One of the most common and troublesome pests is the flea. These wingless parasites are often found on dogs and cats if the animal has not been given flea treatments.
They have a tough exterior and it is not easy to kill them. For more information see this video here.
Fleas do not carry as many diseases as some other biting insects but, they have been implicated in the spread of Bubonic Plague. While their bites are generally just painful and itchy, some people have been known to have allergic reactions to them. They lay small white eggs on the animal they are infesting as well as harborage areas such as cracks and crevices and even carpeting. Eventually, it enters the larval stage where it feeds on organic matter. The most common food at this stage is the feces of adult fleas.
Once the flea enters the adult stage, it exists completely upon the blood of mammals, including human. This is where fleas and flea bites become a large problem for people. Though their life span may only be one year it can live long enough to produce multiple generations. During this time, the female flea can lay 5000 eggs. This means that an infestation can rapidly become a problem.
When a person has been bitten by a flea, they will typically develop small red bumps on their skin. Because fleas live in groups, it is not uncommon for an individual to discover several bites in a small region. The most common place for bites on humans is around the ankles, near where their pets are. However, they can be found anywhere on the body.
Fleas have many tiny spikes on their legs that allow them to cling to the skin of their host. Then the parasite bites the host, injecting their saliva which has more than a dozen different substances, some of them very irritating to humans. Because blood is their only source of food, they must eat two to three times each day.
If a human has been bitten by a flea, it is important not to scratch the itchy area. Doing so will only worsen the symptoms and slow healing. Taking an antihistamine will help to minimize the itching while it heals. The application of calamine lotion can also help with the itching, as can using an ice pack.
It is important that the home and any animals be treated for the infestation as soon as possible. Otherwise, more flea bites will occur. There are many products on the market for this. If there are children in the home, it is important that they are not exposed to any harsh chemical treatments.
Fleas are very troublesome and should not be taken lightly. The parasite will continue to breed and bite as long as treatment has not occurred. Those who have been bitten need to make certain not to scratch the area and to utilize appropriate medications to minimize the associated symptoms.
Also it is important to note that in NYC the oriental rat flea is the most common flea found on rodents. This is the flea responsible for the bubonic plague outbreak that almost wiped out humanity. Lets hope we dont have a repeat of this scenario anytime soon