The Fleas are external parasites or better they are attracted by mammalians or birds with hot blood including the human being. The Fleas has got a buccal apparatus that stings and sucks and they have not wings, this determinates their belonging to the order of Siphonaptera: the body of the Fleas is flattened and has a brown-red colour and the dimension of the fully-grown Fleas change from 1 to 8mm, they are fitted with three pairs of paws and the last two pairs are longer with a muscular system very strong that allows them to do large jumps upon animals with hot blood.
The Fleas, unlike of other insects, stings for feeding sucking the blood of the host, exist about 2000 known breeds but the more common and infesting in Italy belongs to the family of the Ctenocephalides felis.
Most Common Fleas that often come into contact with us are:
- Flea OF THE CAT (CTENOCEPHALIDES FELIS)
- Flea OF THE DOG (CTENOCEPHALIDES CANIS)
- Flea OF THE POULTRY (ECHIDENOFAGA GALLINACEA)
Less frequent Fleas but more dangerous for the human being and the animals are:
- Flea OF THE HUMAN BEING (PULEX IRRITANS): this breed of Flea lives both upon the human being and on pets and rarely on wild animals. It belongs to the family of Pulicidae and can carry the bubonic plague and the murine typhus.
- Flea OF THE RAT (XENOPSYLLA CHEOPIS): it was responsible in the medium age of bubonic plague epidemic, caused by the bacterium Yersina pestis that is carried by the Flea and from Rat to the human being; besides can carry the murine typhus and the rabbit fever.
For the prevention of the infestations of Fleas is important to know the four stages of their biological cycle: the fully-grown males on the guest and already from the day after the female Flea starts to lay, at short intervals, bunches from 8 to 12 eggs that delivers on the guest.
For being prolific a female Flea must feed for two or three days before the blood of the guest.
The laid eggs of the female Flea after short time lay from the coat or from the feathers of the guest animal and are, at this moment, spread on the ground or, being pets, into their beds, on the Carpets and on the textiles of the sofa of the beds etc. and, depending on the dampness and temperature of the environment, they hatch after 4-12 days.
Flea’s larvae are visible also with naked eyes, they measure about 4mm, wormlike without eyes and paws, with a buccal apparatus that chews and they feed of organic materials and some blood digested of the fully-grown Fleas. They love the dark therefore they look for hidden places to the light: holes, Carpets, blankets etc., and they are easily dehydratable if exposed to the sun.
Pupa: after the larval period, that lasts from 7 to 15 days, starts the first cycle of the development into a nymph in which the fully-grown larva starts to build, secreting some silk, the cocoon puparium and starts in this way the second cycle on encystations that has a minimal duration from 1 week to a maximum of 1 year. During the period of encystations, the little Fleas into their cocoon are invulnerable both at low temperature or insecticidals.
Fully-grown: finally, excited by the heat and carbon dioxide or other thrills the Flea not fully-grown escapes from the puparium, and if it does not find a host upon to jump and feeds after 12 days the Flea dies.
As a rule a Flea lives and dies on the host where it jumped, rarely it jumps from one host to another so the infestation of an animal happens when the subject remains into an infested environment.
To the host the Fleas can bring some damage operating in three different ways:
1. Direct way: terrible itchiness, loss of hair and coetaneous injuries; in young animals or not much feeded the presence of a lot of Fleas carry to a wasting away both for the itchiness that forbid to the subject and to the quantity of blood that the Fleas can remove to the little animal and that can provoke anaemia also of large importance if the infestation gathers heavy proportions (a fully-grown Flea can sucks for each day to a 5-10mm of blood, about 20 times its body weight).
2. Inducing allergic reactions: this happens when the subject is allergic to the micro-organism at virulent action present in the saliva of the Fleas, which inoculation happens for the injuries caused for the continuous scratching of the parasitical animal. These allergic reactions can provoke dermatitis, oedemas and coetaneous injuries also heavy.
3. As vector of infective and parasitical illnesses: this happen for ingestion of the Flea that can be carrier of infesting larvae of the flat worm or tapeworms pathogenic guest in the internal of the dog and the cat, but above all of the cat as a reason for the practice of the grooming. Another illness that the Flea can carry, is the one of the scratch of the cat provokes by a micro-organism, the Bartonella henselae, that is present into the blood of the cat; the Flea sucks the infected blood expelled with the excrements and when the cat scratches with the unclean claws of the excrements of the Fleas pass this illness to the human being, particularly dangerous for those subjects with problems to the immune system that induce fever, swelling to the point of the scratch and problems of the lymph glands and the lymphatic system.
PREVENTION, MANNER, CLEANSING
Flea’s infestation happens very rapidly and in the same environment we can find whether fully-grown Fleas or eggs, larvae and pupas, arriving in not much weeks to have an important infestation.
In the Pest Control against Fleas the best problem present is not represented by the fully-grown Fleas but the eggs that are spread everywhere by the infected animal and pets that live in our house we can find beddings, Carpets, beds, infested pillows.
In the presence of pets is essential a precise cleanliness and hygiene, mainly when are present some children, that often kiss, sleep and even divide the food with the dog or the cat and can, therefore, come into contact more easily with the larvae and the eggs of the Fleas and by them are transmitted parasitosis just as the intestinal worms and taenia.
It is of some account as prevention the cleanliness both of the environment and individual, teaching the children to wash the hands after having played with the animals, and above all of not placing the hands into the mouth, do not allow the animal itself of not jumping on couches and beds and use sheets, towels where the animal sleeps or lays down and that can be washed weekly; these provitions permit us to eliminate the majority of the eggs.
It is recommended to ever use and above all during the springtime and summertime parasiticidals on the animals.
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