The Dangers of fleas cannot be overestimated, and they have a very dark – past history. One of the deadliest diseases in human history happened in the 13th century – millions of people died all over Europe. It all started when several ships from the Black Sea came into port in Europe. Shockingly, the crew were dead and were rotting – covered in black marks all over their body, which was literally decaying. This disease was known as the “Black Death” — Bubonic plague as it is known in the modern day, and was the cause of millions of deaths in Europe in 1347. The plague was caused by fleas which were a parasitic vector and those fleas inhabited the rodents aboard the ships. The fleas were then spread from Rats to human hosts when the flea fed on the blood of the host. The flea, next to the mosquito is one of the deadliest vectors on the planet.
The Plague Is Still A Threat
Most people in the modern day, consider ‘The Plague’ to be only myth and folklore from the past. Unfortunately, the reality is very different. The Black Death is still around and even within the shores of the United States. In 2021, a case of the plague has already been investigated, and whilst modern science and medicine – can deal with the problem, It is still a killer that comes from the flea. Consequently, your pets could be harboring this pest without knowledge.
Fleas are very small insects; they are parasites that measure about a quarter of an inch. They have no wings, but their long hind legs are made for jumping, and they jump from host to host looking for a blood meal. If you have a pet such as a cat or a dog, then you will no doubt have come across fleas. They can spread fast and can become a serious problem in your home within days. It is important that you act swiftly when dealing with a flea infestation in your home.
What are fleas?
Fleas are external parasites and live on mammals and birds where they feed on the blood of the host. They survive by devouring blood from their hosts, a process known as hematophagy. There are three main type of flea that we need to be aware of;
- Cat Flea
- Dog Flea
- Human Flea
Cast your mind back to the days of superheroes that could leap tall buildings in a single bound, and you will get an idea of the kind of super prowess of flea behavior. Unlike other parasitic insects that have wings looking for a host, fleas jump between hosts when they can – in order to feed.
Fleas, which are on average 1/6 to 1/8 inch long, can jump up to seven inches vertically over a distance of more than one foot. For a 6-foot tall person, this is equivalent to jumping 160 feet high and 295 feet long.
Fleas have developed legs, but they not only rely on muscle strength to jump, but they also accumulate a protein called elastin in a part of the body called the pleural arch. This highly elastic material can be prepared and used as a spring for these incredible jumps.
They replicate quickly and can become a serious problem in the home. Not to mention, they are deadly vectors.
The Dangers of fleas (to people, pets or homes)
There are several dangers of fleas that you should know about. Fleas can transmit seriously dangerous diseases and transmit the parasites during their blood feast on the host. It is unusual in the modern day to encounter seriously deadly diseases from the insect world, but the flea is one vector that can and is just as deadly as the mosquito. Both humans and non-human animals are at risk of being bitten by fleas, which can cause itching and pain. Should you be unfortunate to be bitten be fleas, you could encounter the following diseases.
You can be affected with the following disease
- Bubonic Plague
- Murine Typhus
We mentioned before about the resurgence of the Bubonic Plague, once thought totally extinct and no longer a threat — has reared its ugly head with several cases being registered each year in the US.
The flea that carries the plague is normally already infested in rodents. The flea feeds, and then the rodent spreads the flea as the eggs drop to the ground as the rodent moves. Your pet may then pass the area and the vibration of the pet’s movement causes the fleas to hatch. The flea then feeds on your pet as its new host and as a vector – transmits the disease.
How to deal with a Flea Infestation
Consequently, the best recommendation is to ensure your home and pets are treated for fleas. Your pet should be treated with a flea control treatment. Your home should also be treated for fleas at the first sign of any infestation. You must remember, that not all flea treatments on your pets will work as well as you think, and they could bring the fleas home to you.
Here are some handy flea control tips for your home before and after flea treatment;
Remove pets and food items from your home
- Remove all pet food that is left out
- Ask all residents to leave the home for a few hours
- Close doors and windows to seal your house
- Remove all pet bedding
- Wash it in hot water and dry at high temperature to kill fleas
- Brush the carpet and excessively vacuum it
- Throw away the vacuum bags
- Treat the surface of your private home by trimming lawns and weeds, reducing bushes, and minimizing hidden spots and sources of food for fleas.
- Keep backyard debris far from the fringe of your private home.
- Don’t leave pet food outside.
- Clean your pet before they are allowed inside.
Make sure you have taken the appropriate steps and then call in the pest experts to deal with your problem expediently. A word of caution, often DIY pest control products do not work as well as claimed. It is better to allow a pest professional to treat your home and to monitor the infestation.
A Note To Remember About The Potential Of Flea Infestations
You must remember that dangerous diseases are spread from vector to human. Your loving pets could harbor these vectors and so it is imperative you take adequate precautions to deal with pests that infest your home.