CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Bodies are laterally flattened, very thin profile
  • Tiny bristles projecting backwards from the head
  • Adult fleas are about 1/8 inch long
  • Wingless
  • 3 pairs of legs with the hind legs modified for jumping
  • Larval stage of flea looks like a small, white worm with a dark colored head
  • Adults suck blood from animals, usually mammals

EFFECTS OF FLEA ACTIVITY ON HUMANS AND ANIMALS:

  • They are a nuisance to the host and can cause an itching sensation
  • Some people or animals may suffer from allergic reactions to flea saliva and may result in rashes
  • Can result in a swollen, itching spot
  • Can also lead to hair loss in animals from constant scratching and biting
  • Fleas transmit a varietal of viral, rickettsial, and bacterial diseases to humans and animals
  • Transmits protozoans and helminthes

WHAT ATTRACTS FLEAS?

  • Hair to live in from their victim
  • Blood meals from humans or animals
  • Warm areas or hosts
  • Bright lights
  • Dirty environments
  • Warm, moist condition

PREVENTION OF FLEA BITES:

  • Use insect repellants with DEET if you are outdoors or around animals that may be infested with ticks
  • Treat pets with products that will reduce or eliminate fleas
  • Clean the house and vacuum frequently
  • Wash base of carpets and loose material in soap and warm water
  • Clean all bedding and clothing often if there is an infestation of fleas
  • Use air conditioners and humidifiers

TREATMENT OF FLEA BITES:

  • Wash bitten area with warm and soapy water, apply an icepack to reduce the swelling
  • Ask doctor or pharmacist about antihistamines for severe itching
  • Avoid scratching to break skin and increase the risk of infections