There is something about fleas in summer. Well, fleas anytime of the year in Florida are more than just a nuisance. They can endanger the health of your family as well as your pets.
Here’s the low-down on the tiny flea– what they are and a few “fun” facts that might give you the itch to get rid of them in your home!!
Facts About Fleas
Size: 1/12″ to 1/6″
Color: Dark, reddish brown
Common Name: Flea
Species: Ctenocephalides fellis
Diet: Fleas are parasites that feed on blood.
Habitat: Fleas can live on any warm-blooded animal, but seem to prefer to live on humans, cats, dogs, opossums, rats, and other rodents. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs, or blankets.
- The collective name for a group of fleas is a swarm.
- Fleas have been on this planet for approximately 100 million years.
- There are over 2,000 species and subspecies of fleas (that we know of).
- In nearly all species, the female is larger than the male.
- The world’s biggest flea is the beaver flea, which is about 11mm.
- In the continental United States, the Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is responsible for nearly all of the fleas found on both cats and dogs.
- A female flea can lay about 2,000 eggs over the course of its lifetime but is incapable of laying eggs until after its first meal.
- A female flea lays eggs within 35 to 48 hours of its first blood meal.
- Flea eggs are usually laid directly on a host, often falling off the host’s body and spreading the infestation to the surrounding environment.
- Once adults emerge from their puparium, they have approximately 7 days to find a blood meal or they die.
- 95% of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae live in beds, rugs, carpets, and sofas – not on your pet.
- Flea pupae can live for up to one year in homes.
- Flea larvae don’t like the light, so they move away from it, deep into carpets, cracks in flooring or any nook or cranny.
- A flea’s life cycle can be as short as 14 days or up to 12 months. Your average flea will have a 2- to 3-month lifespan.
- Just one flea can become 1,000 on your pet and in your home in only 21 days.
- A Flea can be frozen for up to a year and then revive itself.
- A female flea can consume 15 times its body weight (in blood) on a daily basis.
- If it doesn’t have to move around much, a flea can live anywhere between 2 months and 100 days between meals.
- Fleas are best known for spreading the Bubonic Plague and also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats.
- Fleas can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets.
- Flea bites cause painful, itchy red bumps.
The Mighty, Tiny Flea’s Behavior
- They are wingless insects that get onto hosts by jumping.
- Fleas can pull 160,000 times their own weight, which is the same as you pulling 2,679 double-decker buses.
- A flea can jump 30,000 times without stopping.
- Fleas don’t have ears and are virtually blind.
- Fleas reverse direction with every jump.
- When a flea jumps, it accelerates 50 times faster than a space shuttle.
- They can jump over 150 times their own size (approximately 30cm high) – which is like you jumping the length of a football field.
- Sand fleas are only active at dawn and dusk.
- If they were human-sized athletes participating in the long jump in the Olympics, certain fleas could break the current world record by approximately 970 feet.
Weird Human Behavior Regarding Fleas
- Flea brides and grooms (dressed, but dead) were popular collector’s items in the 1920s.
- Flea circuses originated in England in the 16th century.
- One of Britain’s oldest games can trace its origins to the flea. In approximately 15 different European languages, the word ‘tiddlywinks’ translates as ‘the game of the flea.’
How to Prevent Fleas from Invading Your Home
- Clean and vacuum frequently.
- Keep your yard clean of garbage and pet droppings.
- Protect pets by keeping them on a leash when outside, give them lots of baths, give them monthly flea and tick treatments and take them to the vet at least once a year to make sure they haven’t been infested.
If you find a flea on your cat or dog, there could be an infestation on your pets and around your home. Adult fleas are only a small percentage of the total population of a given infestation.
If you think you have fleas in your home and property, call a Heath Pest management professional!