Fleas are a common problem in homes with pets, and can also infest your house if you have direct contact with an infected animal. In the US alone it is estimated that 25% of households have a dog or cat that has a flea infestation at any given time.
While this may not be a problem for many, fleas can be dangerous to pets and humans. If your pet is scratching, biting or licking itself excessively it could be a sign of an ongoing flea infestation. If left untreated, these parasites can cause skin irritation and lead to secondary infections and infection with tapeworms. In some cases, animals may have an allergic reaction from the saliva from the parasite which can leave red itchy patches on their skin.
Fleas are also known as blood-sucking ectoparasites that feed on warm-blooded hosts by piercing small incisions in their skin for a meal of fresh blood. This food source is essential for the eggs to develop normally. The female adult will lay eggs after feeding on blood, these eggs will fall from the dog or cat onto your floor, furniture and carpet where they can easily be transported back to an animal's fur.
This is where the 6 most common facts about flea larvae come into play; knowing these important tidbits can aid in killing this threat effectively:
- Flea larvae are the offspring of fleas
- Flea larvae will feed on any small blood meal they can find, including their own siblings
- The average life span of a flea larva is about two weeks
- Larvae have six legs that are used for movement and climbing
- Larvae don't have eyes or wings but do have antennae to sense things around them
- When ready, the larva spins a cocoon around themselves before changing into an adult flea
1. Prevention is key when dealing with Flea Larvae
The most effective way to rid your home of this problem is by preventing it from occurring in the first place. Begin treatment by taking steps to reduce areas in your house where fleas are likely to thrive (ex., To prevent further infestation, you must get rid of carpeting). Vacuum your floors frequently. When you are finished vacuuming, remove the bag immediately to prevent eggs from hatching inside it. Steam cleaning carpets is another great way to kill eggs, larvae and adult fleas. Also, wash pet bedding often in hot water to help eliminate this problem.
2 . They Love Heat and Humidity
Larvae are most commonly found in places with an environment with average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit with at least 60% humidity, so they thrive in areas where there are no changes in environmental conditions. Take precautions to inspect your animals for dirt and eggs around the ears, groin and chin areas. It is very important that you help by grooming your animal daily. Work especially hard at ridding them of fleas in these problem areas as this is where they do most of their damage by laying eggs.
3 . They Can't Survive Without Food For More Than 2 Weeks
This may seem like good news, but remember that means they are likely to feed on your pet again if not treated. How do you kill these little suckers? The most common treatment is an insecticide available in liquids, powders and sprays that are applied carefully to the pet's skin between the shoulder blades. This is particularly effective during hot weather or when you have more than one pet.
4 . Flea Larvae Cannot Jump Or Fly
What they lack in mobility, they make up in numbers, so be sure you treat all areas of your home where pets spend time. A pest control professional will help identify problem areas and how best to protect them.
5 . They Are Nearly Invisible Under Magnification
Fleas can infest any part of your pet, their bedding and your house. Prevention is the best way to deal with this problem, but taking steps at home to kill larvae can help rid your pet of fleas in ways you might not expect. Keeping your pet from grooming itself excessively can prevent it from ingesting eggs or larvae from its fur.
6 . They Prefer To Stick Close To Your Pet's Body
In most cases, adult fleas will stay on a dog or cat in order to feed on them for a blood source if there is no other host in the area because they cannot jump very far. Many dogs may leave their owners' homes to explore new territory, going into another room or under a bed where they may pick up an infestation without having any contact with other animals.
How To Eliminate Flea Larvae?
The best products used to kill Flea Larvae are Insect Growth Regulators (IGR's)
These chemicals disrupt the life cycle of insects, preventing them from reaching maturity which will prevent reproduction if applied directly to larvae. This treatment works best when also using an IGR spray on pets until they are completely rid of all stages of the life cycle. Be sure to treat all pets in the household- even indoor cats can be carriers of fleas.
Pet Areas MUST be treated at every phase in the life cycle
Treating these areas with insecticides is best accomplished when treating with combination products that contain an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) and Adulticide that will kill adult insects. Products that only contain an Adulticide are not effective because they do not treat where the problem exists-the eggs, larvae, pupae and dormant adults inside your carpeting, floor coverings and upholstery.
Ridding Your Home of Carpeting is Imperative to Successful Flea Larvae Treatment
Most experts agree that if you have a carpeted home or one with hardwood floors it is necessary to remove all of the floors covering. This, however, is not always possible; if you cannot afford to replace it you can increase your chances of successfully eliminating these bugs by using products that contain Pyrethroids (a synthetic chemical similar in structure and activity to natural pyrethrins). Make sure that any or all products used for killing fleas or their larvae are labelled as safe to use for pets; this will greatly reduce the risk of illness.
Flea Larvae Hibernate
During winter months when there is no food available, these insects go dormant before finding another host. To rid your home completely during the colder months-when these parasites are hibernating-it is important to maintain high heat and humidity. This will encourage them to leave your home in search of another warmblood source.
Flea larvae are a pain to deal with, but there are some natural ways you can get rid of them. If you want the fastest and most effective way to kill fleas, we recommend using our eco-friendly pest control service.
Read more: Fleas on Dogs: What Should Owners Do?