Bullet Fleas

Fleas are biting and disease-carrying ectoparasites of warm-blooded animals, including man. They attack and feed upon our pets and livestock, chickens, wild rodents, and transmit diseases such as bubonic plague, typhus, and intestinal worms to us. There are several different species of fleas:

1. Cat flea; the most common, bites as soon as it hops onto the host

2. Dog flea; second most common, also immediate biter

3. Human flea; severe pest in some areas, bites mostly around waist and abdomen

4. Oriental rat flea; primary vector of bubonic plague

5. Ground squirrel flea, wood rat flea, and chipmunk flea; are of more limited range and importance

Their differences are primarily in minute physical variances. All will feed on any warm-blooded animal, all have a complete life cycle, and all may infest man's structures as well as the outdoors. Proper identification of the particular species is not of great importance unless the infestation is resistant to normal control.

EGGS: the small; soft eggs are laid on the animal and are easily shaken off to the ground or nest of the host.

LARVAE : the 1/8 to 1/4 inch long larvae hatch out in about two days to a few weeks; the larvae is very active and worm-like with a hairy body; they feed on organic matter and the fecal material of the adult.

PUPAE: the larvae spins: itself into a silken cocoon that is quite sticky, so bits of its surroundings-are blended in for camouflage; in about a week the adult emerges; if conditions are not favorable, the pupae will stay cocooned for up to six months before emergence.

ADULT: a few hours after emergence, the adult is ready to have a blood meal and mate; fertile eggs are not produced without a blood meal; the adult typically lives for a few weeks to several months and is wingless.

Control:

Besides the necessity for professional pest control, as a homeowner you can reduce the pest population by:

1. Sanitation in animal areas to clean up accumulated waste and other organic debris.

2. Remove high grass and similar conditions attractive to wild rodents.

3. Regular vacuuming of rugs help control eggs, larvae, and pupae indoors.

4. Regular light watering helps to control larvae in yard areas by drowning them.

Professional control may also include rodent elimination, rodent exclusion and decontamination.