Although small in size, fleas are a troublesome pest for many homeowners and pet owners. While most people are familiar with the basic appearance of fleas, you might be surprised to learn some of the following facts about this common pest.
#1) Females Lay Up to 500 Eggs
One of the reasons why Omaha fleas are so problematic is because of their ability to reproduce in a short period of time. A single female flea can lay up to 5000 eggs during her short lifetime of just 2-3 months.
Normally, females lay clusters of about 20 eggs shortly after eating a blood meal (they can’t lay eggs without eating first). Assuming those newly hatched larvae develop into adults, and the adult females also lay eggs, it’s easy to see just how quickly they can reproduce.
#2) Fleas Transmit the Plague
Killing an estimated 25 million people from 1347 to 1352, the bubonic plague was one of the deadliest outbreaks in history. As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the bacteria Yersinia pestis is responsible for the plague. In the past, it was widely believed that rats spread the plague. However, it’s now known that fleas living on the rats are to blame.
The CDC further explains by saying that hungry fleas often seek blood meals from humans; thus, exposing them to the Yersinia pestis bacteria. While the last outbreak of the plague in the U.S. occurred back in the mid-1920s, there have been isolated incidents in rural areas throughout the country.
#3) There are 2,525 Known Species of Fleas
Researchers have identified some 2,525 different species of fleas. Some of the most common species include the cat flea (Ctenocephalises felis), dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis), and human flea (Pulex irritans), the latter of which targets humans by borrowing in their hair and feasting on their blood.
#4) Only 5% are Adults
In a typical flea infestation, only 5% of the fleas are adults. Fleas are holometabolous insects with four stages in their life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae and adult.
So, what does this mean exactly? Well, if you see 50 adult fleas in your home, there are probably around 950 fleas in other stages of their life cycle, waiting for the right opportunity to develop — and that’s assuming the 50 you see are the only ones inhabiting your home.
#5) A Single Flea can Bite Up to 400x Per Day
There’s a reason why fleas are the bane of dogs and cats: just a single flea can bite its host up to 400x per day. Each time a flea bites, it injects a small amount of saliva into the host’s skin. Some people, and animals, are allergic to flea saliva, experiencing redness, itching and swelling shortly thereafter. Known as a flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), it’s the single most common type of dermatologic disease in dogs in the U.S.
#6) Fleas Can Jump 50x Their Body Length
Fleas are some of the most proficient jumpers in the animal kingdom. Using their hind legs, they can jump up to 50x their body length. For a typical-sized flea, that’s roughly 7 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally. Because of this evolutionary trait, fleas can easily escape a host or environment if they sense danger.
#7) Many Consumer-Grade Treatment Products Only Kill Adults
Pet owners and homeowners often struggle to fully eliminate fleas. This is because many consumer-grade flea treatment products only target adult fleas. As mentioned above, there are four stages of the flea’s life cycle. If you only kill the adult fleas, the eggs, larvae and pupae will remain.
Thankfully, pest control companies have access to stronger professional-grade treatment products that target fleas in all stages of the life cycle.
If your home is infested with fleas or any other pest, contact us today.