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Siphonaptera the FLEA

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The Flea - how to kill the flea with insecticides and natural remedies.  FLEAS - any member of the insect order Siphonaptera. Fleas are sometimes called parasites, but not all fleas are parasites in the strictest sense.  Many fleas live and feed totally on the exterior of the host, this makes them ecto-parasitic, but many fleas just use the host to feed. The domestic flea, that is the flea that plagues our home, is generally the Cat-Flea -   Ctenocephalides Felis, and not the dog or human flea.  This flea actually lives in our home, and only jumps onto a mammal, that is our cat, dog, or us, when it wants to feed.  The flea then hops off and the main part of its life is spent in and around our homes.

Modified:  09/12/20 09:46                        " LEARN  MORE,  BE MORE "  ©

 

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Wingless insect of the order Siphonaptera, with blood-sucking mouthparts. Fleas are semi-parasitic on warm-blooded animals. Some fleas can jump 130 times their own height. Species include the human flea - Pulex irritans; the rat flea  - Xenopsylla cheopsis, the transmitter of plague and typhus. Helped through central heating, the cat and dog fleas -  Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis. One of the largest fleas is  Histricopsylla talpae, which lives on the mole and is about 8 mm or 0.25 in long.

 

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HISTORY OF THE FLEA.

History of the Flea  - In the summer of 1665 bubonic plague broke out in London and rapidly spread to the rest of the country. The plague, which had afflicted England recurrently since the 14th century, was carried by the fleas which infested black rats. London, which had grown to around half a million inhabitants - twenty times the size of the next largest town, in the world, was predominantly vulnerable to diseases such as this; the death toll for the capital was over 68,000. Apart from a minor outbreak in 1679 - a catastrophic plague year in central Europe - the plague never appeared in England again.

Human Flea  -  Domestic fleas are now no longer considered to be the vectors of disease, but fleas are still a scourge in the USA, UK & Europe and whilst we may not die from their bites, we are still plagued by them, as they infest our homes in their millions.

 

Fleas have been around for millions of years - a fossilized flea found in Australia is said to be 200 million years old. It does not differ significantly from today's fleas. Different species can be found from the Arctic Circle to the Arabian deserts - even penguins have fleas which counteract the cold by ensuring that their growth into adulthood coincides with the time when penguins are sitting firmly on their eggs, thereby keeping both fleas and their young in a warm environment!

Adult cat fleas are generally around 2mm long, with females being larger than males. The largest species of flea is Hystrichopsylla schefferi - a flea found in the nest of a mountain beaver in Puyallup, Washington, USA in 1913. The female can grow up to 8mm long. This is almost a third of an inch.

During their life cycle, cat and dog fleas undergo complete metamorphosis, going through the four developmental stages from egg to larvae, pupae and on to adulthood. As adults, once they have found a suitable host - your dog or cat for example - they can remain there until they die, or are groomed off - their life on your pet is only about 1-2 weeks. It is generally a misconception that they jump freely to other hosts, however, a jumping flea may land on a passing mammal and make it a home. This host could be you as it is attracted to heat and vibrations and leaps out where it thinks it will find food.

As well as this fleas do readily just drop off, if looking to reproduce, but they can also find a mate within the fur of the host, so there is no hard and fast rule.

石垣島のいろいろ~観察:ノミノミの実

Like most living creatures, fleas, in all stages of development, are affected greatly by humidity and temperature. They need water in their environment just as we do, and will die without a suitable environment; liking quite a warm humid temperature, where they will thrive as long as they have mammals as a symbiosis companion.

The most important thing to learn about the flea is that it is not the adults that present the main problem in flea control. Research has shown that, in an average household, adult fleas only represent around 5% of a total Siphonaptera population. Flea pupae account for around 10%; fleas in the larval stages around 35%; whilst flea eggs make up a whopping 50% of the total! Adult fleas will die naturally within one or two weeks following their arrival on your dog or cat. Simply treating your dog or cat with an appropriate insecticide to kill the adult fleas means that 95% of the flea population are unaffected and are simply left to develop into new adults all around your home.

 

The Plague devastated Europe, all caused by the Flea.

 

   Know the Flea, Know your Enemy   - Learn More, Be More   

Understand here that the flea does not live on you or your pet animal, the fleas live in your home, with you, in your bed, in carpets and soft furnishings. It jumps onto the mammal, you and your pet, just to feed. It is attracted by your breathing, your warmth and your movements. If you do nothing to get rid of these fleas, they will multiply into many thousands.

 

  How To Get Rid of Fleas   -  Read.   

 

Whilst we try to report all the facts as accurately as possible, we will  not be made responsible for any mistakes or errors that maybe inadvertently made.

   First Know the Flea, Know your Enemy  

FLEAS - any member of the insect order Siphonaptera. They are sometimes called parasites, but not all fleas are parasites in the strictest sense.  All fleas live and feed totally on the exterior of the host, this makes them ecto-parasitic, but many just use the host to feed. The domestic flea, that is the flea that generally plagues our home, is  the Cat-Flea - Ctenocephalides FelisIt is too simple to call it a parasite; a creature that uses another to survive is not always parasitic. A Lion, will kill, and feed opportunely, just like the flea; the Lion is not a parasite.

   How To Kill Fleas, Know your Enemy  

This flea actually lives in our home, and only jumps onto a mammal, that is our cat, dog, or us, when it wants to feed.  It then hops off and the main part of its life is spent in and around our homes, living along side us just as our pets do.

After a good feed, the female will also lay many eggs; the first stage in its life-cycle. Its Eggs are laid in corners, cracks and crevices. What eggs hatch, produce the larvae, the second stage, and they feed on house dust - mainly human skin-flakes, and they also eat adult flea excrement.

The flea sucks our blood, and then defecates, and because its digestive system is so inefficient, most of its waste material, contains lots of protein.

Because of this time-bomb situation you must accept that you have a potential catastrophic set of circumstances to contend with. In some situations where fleas have been left to flourish, say when dogs or cats have been abandoned and locked up in an enclosed environment. SPCA inspectors have been met on occasion with a ravishing army of literally hundreds of thousand of fleas. One female inspector has said that as she was wearing a skirt was 'attacked' and she could hardly see any of her lower legs due to the massing of fleas attaching themselves on to her in some feeding frenzy.

 

Did You Know?

It only takes one flea piggybacking inside your house to start an infestation. If your pet goes outside at all, even for a minte, it can be exposed to fleas. Fact: The fleas you see on your pet are only 5% of the population; the other 95% of the fleas are eggs, pupae, and larvae and could be in your home.

So if you find a few fleas get on top of it now.

Things in most homes would never get this bad but could come quite close. If you keep animals you must also accept that you will get fleas. The flea-population is directly proportional to how you cope. Without a doubt your best defence is the humble vacuum-cleaner, and the more powerful the better. Some cleaners are so powerful that they will lift the carpet slightly off the floor and suck out quite a lot of debris such as the aforementioned human skin.

[  It was this site some years back that first mentioned the vacuum cleaner as the best tool to defeat fleas; now they all refer to it. ]

 

Picture of male oriental rat flea engorged with blood  -  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A

 

 The flea sucks our blood in order to feed. 

 

Fleas - See many photographs below -  are bloodsucking insects, and have been principal carriers of disease, and sometimes serious pests. As the chief agent transmitting the Black Death  -  The Bubonic Plague, in the Middle Ages, they were an essential link in the chain of events, that killed a third of the population of Europe. But a flea, like the mosquito,  will only carry a disease if it first feeds off a mammal that has an infection / contagion, of some kind.

 

   THE FLEA   

 

  Look Closely - Learn to Recognise this Enemy 

 

Fleas - The Human Flea - Pulex Irritans - Flea Insecticides - How to Get Rid of Fleas the Natural Way - Diatomaceous Earth - What is a Flea - Fleas and Flea Bites - Siphonaptera the Flea - Hystrichopsylla schefferi - Ctenocephalides Felis - Fleas, Parasites and your Dog and Cat

 

Did You Know?

As a flea jumps, its rate of acceleration is 20 times that of a space shuttle during launching. It reaches a speed of 100 m per sec within the first 500th of a second

 

The Flea  

Anyone who keeps pets will have crossed paths with the formidable flea before now. I remember many years ago, we had just moved into a new home and it was a hot summer.

We had just bought a new kitten, which we named Whishy.   It was about 10.00 AM, a beautiful summer day, and I was just lying in bed reading; our bedroom was not yet carpeted.

On the floor were laid several magazines and every now and then I could hear this little clicking-snapping sound. When I investigated I could see these tiny creature using these magazines as launching pads. In my bed, contrasted against the crisp white sheets, were tiny moving dots.

I tell everyone who writes to us:

  Don't Panic!

But I remember, I clearly freaked, as if a band of burglars, had broken in to my new home.

I spent that summer solving this horrendous problem, reading about it wherever I could and buying most every known insecticide known to man or woman.

The cat still lived to a ripe old age. Then, I could tell you how traumatic it all was; now, I look upon fleas with no fear,  but with plenty of respect

     

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Flea     A small wingless bloodsucking insect with legs modified for jumping. Fleas have irritating bites and move from host to host; some species carry serious diseases. Two widely distributed species are the human flea - Pulex Irritans,  and the oriental rat flea - Xenopsylla cheopis, which transmits bubonic plague and typhus to humans. Though by far the most common flea is the Cat Flea - Ctenocephalides Felis

 

Only    5 - 10% of fleas are in adult form - These are the little black things that bite and feed off you, and your pets.

So for every one you find biting you, TEN to FIFTEEN more are elsewhere as either eggs, caterpillars, - the larvae,  cocoons - the pupae,  all waiting to become grown fleas. The flea is not strictly a parasite, it acts more like a Lion.

 

Parasite   -   An organism living in or on another organism of a different species, called the host, from which it obtains food and protection. Many parasites have complex life cycles, with one or more intermediate hosts, of different species, supporting them during their development. The study of parasites - parasitology - is of importance in medicine since many parasites, such as bacteria, fungi, either cause or transmit disease. Many plants are either partly or completely parasitic.

 

Did You Know?

The wormlike larvae of fleas are eyeless and legless. They do not suck blood, but feed on digested blood excreted by the adult flea, and flakes of human skin. This FOOD for the Flea Larvae is secreted in your furniture and CARPETS. That is why the Vacuum Cleaner is your best friend in getting rid of them.

 

Whilst we try to report all the facts as accurately as possible, we will  not be made responsible for any mistakes or errors that maybe inadvertently made.

The Flea - What is it?

An order of secondarily wingless insects comprising the fleas. The body of a flea is laterally compressed and bears numerous backward-directed spines. Fleas live as blood-sucking ecto-parasites of mammals and birds, having mouthparts adapted to piercing their host, injecting saliva to prevent clotting, and sucking up the blood. The long bristly legs can transmit energy stored in the elastic body wall to leap relatively long distances (over 300 mm horizontally). Apart from causing irritation, fleas can transmit disease organisms, most notably bubonic plague bacteria, which can be carried from rats to humans by the rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopsis). The whitish wormlike legless larvae feed on organic matter. After two molts the larva spins a cocoon and undergoes metamorphosis into the adult.

 

Fleas are very small robust insects that are also parasites. Defined by any dictionary as 'self-seeking hangers-on'. They live, as all parasites do, human or otherwise,  by living on something or someone else, sucking nutriment directly from their victim. In the flea's case, this means drinking the 'host' animal's blood.

Siphonaptera, is the Latin name for the collective species of fleas and there are around 3,000 different species currently recognized by flea-authorities around the world. 95% of these occur on mammals with around 5% occurring on birds. 

Whatever an adult flea is living on, is commonly referred to as the 'host' and different species of flea are usually named after the 'host' on which they were first discovered or are most usually found. Such as the cat flea, dog flea, hedgehog or rabbit flea for example. Some fleas have developed particular liking for particular hosts, though most fleas will 'holiday' on anything alive given the chance. In fact it has been said that fleas even have fleas and those fleas have fleas, or some equally obnoxious parasite, ad infinitum.

Infestation by fleas may cause severe inflammation of the skin and intense itching. Although many animals acquire partial immunity after constant or repeated attacks, occasionally individuals can become sensitized after exposure and develop allergies.

Species that attack man and livestock include the cat flea  - Ctenocephalides Felis, the so-called human flea - Pulex Irritans, the dog flea - Ctenocephalides Canis, the sticktight flea  - Echidnophaga gallinacea, and the jigger, or chigoe flea - Tunga penetrans.

Poultry may be parasitized by the European chicken flea - Ceratophyllus gallinae, and in the USA by the western chicken flea - Ceratophyllus niger.

 

 

Common Name

Scientific Name

Cat Flea

Ctenocephalides felis (Bouche)

Dog Flea

Ctenocephalides canis (Curtis)

Northern Rat Flea

Nosopsyllus fascinators (Bosc)

 

Oriental Rat Flea

Xenopsylla cheopis (Rothschild)

Rabbit Flea

Cediopsylla simplex (Baker)

Human Flea

Pulex irritans

 

Fleas are not always peculiar only to their namesakes. For example, the most common flea on both dogs and cats is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, but both cats and dogs can also occasionally be affected by other fleas, such as rabbit and bird fleas.

Ctenocephalides canis - the dog flea, which has been previously found in great numbers on dogs, but rarely on cats, is becoming more scarce as dogs are more frequently kept in environments similar to that of the domestic cat. Whilst the domestic cat remains a free spirit and able to roam wherever, it will get fleas. The domestic dog is no longer such a pack roamer and usually is well cared for so the best habitat for the dog-flea is in decline. However, as has been said, any flea will take on the maxim: ' any port in a storm ' and will drink  / feed off any animal it can land on, it still only prefers its general host though. The human-flea, in some countries is almost relatively extinct due to greater cleanliness and awareness of such critters.

Adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8-inch long, dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied and cannot be crushed between fingers, they must be nipped between the finger nails until you hear a snap. They have three pairs of legs and the back legs are very enlarged and enable jumping. The legs can be recoiled like springs and then released with an explosion of  energy. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches, moving up to thirteen inches across surfaces. A flea can jump a 250 feet high and 450 feet along in human terms, as long as the starting point is of sufficient resistance. This is, pound for pound, the greatest jump of any creature on the planet.

They are flattened very thin vertically, this allows easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of the host. Even though they are adapted for this, for obvious reasons maybe, there is no sheep-flea; a sheep's coat is too thick to allow convenient movement. 

The adult flea have piercing-sucking mouthparts and spines on the body projecting backward. Also, there is a row of spines on the face known as the genal comb. They feed by piercing the skin layers of any warm animal and just like the aphid that pierces the skin of the plant, they do not do much sucking, but rely on natural pressure of the body. In our case, our natural blood-pressure forces blood out straight into the mouth of the flea.

Generally, this blood would coagulate or thicken to try and block the wound, but the flea, just like most other blood-sucking insects,  introduces a chemical that stops this coagulation. 

Did You Know?

Most birds have fleas; there are 17 species of flea found only on Swallows and Martins.

After mating, and a good feed, the female has sufficient protein to develop eggs in her body. The eggs are smooth, oval and white. But they are also sticky; this natural glue attracts local debris, that acts as camouflage.

Larvae are 1/4-inch long, slender, straw-colored, brown headed, wormlike, bristly-haired creatures, with 13 body segments, that are legless and have chewing mouthparts. They are continually active and avoid light by burrowing into the nest or carpet pile. 

Pupae are enclosed in silken cocoons covered with particles of debris. The larvae feed mainly on human skin flakes and even the discarded faeces of the adult flea. The adult sucks copious amounts of blood and this is readily digested and disposed of, because this digestion is inefficient, perhaps 70% of the adult's waste still contains nutrition.

The fleas have 4 phases of development - the egg, the free-living larva, the pupa and the imago.   Imago:  The adult sexually mature stage in the life cycle of an insect after metamorphosis.

 

 

The Flea life cycle

Understanding how fleas live, and breed, makes it easier to understand the best methods available to eradicate a flea problem.

 

EGGS.   One female adult flea can lay anything from one to FORTY eggs each day, with the highest concentration of egg-laying occurring in the final two to three days of life. Eggs are oval, around 0.5mm long, white and rounded at both ends. The eggs are not sticky so once laid, they immediately fall onto the ground, wherever the host is at that time. They are produced about one each hour.

Depending upon the temperature and most importantly, humidity, the eggs will hatch into larvae within two to ten days. Humidity below 50% may cause them to dry out and become food for luckier hatchlings. The environment in which the eggs are deposited is therefore of prime consideration to flea survival rate and helps to explain why warmer winters and hot summers have increased flea populations considerably in recent years. Homes should be well aired and this will help the drying effect and possibly protect against not only fleas but also the dust-mite.

Wingless insect of the order Siphonaptera, with blood-sucking mouthparts. Fleas are semi-parasitic on warm-blooded animals. Some fleas can jump 130 times their own height. Species include the human flea - Pulex irritans; the rat flea  - Xenopsylla cheopsis, the transmitter of plague and typhus. Helped through central heating, the cat and dog fleas -  Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis. One of the largest fleas is  Histricopsylla talpae, which lives on the mole and is about 8 mm or 0.25 in long.    -    How to get rid of fleas - FLEAS - any member of the insect order Siphonaptera. Fleas are sometimes called parasites, but not all fleas are parasites in the strictest sense.  Many fleas live and feed totally on the exterior of the host, this makes them ecto-parasitic, but many fleas just use the host to feed. The domestic flea, that is the flea that plagues our home, is generally the Cat-Flea -   Ctenocephalides Felis, and not the dog or human flea.  This flea actually lives in our home, and only jumps onto a mammal, that is our cat, dog, or us, when it wants to feed.  The flea then hops off and the main part of its life is spent in and around our homes.  Fleas, flees, fleese, phlees, phleas

Flea Pupae - Their sticky surface attract local debris, this acts as camouflage

 

LARVAE. A larva will hatch from an egg using a chitin tooth - an egg splitting spine on its head. This disappears when the larva changes into the second of its three 'moults' or development stages. It is this tooth that is changed by modern oral flea treatments. Treatments contain an insect development inhibitor renders the chitin tooth ineffective, this prevents the larvae from cutting his way out.

Larvae are semi-transparent and sparsely covered in short hairs. They are usually white with a yellow-brownish head and are generally quite active. They are dependent on a diet of adult flea faeces for survival, but will also feed on other organic debris in your carpet. In this domestic environment, flea larvae are found at the base of the carpet pile, where they can encounter food, are sheltered by the canopy of carpet fiber and can keep away from direct light. So it is clear that the more powerful any vacuum cleaner you have the greater ability for it to suck these little varmints out and into the dust container for disposal.

PUPAE.   After the third moult, the larva moves to an undisturbed place to begin spinning a silk cocoon coated with particles of debris picked up from its surroundings for use as camouflage.   It is within the cocoon that the larvae turns into the next stage of development - the pupa. Pupae subjected to suitable hatching conditions can emerge as adult fleas as early as three to five days following pupation. From this stage, the adult flea develops. The fully formed adult flea remains in the cocoon until stimulated to hatch by, for example, warmth, vibration and even exhaled carbon dioxide from a passing potential host - which includes the human! 

Under certain laboratory conditions fleas have lived dormant like this for up to five years. So even an empty house can harbor these problems until the unsuspecting new tenant moves in creating the phenomenon known as the 'pupal window' and you need to be aware of it before effective flea treatment can begin.

Environmental sprays and powders cannot readily penetrate the cocoon and therefore have no effect on the maturing adult inside if used on their own. These fleas continue to hatch from their protective cocoons and, unless the flea control regime is maintained, will be the source of the next generation of fleas ready to cause you and your dog more problems!

ADULTS  Almost immediately after the adult flea has hatched from its cocoon, it will begin looking for its first blood meal. Unlike the flea larva, which tends to move away from light, adult fleas move upwards and towards the light, in order to be in a better position to locate a suitable victim.

The flea's eyesight is not brilliant and so warmth and carbon dioxide in the air appear to be answerable for helping it find its goal. Air currents will be changed by a cat or dog moving past the adult flea, the carbon dioxide increases and the flea detects these changes and jumps in the hope of landing in close proximity to the waiting adult. Adult fleas have been known to jump as many as 10,000 times in succession, whilst trying to leap onto a passing cat or dog - the flea knows they are close by but it's more a question of luck than judgment when trying to make a successful connection between the hooks on the flea's legs and the fur on the cat or dog.

However, once satisfactorily 'anchored', the flea will immediately begin to feed and the females will begin laying eggs after only 48 hours after the first feed. Before drinking the blood, the flea secretes special enzymes within its saliva into the wound. This substance softens and spreads the skin tissue, assisting with feeding. More helpfully the saliva contains an anti-coagulant making the blood flow. This saliva is usually the cause of allergic reactions in cats, dogs - and humans.

Once on a suitable host, the adult fleas will remain there until they die, which is usually within one or two weeks. Unfortunately for the pet, although providentially for the parasite population, females tend to live longer than males and there are naturally more females than males. If the animal is left to groom itself normally and cats groom more thoroughly than dogs on the whole, many adult fleas will be dislodged or swallowed naturally. However, if for any reason, the animal is unable to groom itself - it may be ill for example, then the owner should groom it more frequently than usual, to complement their pet's natural methods of flea control.

 

Bacteria  - Microscopic single-celled organisms found wherever life is possible. Generally 0.0001–0.005 mm long, they may be spherical (coccus), rodlike (bacillus), or spiral-shaped (spirillum) and often occur in chains or clusters of cells. True bacteria have a rigid cell wall, which may be surrounded by a slimy capsule, and they often have long whip-like flagella for locomotion and short hair-like pili used in a form of sexual reproduction. A few bacteria can use simple chemical substances, including carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, to manufacture their own nutrients, but most require a source of carbon derived from living organisms (i.e. organic carbon) plus other nutrients for growth. Some bacteria can reproduce every 15 minutes, leading to rapid population growth.

 

The most important role of bacteria is in decomposing dead plant and animal tissues and releasing their constituents to the soil (see carbon cycle). Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil or sea convert atmospheric nitrogen gas to nitrites and nitrates, which can then be used by plants (see nitrogen cycle). Cheese making and fermentation reactions depend on bacteria. Bacteria also play an important part in animal digestion, especially in ruminants. However, certain (pathogenic) species may cause disease while others, such as Salmonella, can cause food poisoning.

 

How Does Your Body Fight Infection?

Immunity   -  The resistance of the body to infection, especially resistance due to antibodies. Babies have passive immunity from antibodies transferred from the mother’s blood through the placenta. Active immunity involves the formation of antibodies after exposure to an antigen - bacteria that invade the body during an infection are antigens. The two different kinds of immune response produced by antibodies involve: white blood cells called T-lymphocytes - produced by the thymus, which produce cells with antibody properties bound to their surface and are responsible for such reactions as graft rejection; B-lymphocytes, which produce cells that release free antibody into the blood.

Leucocyte - lymphocytes - or white blood cell. A colorless cell found in large numbers in the blood. There are several kinds, all involved in the body’s defense mechanisms. Granulocytes and monocytes destroy and feed on bacteria and other microorganisms that cause infection -  see also phagocyte. The lymphocytes are involved with the production of antibodies.

Phagocyte   -  A cell that engulfs and then digests particles from its surroundings: this process is called phagocytosis. In vertebrate animals, phagocytes are a type of white blood cell that protect the body by engulfing bacteria and other foreign particles.

Immunization is the production of immunity by an injection containing antibodies against specific diseases e.g. tetanus and diphtheria, which provides temporary passive immunity, or by vaccination, which produces the longer lasting active immunity.

Antibody   -  A protein produced by certain white blood cells  - lymphocytes that reacts with a particular foreign particle e.g. a bacterium,  that has entered the body. The antibody helps to destroy the foreign particle, known as the antigen. If the same bacteria invade the body in future, many more of the same antibodies are produced, enabling the body to destroy the bacteria very rapidly and so resist infection. This provides the basis of  immunity. Antibodies are also responsible for the rejection of foreign tissue or organ transplants. See also monoclonal antibody.

Monoclonal antibody  -  A type of pure antibody that can be produced artificially in large quantities and used, for example, to distinguish the major blood groups. Mouse lymphocytes producing the required antibody are fused with mouse cancer cells; the resulting hybrid cells multiply rapidly and all produce the same type of antibody as their parent lymphocytes.

Whilst all this bodily protection sounds wonderful, the problem with MRSA, is that there is no defense to it, no answer to its attack.

 

Did You Know?

In 1666, to help counter the spread of plague, the British Parliament decreed that all bodies had to be wrapped in a woolen shroud for burial. This decree provided wool-makers with a constant source of business for nearly 150 years.

 

Because of this time-bomb situation you must accept that you have a potential catastrophic set of circumstances to contend with. In some situations where fleas have been left to flourish, say when dogs or cats have been abandoned and locked up in an enclosed environment. SPCA inspectors have been met on occasion with a ravishing army of literally hundreds of thousand of fleas. One female inspector has said that as she was wearing a skirt was 'attacked' and she could hardly see any of her lower legs due to the massing of fleas attaching themselves on to her in some feeding frenzy.

Things in most homes would never get this bad but could come quite close. If you keep animals you must also accept that you will get fleas. The flea-population is directly proportional to how you cope. Without a doubt your best defense is the humble vacuum-cleaner, and the more powerful the better. Some cleaners are so powerful that they will lift the carpet slightly off the floor and suck out quite a lot of debris such as the aforementioned human skin.

[  It was this site-page some years back that first mentioned the vacuum cleaner as the best tool to defeat fleas; now they all refer to it. ]

A good Hoover will takes away eggs, larvae, some fleas and of course their potential food source. So if you think that you may have an infestation you must Hoover daily if not twice daily. This breaks the life-cycle.

The larvae will feed on human skin flakes, scabs from flea bites, any organic material really and flea droppings. The adult flea will gorge on the blood of its host and as its digestion system is not that efficient its excrement or faeces will contain a lot of undigested clotted blood. The droppings are generally moon shaped and the color of coffee beans and a staple diet for the flea larvae.

Dogs and cats, especially those in rural areas, occasionally pick up fleas other than Ctenocephalides felis or Ctenocephalides canis, such as those listed, through burrowing into the living quarters and living environments of the different host species, where newly hatched fleas may be waiting. Bird fleas can even be collected by pets because they are very common in nesting boxes and often migrate out of them. Many drop to the ground, from where any passing mammal can be 'preyed'.

 

NATURAL WAYS OF DEFEATING THE FLEA.

The Vacuum Cleaner - Make sure you get right into the corners. Vacuum as much as possible and you will get rid of them. Dispose of the bag or contents carefully, sealing in several plastic bags. Or burn if it is safe to do so.

Fleas can live, in stasis, up to FIVE years without blood. They will not go away but just look for the nearest mammal. YOU or your family, and your dogs! BY sucking up the eggs and the larvae, you must BREAK their cycle of life

For yourself, you can rub on chamomile lotion at night. Add salt to your bath at night or go paddling in the sea; this will help heal the bites more quickly. Rub your legs with some kind of bespoke insecticide or repellent. . OR Citronella Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Pennyroyal, Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender Oil, or Cedar Wood Oil, as they do not like these strong odours.  Eating a lot of garlic is also good as a repellent but it does not only repel insects.

For problems in the garden - Diatomaceous Earth

What is Diatomaceous Earth? 

It is a benign, non-toxic, and generally a safe material derived from age-old fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life, then crushed to a fine powder. Observed through a microscope, the particles resemble minuscule bits of  broken glass and are very abrasive. Deadly to any insect and usually completely harmless to animals, fish, or fowl, even when used in their food. Most insects have a waxy outer shell covering their bodies. Diatomaceous Earth eventually scratches through this shell causing the insect to dehydrate, which leads to eventual death.

For severe infestations, however, pesticides may be used. Buy a bespoke insecticide from the Internet but only after looking at as many websites offering insecticides  as possible. 

Try placing a large bowl of hot water in the middle of a room over night. The heat will attract fleas and they will jump into the water. See how many you can catch.

In any event, do not panic

The best thing you can do in get out the vacuum cleaner and give the place a good clean, which I am sure you do anyway. Vacuum twice daily until the problem has gone, getting into corners. Vacuum / Clean up the sleeping area of your animal as well.  Vacuum suspect furniture. 

Make sure you get right into the corners. Vacuum as much as possible and you will get rid of them. Fleas can live up to FIVE years without blood, they
just lie in stasis, until you disturb them. They will not go away but just look for the nearest mammal. YOU or your family! Generally though, they only live for six weeks if actively feeding. 

Fleas lay eggs that turn into larvae and pupae. Vacuuming sucks up eggs, larvae and pupae. 

THIS BREAKS THE CYCLE OF LIFE. 

Vacuuming well, this is your very best option. We mentioned this several years ago, now all sites mention this. Only 5 - 10% of fleas are on you or your animal at anytime, the rest are living in your home, or outside. 

 

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Has your dog / cat got fleas?

In all likelihood, the answer is 'yes' even if it's not immediately obvious. There are around 14 million cats and dogs in Britain today; five times more in the States and all pets will, at some time in their lives, be irritated by fleas. Fleas are the most common cause of skin irritation in cats and dogs. Many vets confirm that up to two thirds of their time, especially in the summer, is spent treating flea-related conditions in pets.

Locking the stable-door, after the horse has bolted.

If you have pets, you should now know that your pet WILL get fleas during some part of its life, and this will be to varying degrees. Do not leave the problem until it has become so serious that your pet is really uncomfortable and you have fleas jumping all over the place, especially to such a point that will tantamount to a household infestation, as this will become very difficult to control. The longer you leave things the more serious the situation will get and the more difficult then to remove. 

 

Do check your pets regularly for fleas by carefully grooming and searching.

Vacuum clean as often as possible, not forgetting the edges and corners. Spray some recommended crawling insect spray around the edges of your home.  

Ask your vet for advice about a sustainable treatment that will be suitable for you and your pet's circumstances e.g. living conditions, rural or urban surroundings, proximity to other, possibly untreated pets.

Vacuum clean as often as possible, not forgetting the edges and corners. Spray some recommended crawling insect spray around the edges of your home.

Do not just smother everything in with the first or cheapest flea treatment that you find. Insecticides may well kill adult fleas but they may not kill other members, 95%, in other parts of the life cycle.

Vacuum clean as often as possible, not forgetting the edges and corners. Spray some recommended crawling insect spray around the edges of your home.

Do not just consider treating your pets but also the areas in which they walk, play and sleep. Those of the 95%, a time bomb, will be there waiting.

The Flea - how to kill the flea with insecticides and natural remedies.  FLEAS - any member of the insect order Siphonaptera. Fleas are sometimes called parasites, but not all fleas are parasites in the strictest sense.  Many fleas live and feed totally on the exterior of the host, this makes them ecto-parasitic, but many fleas just use the host to feed. The domestic flea, that is the flea that plagues our home, is generally the Cat-Flea -   Ctenocephalides Felis, and not the dog or human flea.  This flea actually lives in our home, and only jumps onto a mammal, that is our cat, dog, or us, when it wants to feed.  The flea then hops off and the main part of its life is spent in and around our homes.

How to recognize a flea problem

Apart from suffering from flea bites yourself, feeling the itching and seeing the many small red scabs especially on the calves of the leg, which will eventually become larvae food, you must be aware of your pet's discomfort.  

There are three easy warnings you can use to check for the presence of fleas on your pet.

  • The pet will be scratching itself frequently, perhaps in a very agitated manner. All animals - like humans - will itch occasionally but you should be able to recognize if a pet develops a recurring and irritating itch from having fleas. A flea itch is not usually caused by the adult flea moving around on the animal's skin. It is more normally caused through the pet developing an allergy to the flea's saliva. But even so the bite can be felt and you yourself may innocently just treat it as a normal scratch.

  • Not all pets will show an allergic reaction however. Just like humans, some are affected and some are not. Another way to spot a flea problem is by recognizing flea droppings in the pet's coat. If you groom your pet regularly, you may find flea droppings amongst their coat. These are small and black, and resemble ground pepper, sometime shaped in a curve. They are made up of blood and secretions from the adult flea and should not be confused with live adult fleas which are bigger and move considerably faster! Faeces will dissolve on a moist piece of cotton wool, leaving a red bloody blotch.

  • Any evidence of skin disease can have fleas as the primary cause. So if your dog or cat exhibits any hair loss, soreness or skin problems, take it to your vet. Do not  just hope it might disappear, it probably will not and may get worse. 

 

If you cannot afford a vet, in any event get rid of the flea problem as best you can. Hoover every day and do a good job. Look at some of the AD links, and buy a simple spray; spray your home as best you can.

Bath your pet in a recommended flea-shampoo. 

Where a reaction to the flea bites has visibly asserted itself and this will be a large sore usually, made worse by your pet's constant scratching. This sore can become infected and an anti-biotic maybe the best cure, along with a recommended anti-inflammatory cream. If these are not available to you, do not snip the hair off your pet where the injury is. Bath the infected place twice a day with salt water and try to get it as clean as possible, dry it off with a clean cloth. Buy a home remedy anti-disinfectant, like Tea-Tree Oil and rub it into the wound. Eventually this should clean up. It will become dry and crusty and some fur may fall off. But if it is dry this is usually a good sign. Of course if it becomes worse, you may have find a cheap vet.

Grooming. If possible, always groom your pet outside on concrete, as newly laid flea eggs will then fall out on to a more alien environment. Any lower temperature and relatively low humidity levels will help to ensure that fleas in any stage of life, will perish. Groom regularly and make it daily. A regularly groomed coat is a healthy one and one 'thinned-out' and better equipped to deal with fleas. 

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Fighting Fleas Naturally.

Chemicals and sprays are the most common tools used but at what detriment  to the health of you and your family? 

The following informs of a few natural, non-toxic ideas to help make your home, garden, and pets less appealing to fleas.  These methods may not eliminate an existing problem, but will greatly assist in keeping the numbers down to a manageable level. 

  • Supplement your pet's diet with Brewers Yeast. This makes the host taste intolerable to the flea. 

 

  • Sprinkle copious amounts of borax powder on your carpets, and leave for as long as you can. Then vacuum thoroughly. The borax draws in fluids and dries the insect out, killing it.  You can mix borax and baking soda together to make a natural rug deodorizer. This is not particularly recommended but it can work.

 

  • Rub your legs with a natural repellent, like Citronella Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Pennyroyal, Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender Oil, or Cedar Wood Oil, as Fleas do not like these strong odours.  Eating a lot of garlic is also good as a repellent but it does not only repel insects.

 

  • When you groom your animal brush in some of these oils diluted. Mix a drop with warm water, shake and spray onto the coat.  But be warned, the fleas may avoid your pets and start attacking you. Do not rub your animal with pure essential oils as these can be very strong and cause shock and discomfort.

 

  • Brush / Comb your pet OUTSIDE, as often as you can with a flea comb, it gets easier the more often you do it. Grooming daily can keep you on top of the job. Use a chemical spray to kill the fleas on the comb.

 

  • Spread Nematodes, which is a natural flea treatment,  available at garden-centers in you garden. A nematode is a colorless worm, also called a roundworm, of which there are over 10,000 species. Nematodes live in soil, fresh water, and the sea. Some are parasites of plants or animals; others feed on dead organic matter and smaller insects. See also guinea worm; hookworm; pinworm.

 

Biological Evolution  -  is  the believed process by which the first and most primitive of living organisms, like the one-celled creature the amoeba, developed into the plants and animal life known today. Until the 18th century it was generally believed that each species of life was separately created by God. The most fitting theory was put forward by Charles Darwin and A. R. Wallace in 1858: they proposed that new species arose by a process of natural selection. Later work and advance technology has supported Darwin’s theory, which is now generally accepted.

Evolution - Survival of the fittest - If we believe in evolution, the propensity to survive, we must recognize that most creatures are the progeny of their ancestors. When talking about insects, fossils tell us that they were living over 100 million years ago. We must recognize that climate and global environment has changed over the millennia, and such variations would have changed the living conditions of many organisms. Some so bad that many either died out, or changed themselves, to accommodate the new conditions. This being that those among them with a greater propensity to survive any change, lived on. 

Using this pattern of events, when we talk of an intelligence in something like the flea, we must realize it is not like any intelligence we might have. The flea does what it does due to a billion repetitions of certain characteristics, which has allowed it to survive. 

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The Flea - how to kill the flea with insecticides and natural remedies.  FLEAS - any member of the insect order Siphonaptera. Fleas are sometimes called parasites, but not all fleas are parasites in the strictest sense.  Many fleas live and feed totally on the exterior of the host, this makes them ecto-parasitic, but many fleas just use the host to feed. The domestic flea, that is the flea that plagues our home, is generally the Cat-Flea -   Ctenocephalides Felis, and not the dog or human flea.  This flea actually lives in our home, and only jumps onto a mammal, that is our cat, dog, or us, when it wants to feed.  The flea then hops off and the main part of its life is spent in and around our homes.

Modified:  09/12/20 09:46                        " LEARN  MORE,  BE MORE "  ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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