Fleas (which transmit tapeworms) (picture)

-pet owners alone spend over $1 billion each year controlling fleas.

- there are over 250 species of fleas described in North America alone

-cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and its close relative the dog flea (C. canis) can be found on cats

-can cause flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) and anemia in severe cases–also carry plague, which still breaks out in Rocky Mountains and SouthWest US, BTW

- salivary secretions cause irritation and result in scratching and thus further infection

- 1/16-1/18 inch long

- dark reddishbrown

- no wings

- hard bodies

- flat kinda like a sunfish

- can jump 7 inches up and 13 inches horizontally–for a human that would be 250 ft up and 450 feet horizontally!

- row of spines on face, called genal comb–eqaul length in cat flea, one is shorter than other in dog flea

- eggs are oval, smooth and white

- larvae about 1/4 inch long, straw colored with a brown head, no legs but still bite

-pupae have silken cacoons, but never turn into anything as pretty as a butterfly, unfortunatly

- Fleas pass through a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult

- A typical flea population consists of 50 percent eggs, 35 percent larvae, 10 percent pupae and 5 percent adults

- Completion of the life cycle from egg to adult varies from two weeks to eight months depending on the temperature, humidity, food, and species.

- Normally after a blood meal, the female flea lays about 15 to 20 eggs per day up to 600 in a lifetime usually on the host. In just 30 days, 10 female fleas under ideal conditions can multiply to over a quarter million different life stages

- Eggs hatch in two days to two weeks into larvae

- Outdoor development occurs in sandy gravel soils (moist sand boxes, dirt crawlspace under the house, under shrubs, etc.) where the pet may rest or sleep. Sand and gravel are very suitable for larval development which is the reason fleas are erroneously called "sand fleas." Thus, if we can minimize these areas or be sure to treat them, we can help prevent large flea populations

- Larvae are blind, avoid light, and take a week to several months to develop. Their food consists of digested blood from adult flea feces, dead skin, hair, feathers, and other organic debris. (Larvae do not suck blood.) This is why it is so important to keep indoor areas clean after a flea infestation–particularly areas like base boards, corners and anything in the dark It’s obviously impossible to vacuum our lawns, but feral shelters can often be cleaned and should be.

- also keep lawn trim, this decreases moisture and fleas like 70% humidity. While I admire hospitality, they don’t need it.

- Feral treatments... if you have the money you can try Lufenuron (Program), Insect Development Inhibitor (IDI) that breaks the flea's life cycle by preventing eggs and larvae from developing. Nearly 100 percent of eggs laid by treated fleas do not develop. There is no effect on the adult flea. It is environmentally safe, is given via dosage in the water, and after your colonies kittens are 6 weeks old, safe for all of them.

- note, Cythioate (Proban) is not registared for cats and we do not therefore recommend it

- if you can get close to your ferals, there are multiple products such as Advantage that treat for fleas and ticks for several months at a clip, however, it does have to be applied close to the skin on the neck–not always fun to do with a wild animal