Rhode Island Flea Control

K & A Pest Control was created to provide cost effective, results based pest control. Pest Control in not a rocket science … even though most exterminators would have you believe that. Whether it is a bed bug, cockroach, ant or a flea you loose your sleep over we can help.

Have Fleas? RI Exterminator

Flea Classification

Fleas are classified as ectoparasites ( from Greek word ecto meaning outside ) in the order Siphonaptera.  “Siphon” ( sucking mouths) part), “a”  ( without), and “ptera” (wings).   A parasite is an organism that lives on or in another organism, called the host. The host in this case provides a blood meal, many blood meals  …. The adult female flea can consume up to 15 times her body weight daily. Fleas can cause skin irritation, itching, blood loss as well as serve as a vectors in transmission of various disease, bubonic plague, marine typhus, cat scratch disease, tape worm and a flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) , the most common dermatologic disease o dogs and cats.
Adult fleas feed only on blood of warm –blooded hosts. Such host are mandatory in order for fleas to reproduce and survive. There are over 2,500 known flea species that infest mammals.  The following are the most common in U.S

  • Cat Flea
  • Dog Flea
  • Mouse Flea
  • Rabbit Flea
  • Ground Squirrel Flea
  • Northern Rat Flea
  • Squirrel Flea
  • Sticktight Flea
  • Human Flea
  • Oriental Rat Flea

All fleas can be categorized as Host Fleas or Nest Fleas. Host fleas spend its entire life on the host while nest flea remains in the host closets environment ( nest) and crawl onto host only to feed. Nest leas are typically rodent and bird fleas, taking advantage of hosts that have nests and return to them to sleep. Nest fleas are poor jumpers, moving around by crawling. Host fleas, on the other hand, have well developed jumping legs.

Health Significance of Fleas

Because fleas feed on blood , they have medical and veterinary importance because of irritation from their bites and their role in transmitting disease. The Oriental Rat Flea is the primary vector in bubonic plague and Maurine Typhus, while Cat Flea and Dog Flea are intermediate hosts of tapeworms that occasionally affect humans.
The Cat Flea is the most common, mainly because it is not very host specific. It can be found literally on over 90% of the fleas found on pets as well as feral dogs and cats.

Cat Flea Development

Egg. The cat flea egg is oval (0.5 mm length ) and pearly white. Female fleas lay eggs, about one per hour, while on the host. The eggs are quite smooth and slick and soon fall down in host’s immediate environment.  Typically, eggs will hatch in one to six days.
Larva.  They resemble maggots, except for chitinized head and a single row of hair around each body segment. Larva is very sensitive to low humidity and will not survive if relative humidity drops below 50%.

Pupa.  The mature larva transforms into a prepupa by secreting silk and spinning a cocoon in which it will remain during this stage. The sticky cocoon will adhere carpet fibers and other small particles which will camouflage it. This stage presents the most challenge to pest control operators for two reasons.  One, this stage can vary greatly in duration, from five days to a number of months. Two, the pesticides sprayed by a pest control operator might not penetrate the cocoon , since the it is often spun deep in the carpet, hence, the pupa will not have any contact with it.  Some experts also believe that it is actually the impermeable, protective qualities of cocoon not so much the location of it that offers the keeps pupa safe from pesticides. The pupa must be stimulated to believe a host is near by in order to emerge.
Adult.   Once the flea emerges from the cocoon it must find a host and feed within few weeks or otherwise it will die. As the flea emerges from the cocoon, it turns toward the host and leaps forward hoping to fall on the new host. Other that leap, fleas do not spend much time hopping around in their environment.

Female flea

Can produce an average 24 eggs per day, equivalent to producing her body weight in eggs daily. It is easy to see how population can reach massive proportions. Furthermore, emerging flea will be drown to the host which will might create an impression of even larger infestation.  Female as well as male flea consume more blood than is required for their nutrition. The excess is excreted as reddish-black fecal pellets or “fleas dirt”. This material will serve as an essential food for the developing larvae.

Controlling Fleas Infestation

The first step is managing flea infestation is a positive identification of the flea specie. Without it the pest biology, behavior and suppression strategies can not be very effective. Once the specie is identified the source must be determined and located. This is one of the more challenging aspects of the entire treatment. A cat flea could be hosted by opossum or a cat nesting at the property. Developing an IPM based treatment  strategy and population assessment technique is essential in assuring a successful flea elimination.