By Elizabeth Morgan
Fleas are small insects that are capable of giving humans and their pets big troubles with a little stab of their proboscis. There are over 2,400 species of fleas worldwide, but fortunately, there are just four or five species of fleas that are a threat to humans. The most commonly found species in America is the cat flea, which feeds on cats and dogs, as well as humans.
An infestation of fleas can be a serious threat, not merely an annoyance, in some cases. Flea bites can cause skin irritations as well serious allergies in pets and humans. Sometimes, more dangerous fleas pass on serious diseases. So it becomes very important to prevent them from breeding, or destroying them once they are present, by using various measures.
The first step towards stopping the growth of the fleas is through vacuuming the house on a regular basis. This helps in keeping the flea population low by killing adult and egg-stage fleas, although vacuuming has not proven very effective in killing the flea larvae. As a more advanced step, cracks should be sealed after vacuuming, to permanently eliminate these favorite breeding areas for fleas.
In cases of severe infestation, steam cleaning and other measures might be required. Research shows that if a cat flea larva is exposed to 1030F for one hour, it dies. Some commercial devices are available in the market to produce such lethal temperatures. As this tool that generates heat consists of a loose shaft, it can only be applied locally. Therefore, fleas may escape by hiding in the carpet or elsewhere.
Another method of killing fleas is by using insecticidal on the organic matter accumulated outside the house. Another product, named Insecticidal Dust, containing silica aero gel, is also successful in killing fleas by rupturing their skin and absorbing the oil and moisture. The direct application of products containing citrus peel extracts, d-limonene, and linalool on petsâ€™ bedding are useful in killing fleas in all the stages of growth. Finally, pest control products sold by veterinary doctors, like sodium poly-borate, applied on carpets, are also useful in killing fleas.
Taking preventative steps at the right time can save us from the annoyance and troubles caused by these tiny creatures; but if we already have them, there are a number of ways to eliminate them.
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