Common household fleas don't usually transmit diseases to pets and people. The tiny insects are mainly "just a nuisance," says Marcia Larkins, D.V.M., chief of the companion and wildlife drugs branch in the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "They generally cause a lot of itching and scratching. They may also cause some discomfort due to possible allergic flea bite dermatitis."
Ticks, those other dreaded bloodsuckers, pose a greater risk, annually giving pets and thousands of people illnesses such as Lyme disease.
There are new oral products that interrupt the flea's life cycle, a Lyme disease vaccine for dogs, and a pesticide product that mimics mouse nesting material to reduce ticks outdoors. Many customers take the pet to the Vet and then call Bugs R Gone to clean up the house so the pet returns to a pest free home.
Common types of fleas:
Fleas are very important pests in Ohio, especially during the months of July through October, but sometimes persist all year when indoors.
Adult fleas are not only a nuisance to humans and their pets, but can cause medical problems including flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, secondary skin irritations and, in extreme cases, anemia.
Although bites are rarely felt, it is the resulting irritation caused by the flea salivary secretions that varies among individuals. Most bites usually found on the ankles and legs may cause pain lasting a few minutes, hours or days depending on one's sensitivity. The typical reaction to the bite is the formation of a small, hard, red, slightly-raised (swollen) itching spot. There is a single puncture point in the center of each spot. (Ants and spiders leave two marks when they bite. Mosquitoes, bees, wasps and bedbugs cause a large swelling or welt).
Also, some pets are extremely allergic to flea bites. In these pets, fleas may cause a rash, inflammation, and hair loss. In response, cats may compulsively overgroom.
Washing the pet's bedding regularly and vacuuming frequently also helps keep the flea population down. The vacuum bag should be changed after vacuuming and the used one burned, if possible, to prevent it from serving as a flea incubator. Cats who don't go outside have the least risk of getting fleas.
Size: Tiny reddish brown insects measuring about 1/6-inch in length and are laterally flattened. Their flat shape allows cat fleas to easily pass between the hairs of animals. The cat flea is the species involved in most home infestations and will attack both cats and dogs. It is usually carried into the home by a pet. Once inside, large populations can build up quickly.
One female flea can lay about 18 eggs a day and just 20 fleas on a dog can produce 360 eggs per day and over 2000 eggs in a week. After the home is treated, it may take up to two weeks or more before fleas are no longer seen. The reason for this is that flea pupae are unaffected by the treatment until the adult fleas emerge from their pupal cocoon. In any flea population, all stages of the flea will be present including numerous pupae. It will take several weeks for all adult fleas to emerge from these pupae and contact the treatment. Vacuuming as often as possible after the treatment can speed up this process because it stimulates adult fleas to emerge from their cocoons.
Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. (An equivalent hop for a human would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.) They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and spines on the body projecting backward.
Fleas are ectoparasites of animals, meaning they live on the outside of the body and need to feed on the blood of these animals in order to produce eggs. Because fleas usually feed and lay their eggs while the pet is sleeping, the pet's resting areas are where the most fleas will be found. Many pets acquire fleas outside in the yard. Research has demonstrated that urban wildlife, such as raccoons and opossums, are commonly responsible for introducing these insect pests onto residential properties where the pets can encounter them.
Controlling a flea infestation successfully requires several steps:
Preparation for treatment.
Treatment of pets.
Treatment of the inside premises.
Treatment of flea activity sites outside.
Obviously, the pet is critical to minimizing flea infestations and regular grooming helps to limit fleas on the pet. For this reason, customers need to keep the pet groomed and treated with on-animal flea control products.
Step One. Any flea treatment will be less effective if the home is not prepared properly by completing the following steps:
Remove all items, such as toys, clothes, and pet food from all floors.
Remove all items from under beds and in the bottom of closets.
Wash or replace pet bedding.
Vacuum all carpets and rugs thoroughly, including beneath beds and upholstered furniture.
Clean all wood, tile, and linoleum floors by sweeping and mopping.
Clean concrete floors with soap and water in the garage,basement, or enclosed patio where pets rest or stay.
Remove all pets including birds and reptiles. Cover fish tanks with a damp towel and turn off the air pump.
Replace any pet bedding outdoors and make all shaded areas, crawl spaces, etc. available for treatment.
Arrange to be out of the home for several hours until the treatment has thoroughly dried.
Step Two. The homeowner needs to arrange for treating the pet. A number of on-animal treatment products are now available. Treatment of pets is an absolute necessity; otherwise, you are just wasting your money if the animals continue to feed the fleas.
Step Three. Call Bugs R Gone for your flea Treatment. Spraying is very thorough, so pick up or cover any itmes you do not want sprayed, such as toys, clothing, foods, etc. Spray will be aimed under furniture, under beds, in pet bedding area, on carpeting, along walls, basement, etc. You may return in several hours.
Treatment may need to be repeated in a week or so. Eggs continue to hatch after the spray application, so depending on the infestation, up to 3 treatments may be necessary.
A tick has a one-piece body. The harpoon-like barbs of its mouth attach to a host for feeding. Crablike legs and a sticky secretion help hold the tick to the host. When attempting to remove a tick, to prevent the mouth part from coming off and remaining embedded in the skin, grasp the mouth close to the skin with tweezers and pull gently.
Ticks are not insects like fleas, but arachnids like mites, spiders and scorpions. They have a four-stage life cycle: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. Adult females of some species lay about 100 eggs at a time. Others lay 3,000 to 6,000 eggs per batch. Six-legged larvae hatch from the eggs. After at least one blood meal, the larvae molt into eight-legged nymphs--in some species, more than once. Final nymphs molt into adult males or females, also with eight legs. Depending on its species, a tick may take less than a year or up to several years to go through its four-stage life cycle. While ticks need a blood meal at each stage after hatching, some species can survive years without feeding.
The United States has about 200 tick species. Habitats include woods, beach grass, lawns, forests, and even urban areas.
Ticks may carry various infectious organisms that can transmit diseases to cats and dogs, including the following (listed with possible symptoms):
- babesiosis--lethargy, appetite loss, weakness, pale gums
- ehrlichiosis--high fever, muscle aches
- Lyme disease--lameness, swollen joints, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, and vomiting (some infected animals show no symptoms)
- tick paralysis in dogs--gradual paralysis, seen first as an unsteady gait from uncoordinated back legs (some infected dogs don't develop paralysis).
TO CONTROL TICKS, CALL DR. BUGMAN
330-674-0371 or 330-473-2042