Flea Identification & Prevention

External parasites, fleas are wingless insects with mouthparts that can pierce the skin and suck blood.

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Description

Fleas are tiny flightless insects, approximately 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long. They feed on blood and are red when they’ve had a blood meal. They have a flat hard body with large back legs used for jumping, and they can sometimes jump vertically up to seven inches high. They enter your home or business on pets or other animals.

Biology and Behavior

a flea on light colored pet hair
  • Fleas go through four life cycle stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. 
  • Females lay batches of eggs (usually on their host), and each batch has up to 20 eggs.
  • When a flea reaches adulthood, its goal is to seek out a blood meal and reproduce.
  • Fleas are a nuisance to their host, causing itching and sometimes allergic reactions that result in rashes.
  • You don’t have to have pets to have a flea problem. They can enter homes on bats, roof rats, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild animals. 
  • Fleas can be vectors for diseases, spreading viruses, bacteria, and rickettsial diseases to humans and other warm-blooded mammals.

Flea Prevention Tips

  • Change pet bedding regularly and vacuum areas where pets sleep often.
  • Vacuum under furniture, cushions, beds, and along walls. Once you have vacuumed an area, discard the vacuum cleaner bag at least weekly, as fleas can develop inside and re-infest your home.
  • Treat pets with veterinarian-approved flea treatments to keep your pet from bringing fleas home in the first place.
  • Do not let pets sleep on your bed or furniture.

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