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Fleas: Can Live Without 'Em, Absolutely

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Fleas occupy the same social strata as telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen: Unwelcome visitors. So, fleas as permanent guests in your home? Whether you're two- or four-legged, that's just not an option. Fleas, indeed, keep us humble. They seem to exist everywhere, seemingly are impervious to the weather, and excel as annoyers of humans and their pets. No "seemingly" to that last part. And then there's the whole fleas-as-disease-carriers concern. Tapeworm, anemia and skin disease can impact pets as a result of a flea infestation, and of course, the Bubonic plague and typhus have been transmitted to humans through contact with fleas. Some humans develop allergic reactions to flea bites. Cases of humans contracting disease through contact with fleas are extremely rare, however. Fleas' primary impact on human and pets simply is the itchy, red splotches and bumps their bites can cause. If you have pets — and perhaps even if you don't — you're likely to encounter fleas at some point. "No solicitation" signs and "do not call" lists may work for door-to-door salesmen and telemarketers; fleas require a little extra effort. Here's a little background on fleas and a few tips to rid your home of these unwelcome visitors. Fleas are flightless insects about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch long, usually reddish-brown in color. As blood suckers, they live off their mammal hosts. Bites aren't painful, but the aftermath (itching, scratching) can be. Fleas can be found everywhere in the continental U.S. and thrive in hot, humid environments. Ideally, a flea prefers temperatures of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity of about 70 percent. Check with your veterinarian to discuss the preventative treatment of fleas on your pets and what to do if your pet has fleas. For your home, remember these three important tips: •    Dehumidify •    Air conditioning •    Vacuum Humidity is critical to flea survival, and dehumidifiers can help disrupt the flea life cycle. Lower temperatures slow down or completely disrupt the life cycle, and vacuuming is an effective way of eliminating fleas from a home. Just be sure to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately. If you discover a flea infestation that's too big for any of these do-it-yourself methods, contact Legacy Pest & Termite today. We'll help make sure those little insect telemarketers stop calling.  

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