Facts About Fleas You’ll Wish You Never Knew
1. The Black Death
Everybody knows fleas helped kill half of Europe’s population by spreading the black death in the 1300s, but that was back then, right? Wrong. The US averages 7 bubonic plague cases a year, mainly in the west (we’re looking at you, New Mexico and Arizona!). Thousands of plague cases are reported around the world every year.
Fleas lay up to 50 eggs per day, and new fleas hatch in less than 10 days.
A female flea can produce 2,000 eggs during her lifetime. In honor of Ms. Anderson’s 4th grade math class, consider this – if a flea produces 2,000 eggs, how many fleas will you have after 4 generations, if you start with 10 female fleas? ONE TRILLION FLEAS! No wait, that’s not right. TWENTY BILLION FLEAS! Either way, yuck.
4. Meal Time
Fleas eat 10-15 times a day and suck 15 times their body weight in blood. A day. Every day. Think, your buddy eating 2,100 Big Macs. Every day.
5. Sleeping Beauties
Fleas in their dormant state, without an animal to feed on, can survive for 6 months, hanging around, waiting patiently, until the moment is right… (Which explain why fleas often come back a few weeks after you treat for them.)
Even worse, the dormant flees are virtually indestructible – they are impervious to insecticides. But they can be easily vacuumed up and thrown away, sending them off to be someone else’s problem (we cannot recommend dumping them in your buddy’s car). But you can’t just think about vacuuming, you actually have to do it, often. Flea spray alone won’t do the trick.
The brown spots you see on a dog with fleas is gross – it’s so gross we can’t even bring ourselves to tell you what it. A hint – if you think it’s “just” flea poop, it’s not…
8. Hide and Seek
Fleas are great hiders – for every flea you see, there are 50 more lying in wait.
Unlike some bugs, flea eggs aren’t sticky and simply fall off an infested animal (and onto wherever the animal is – think carpet, bed, couch…). In the words of Elisabeth J. Giedt, D.V.M., Director for Continuing, Extension and Outreach, Center for Veterinary Health Services at Oklahoma State University, “a flea infested pet is like a living salt shaker of flea eggs!” That’s just gross, Elisabeth Giedt.
10. Feeling Itchy?
And an interesting non-flea fact – sometimes we feel “fake” itches when we think about creepy crawly things. It’s called illusory parasitosis. Chances are you’re itching now. It’s probably illusory parasitosis, not real fleas. Right?
11. Flea Control
And one last thing – Americans spend more than a half billion dollars a year on flea medicines. Save money on flea control products by shopping hundreds of pet stores at one site on LuckyPetStore.com. Follow us on Facebook for pet info, product recalls and more.