Cat and Dog Fleas Control in New Jersey

What are fleas?

fleas dogLooking for pest control services to tackle fleas on your property? There's a variety of flea species out there, with over 2,000 described types. However, the most common one found in domestic settings across the United States, especially in New Jersey, is the cat flea. If your furry friend is dealing with fleas, chances are it's the cat flea causing the trouble.

These cat fleas aren't picky about their hosts. They'll happily feast on dogs, cats, and even humans if given the chance. Unlike some other flea species, adult cat fleas prefer to stay put on their host, where they feed, mate, and lay eggs.

Now, there's also the dog flea, which is similar to the cat flea but typically found in Europe, with rare sightings in the United States. Despite their names, these fleas aren't exclusively tied to their supposed favorite hosts. In reality, both species can infest a range of animals, from chickens and rats to opossums and foxes.

Considering the nuisance and potential health risks associated with flea infestations, it's crucial to address the problem promptly. Professional pest control services can help identify the type of fleas infesting your property and implement effective eradication methods to ensure a flea-free environment for you and your pets.

Fleas live off blood and transmit diseases.

If you're seeking pest control services for your property, understanding the nuisances and potential dangers of fleas is crucial. Fleas are pesky external parasites that thrive by feeding on the blood of mammals and birds, including humans, dogs, and cats. Their presence not only causes discomfort through severe itching reactions but can also lead to significant health issues.

Pets infested with fleas often exhibit distressing behaviors such as constant biting, pecking, and scratching in attempts to rid themselves of these pests. This can result in irritated, red, and raw skin, leading to hair loss and, in severe cases, even anemia. Moreover, both pets and humans can suffer from allergic reactions to flea saliva, known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).

Beyond being a mere annoyance, fleas also pose health risks as disease vectors, similar to ticks and mosquitoes. They can transmit various diseases by transferring infected blood from one host to another.

Given the potential health implications and the challenges of effective flea removal, enlisting professional pest control services is vital. Experts can identify the extent of infestation, implement targeted treatments, and offer guidance on preventive measures to safeguard your property and the well-being of your family and pets.

What diseases do fleas transmit?

Fleas aren't just pesky biters; they can also transmit a range of diseases, including viral, bacterial, and rickettsial infections, as well as protozoans. Of particular concern is the cat flea's ability to transfer tapeworms from dogs and cats to humans, especially children. Additionally, fleas have played a significant role in some of history's worst epidemics. The bubonic plague, for example, was spread by fleas carrying infected blood from rodents to humans.

While the thought of these diseases is unsettling, it's essential to note that heartworm disease, a severe condition in pets, is transmitted by mosquitoes rather than fleas. However, this doesn't diminish the importance of addressing flea infestations promptly.

By enlisting professional pest control services, you can effectively tackle flea problems on your property, minimizing the risks to your family and pets. Experts can implement targeted treatments to eliminate fleas and provide guidance on preventive measures to maintain a flea-free environment.

How can you identify a flea?

fleaWhen it comes to identifying fleas, their small size can make it challenging to discern their characteristics without the aid of a microscope. These tiny insects typically measure no more than 1/8 inch in length. Up close, fleas appear reddish-brown and wingless, with specialized mouthparts designed for piercing the skin and extracting blood. Interestingly, a female flea can consume up to 15 times her own body weight in blood daily, highlighting their voracious feeding habits.

One distinctive feature of fleas is their laterally compressed bodies, giving them a flattened appearance that allows them to navigate easily between the fur or feathers of their mammal or bird hosts. This flattened shape also contributes to their agility, making them adept at moving within their environment.

Furthermore, fleas possess robust structures such as "thorns" and hooks on their head and thorax, aiding them in staying firmly attached to their host.

Understanding these physical attributes of fleas can be helpful when assessing a pest control service's ability to effectively identify and eradicate flea infestations from your property. Professionals equipped with this knowledge can implement targeted strategies to address the specific challenges posed by these resilient pests.

What is the lifecycle of a flea?

Fleas are prolific breeders. Female cat fleas can lay about 20-50 eggs per day. Over her lifetime just one female flea can lay 2,000 eggs. One flea can multiply to 1,000 fleas in just 21 days. The eggs are pearly white, oval and about 1/32 of an inch long. They are smooth and fall from the host, landing on surfaces such as bedding and carpeting where the animal tends to rest or sleep. The eggs hatch in 2-5 days.

The flea larvae are 3/16 of an inch long and wormlike with a distinct brownish head but no eyes or legs. The larvae feed on dried blood and excrement adult fleas produce while feeding on the pet. Flea larvae shortly build cocoons in which they pupate and develop into adults. The larvae develop more quickly at higher temperatures during the spring and early summer. At cool temperatures, fully formed fleas can remain in their cocoons for a year.

What are the characteristics of a flea?

Fleas are resilient creatures with amazing physical attributes for their size. Its powerful legs can shoot it seven or eight inches up in the air and fourteen inches sideways, a distance that measures 150 times their own size. They can lie dormant in all life stages; in lab studies, it appears that a flea can even be frozen for a considerable time and then thaw out as good as new. These resilient creatures are found on every continent including Antarctica and on virtually every bird and mammal. Fleas are found on polar bears and even on the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale, in their baleen plates that are used to filter food from water.

You don’t have to have a pet to have a flea infestations

Any structure can have a flea infestation. There is a misconception that only homes with pets can have flea problems. We have treated many infestations in homes without pets and even in commercial buildings. How do fleas get inside? Just like pets bring in fleas from the outside so can people. And fleas can be deposited outside the structure by feral cats living around and under the building as well as birds and other outdoor animals. If wild animals or birds enter your property, you are at risk for fleas. Humans can’t help but track in a flea or two as we come and go. In fact, if there is an inhabited structure, it is almost inevitable that there is some low-level flea activity; it’s just that a low background population of fleas doesn’t bother us. It’s when the population gets to unacceptable levels that we start to take notice – when pets are going crazy scratching and our ankles and calves have itchy bites. When that happens, you should immediately contact a pest control expert to inspect the problem at hand.

What treatments are available?

The pet must be given a flea treatment as recommended by your veterinarian at the same time the house is being treated. It bears reminding how important flea treatments are for your dog especially during flea season when flea populations are at their highest. Today’s product innovations for flea control such as Frontline, Advantix, and others have made it possible to conveniently and safely prevent flea populations from building up on pets. These spot-on formula products are much more effective than the traditional insecticide collars, dust, shampoos, and sprays from years past. There are also systemic oral treatments to ask your veterinarian about. Preventative cat flea and dog flea control for your home starts with your pets, especially those pets that spend a lot of time outdoors.

In order to effectively control an infestation, the fleas must be removed not only from the pet but also the home. Removal of fleas from the pet is not enough. Immature fleas that have developed into adults and remain hidden in the rugs, carpeting, or outside will simply jump onto the pet and cause a re-infestation. It does help to shampoo the animal because it removes dried blood and skin flakes, which are food for the flea larvae.

For effective control, the home must also be treated, primarily in areas most frequented by your pets as the eggs and larvae are developing there. Vacuuming is important to help resolve a flea infestation, but it is not enough. Vacuuming removes only eggs and food sources from the carpet. Larvae curl up around carpet fibers and pupae stick to the carpet. It is best to restrict pet access from areas hard to treat like crowded garages and work areas in order to limit the areas to be treated. Shed and dog houses should be treated at the same time.

If you are concerned about cat fleas or dog fleas in your home, call or contact Cowleys Pest Services today for a free inspection and estimate. We offer pest control services throughout Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset, & Middlesex County, including Toms River, Brick, Bridgewater, Piscataway, Old Bridge, Middletown, Princeton Junction and the surrounding area.

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