. Fleas thrive in environments where they can hide and jump onto hosts. Doing things like vacuuming frequently and maintaining your lawn can remove debris where fleas like to hide while waiting for a host.
If you’ve discovered fleas on your pet or in your home, it’s likely already time to bring in professional help. AAI Pest Control has a proven five-step process to evaluate, target, and attack pest problems. Don’t let fleas take over your home. Contact us today to find out more about our residential pest control services.
What Causes Flea Infestations in California? Professional Pest Control Services in Tracy CA