Fleas are parasitic insects that survive by feeding on the blood of any warm-blooded body. It is not necessarily true that you need to have a cat or dog in order to have fleas in your house. Fleas can just as easily come into a house with the homeowners or guests. They may also come inside on new carpeting or other items brought into the house. Fleas may carry diseases like Murine typhus, typhoid fever or Tularemia that can make you (as well as your pets) very sick. Your pets could also develop allergies to flea saliva. Flea infestations can be difficult to eliminate.
The most common species is the cat flea, which often feasts on cats, dogs and humans. Fleas may also be carried on other, especially hairy, animals like rabbits, foxes, rats, mice and livestock such as pigs. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments.
As parasites, the greatest concern about the presence of fleas in your home or business comes from their bites. Although these are not especially painful, they can result in an uncomfortable itch or rash.
Fleas are quite hardy, and quite mobile. A flea can easily jump as high as three feet. As a parasite, they are a very high order of insect, and can lie dormant in all life stages. That means you can walk out of your flea-infested house, right this minute, not return for over two years, and then get hit with the very same fleas from two years before.
A flea will lay hundreds of eggs during its lifetime. Each egg can hatch and mature in as little as five days. That life cycle can continue from one to three months or until the infestation is treated.
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