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FleaFleas (Cat Fleas)

Order: Siphonaptera
Family: Pulicidae
Scientific Name: Ctenocephalides
Color: Dark reddish-brown
Legs: Six
Shape: Laterally flatened, side to side
Size: 1/12 to 1/6-inch long
Antennae: Yes
Flight: No

Fleas are one of the more important groups of insect pests because they cause discomfort through bites and can also transmit diseases such as plague and murine typhus. Although there several types of fleas, including Dog, Human and Oriental, the Cat flea is the most common and is the one that is most often found on pets.

Fleas transport themselves on rodents and other mammals. They infest both household pests and wild animals. Fleas use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally.

Fleas usually remain on their warm-blooded hosts at all times. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs, or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments. They are often found infesting opossums, raccoons, and skunks in urban settings.

Cat fleas may transmit Bubonic Plague and murine typhus and also serve as the host for dog tapeworm which may infest humans, especially young children. Flea bites commonly cause painful, itchy red bumps.

Clean and vacuum frequently to help remove flea populations and prevent the laying of eggs. Keep your lawn groomed to avoid rodent habitation. Protect pets by keeping them on a leash when outside, bathing and grooming pets regularly, visiting a veterinarian annually, and using flea treatments according to direction. It is important to hire a pest professional to rid your home of rodents and fleas.

(Source: National Pest Management Association, et. al.)