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Understanding and Dealing With Fleas in San Antonio, TX

Humans and their pets have lived in conflict with fleas for hundreds of years. Feeding exclusively on warm blood, fleas torment animals with their bites, and they are not overly particular about whose blood they drink. While different species of the insect are associated with different mammal hosts (mainly cats, dogs, and rats), they are all just as happy to feast on humans when a dog or cat isn’t in reach. Unfortunately for residents of San Antonio, fleas thrive in a warm and humid climate. Consequently, many pet owners—and their neighbors—suffer from flea infestations, especially in the spring and summer months.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are tiny insects, about the size of a dried sesame seed, and are usually black or brown in color. They belong to the order Siphonaptera, a name that describes two significant features: “siphon” refers to the tube-like proboscis that fleas use to puncture their host’s skin and draw blood, while “aptera” means “without wings.” With no power of flight, fleas move by jumping, and they can jump amazingly far for their size—up to 13 inches. If a six-foot tall person had the jumping ability of a flea, he or she could leap a distance of 295 feet. The bodies of fleas are covered with hard plates that can endure a lot of pressure. In fact, fleas are very hard to kill manually and resist the efforts of dogs and cats to scratch and bite them.

flea-cycleThe life cycle of a flea goes through four stages. The first is the egg, which the adult flea lays on the body of its host. Eggs often fall off the dog or cat, which is how fleas come to live in the house and yard. Eggs account for 50% of the flea population in a given area. Eggs hatch into larvae, a stage that lasts anywhere from four to 24 days. Larvae account for 35% of a flea population. Larvae mature into pupae, which make up 10% of the population, and they develop into adults when the temperature and humidity are just right, typically somewhere between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity between 70% and 80%. Adult fleas make up 5% of the total population. Since a flea population always consists of far more fleas than are seen on the animal, pest control efforts usually target more than one life cycle stage.

How Can I Recognize A Flea Infestation?

Flea bites can cause a lot of distress to pets. If you have a dog or cat and notice it scratching and biting itself, check for fleas. It is easiest to spot fleas on an animal’s belly where there is less fur. You can also use a very fine-toothed flea comb that will comb out fleas. You’ll see very small black shapes, almost like peppercorns, and they will jump away from you.

If you’re concerned about a flea infestation in your home or yard, you may notice bites on yourself or your family members. Flea bites are small, red bumps, usually with a red halo around the center. They don’t swell like mosquito bites do but rather stay small. They tend to show up in clusters of three or four bites and in straight lines. You are likely to notice them on your feet and ankles, around your waist, and in the bends of your elbows and knees. If you see these signs, you may need professional fleas pest control in San Antonio.

What Is Empty House Syndrome?

Many people are unaware they have a problem with fleas until they go on vacation and leave the house empty for a week or two. When fleas don’t have the blood of a cat or dog to feed on, they go into a dormant state that can last as long as two years. Since most vacations take place during the summer, the heat and humidity encourage more eggs to hatch and more fleas to develop to the pupa stage. Consequently, when the family and their dog or cat come home, they are assaulted by thousands of hungry fleas. Nowadays, there are many ways to get rid of fleas in San Antonio tx, but a hundred years ago, some families would send a sheep or goat through an empty house to collect the fleas before the humans went inside.

What Dangers Do Fleas Present To Animals And Humans?

Fleas in Texas pose many dangers to both pets and humans. Some dogs and cats are allergic to the saliva in the flea’s bite, and the intense itching causes them to bite and injure their skin. This can lead to an opportunistic bacterial infection. Fleas are also known to carry diseases. Rat fleas, for example, were responsible for spreading the bubonic plague, which killed millions of people during the Middle Ages and decimated the population of Europe. A flea-borne disease known as Murine typhus, rare since the 1940s, recently showed up in Texas, affecting 20 patients. Fleas can also carry tapeworms and Bartonella, a type of bacteria that causes several diseases.

How Can A Flea Infestation Be Treated?

There are various DIY methods to get rid of fleas, such as regularly vacuuming the area where your pet spends time. Vacuuming is a good method of killing eggs and young fleas while bathing the animal can help kill the adult fleas. However, for a serious infestation, Beeline Pest Control is the best solution to flea pest control in San Antonio Texas. Beeline recommends an integrated pest management protocol that involves treating your pet with a flea prevention medication you can get from your veterinarian and treating your house and yard with a product that will not only kill adult fleas but prevent younger fleas from developing. Beeline’s products are safe for children and animals, and the treatments completely eliminate fleas in San Antonio Texas customers’ homes.