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Three things you might not know about fleas.

 by wai on 31 Oct 2013 |
3 Comment(s)
If you have a flea problem, you're probably trying to solve it the best way you know how.  But fleas are tough to get rid of.  They're resilient little critters.  Here are three things many people don't know about fleas.  The more you know about them, the more likely you are to get them under control.
 
 
Fleas Can Play Dead
Okay, they don't really play dead.  They don't whisper to each other, "Here she comes!" and fling themselves down on the carpet with their legs in the air.  But a wet flea can appear dead, because it's immobilized.  Many times a pet owner will use ordinary shampoo--not flea shampoo--on a pet, and afterward, the fleas seem to be dead.  Since the fleas are not moving, the owner decides plain shampoo kills fleas.  
 
 
But those fleas are not really dead.  When a flea has been thoroughly soaked with water, it won't move--but once it dries out, it will spring back to life.  You can test this yourself.  Just pick a few immobilized fleas off your pet after a bath with ordinary shampoo.  Put them in a baggie and seal it shut.  Set the baggie down, and go off and do something else for a few hours.  When you come back and check, you'll probably see the fleas moving inside the bag--back from the dead.
 
 
Fleas Will Wait for You
Sometimes, people think they can solve a flea problem by removing pets from a flea-infested house for a while.  Maybe you are leaving your summer home to go back to the city, or you have a vacation house that you won't return to for months.  You assume the fleas will starve to death.
 
 
It doesn't work that way.  Fleas come in different stages of growth:  egg, larva, pupa, and adult.  Some immature fleas can lie dormant for a year or more and can survive winter temperatures.  They don't hatch until they sense vibrations--like vacuuming, or people and pets walking around--or carbon dioxide given off by a passing animal.  So when you return to your summer house, even after months away, the fleas hatch out and attack.
 
 
Those Brown Specks Are Not Flea Eggs
A severely flea-infested pet will be covered with little reddish-brown specks.  Many people assume these specks are flea eggs, but they aren't.  Flea eggs are white and look like salt.  The reddish-brown specks are flea feces, also known as flea dirt.  If your pet and his bed look like they've been sprinkled with salt and pepper, you're seeing flea eggs and flea dirt.
 
 
Because fleas eat blood, their feces are basically just dried blood.  If you get the pet wet, you can tell if your pet is covered with flea dirt or is just plain dirty.  Regular dirt makes bathwater brown; flea dirt dissolves in water and makes bathwater red.  A pet owner who washes a pet covered in flea dirt sometimes thinks the red water means Patches or Butch is bleeding from flea bites.  Actually, the red color of the water is the result of dissolved flea dirt.  It's good to know what's really going on if you find yourself startled by red rinse water.
 
 
So, there you have it:  three things you might not have known about fleas.  When it comes to fleas, understanding them can make all the difference in beating them.
 

Comment(s)3

Mary David - Comment
Mary David04 Nov 2013Reply
Great Website, great company. Thank you for your informative emails. I really appreciate them.
Anne - Comment
Anne04 Nov 2013Reply
I didn't know that about wet fleas - I had always assumed they were dead. However, as they then get flushed away, I'm not too concerned as they are no longer on my pet, but it is interesting. I have cats, so I don't bath them, but I do use a wet flea comb through their fur when I suspect fleas, and I transfer the fleas I collect from the comb to a bowl of wáter which I tip down the sink after.
Amethyst Gemstone - Comment
Amethyst Gemstone18 May 2017Reply
Hi my cats have fleas and this was so helpful. We would wash the cats off and the fleas would stop moving. Now I know that they're not dead.

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