Flea Extermination and Control
Fleas are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They are notorious public health pests and are known vectors of several serious diseases. ALLGone Services provides high-quality flea control services throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth Metropolitan area and all of North Texas.
Flea Biology and Public Health Significance
Fleas are parasitic insects that belong to the taxonomical order Siphonaptera, which encompasses about 2,380 species in several families, subfamilies, and genera. They are very tiny insects whose bodies are narrower than they are tall, and who have very powerful legs adapted to jumping. In fact, if we could jump as well as fleas can, we really would be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound.
Fleas undergo complete metamorphosis. Female fleas lay eggs in areas frequented by suitable hosts (or sometimes on the host animals themselves). Those eggs hatch into larvae, which feed mainly on organic debris and the feces of adult fleas. After a few weeks, the larvae spin cocoons and go into pupation, emerging when they sense the presence of suitable host animals.
Depending on the exact specie, fleas may sense the presence of a host by detecting heat, carbon dioxide, the pheromones and other scents peculiar to their preferred hosts, or a combination of these factors.
A flea’s pupation period can take several week to many months, and fully-developed adult fleas can remain alive in their cocoons without feeding for as long as a year waiting for a suitable host. In homes that are only used seasonally, such as summer homes, it’s common for pupating fleas to emerge to feed en masse as soon as people and/or their pets walk in the door after a long period of the house being empty.
Fleas Found in Texas and their Public Health Importance
There are many species of fleas found in Texas, but the three species that most commonly come to the attention of Texas pest control operators are the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis), the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), and the human flea (Pulex irritans).
Although named for their preferred hosts, these fleas aren’t too picky. They’ll feed upon any warm-blooded animal that’s handy — including people. Another notorious flea found in Texas is the Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis), which is the primary vector of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague. Rats and their fleas have been responsible for countless millions of deaths throughout history.
In addition to plague, fleas are involved in the transmission of several other serious conditions including murine typhus and fleabite dermatitis. Fleas also are involved in the transmission of tapeworms. Most tapeworm infestations result when a person or pet ingests a flea that is carrying a tapeworm. In the case of humans (and especially children), this usually occurs while the person is playing with a pet that has fleas.
Even if a flea isn’t carrying tapeworms or disease-causing pathogens, flea bites can cause nasty rashes that can be quite severe in people who are sensitive to insect bites. These rashes can also become infected, especially if the affected person scratches at the rash and breaks the skin.
Effective Flea Control
Fleas are very hard to control because of their tiny size, their general hardiness, the way they feed (because they draw blood, they don’t handle their food, which means they don’t readily ingest insecticides), and the fact that they spend long periods of time hitch-hiking from place to place on animals. Even seasoned pest management professionals consider flea extermination to be challenging work.
Nonetheless, we usually can completely eliminate fleas from your home in one visit — if you do your part, as well. Effective flea control is a partnership between the pest control operator and the customer. Prior to your flea control appointment, please follow the following steps to help insure that the treatment will be effective. (You can download a printable version of the flea control checklist that appears below here for your convenience.)
- Clear all floor surfaces, including any items on closet floors, under beds, and under furniture, to give the technician unobstructed access.
- As closely as possible before the treatment, thoroughly vacuum your carpets, rugs, drapes and upholstered furniture. If you were thinking about shampooing your carpets and/or furniture, this would be a good time to do that, too. (Just make sure to do it in time for it to be dry by the day of the flea treatment.)
- Vacuum wood and tile floors with special attention to grooves and cracks, and then mop them afterwards.
- Vacuum and/or mop basement and garage floors.
- Seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it outside, and thoroughly rinse out any mops that you used. (Fleas can hide in them!)
- Clean or dispose of your pet’s bedding on the day of the treatment.
- Remove all human and animal bedding on the day of the treatment, and wash it in detergent and the hottest water the fabrics can stand.
- If we will be treating outside your home, mow the lawn and clear it of toys and other items, especially in and around the doghouse or other areas that your pets frequent.
- Right before the treatment, cover fish aquariums and turn off the air pumps.
- Arrange for any pets to be treated by a vet or a pet groomer at the same time that we’ll be treating your home. Usually, you (and your pets) will be able to re-enter the home in three to four hours.
Please call us at 817-589-1632 for more information about flea control, or about any of our quality pest control services.
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