In household area, infestations often start with the pets or other domestic animals (dogs and cats) and are then spread into the home. They can be seen near places where the host usually rests or sleeps. In addition, they could also be found in shoes, on blankets, sofa and other furniture.
For rural area, attention should be focused in poultry farms where fleas would normally be found. Fleas are not only nuisance but their painful bites can also cause itchiness, swelling, rashes, irritation or even inflammation to the effected skin. Bites of human fleas are generally distributed over the human body. However, a cat flea bites tend to be concentrated on the lower legs.
This pest is regarded as medical importance due to their capability of disease transmission. They act as a vector for various harmful pathogens that can cause diseases such as murine typhus, plague and anemia (by transferring the tapeworm). Eradication of this small and hardy insect shouldn’t just rely on insecticide treatment alone. Other methods, for example, proper sanitation practice such as frequent cleaning and maintaining a hygienic environment is crucial in helping to suppress the flea population.
Fleas are external parasites that live closely with the host where they spend most of their life span on it. Some fleas prefer to live on dogs (Ctenocephalides canis) and cats (Ctenocephalides felis), however, they can also be found on human (Pulex irritans) and other animals. Similar to other blood-feeder insects, their mouthpart structure are meant for piercing the skin and sucking blood from the host.
Adults are small, measuring about 2.5-3mm long with laterally flattened body, which is usually darker in color (brown or reddish brown). They are wingless but are equipped with a pair of strong hind legs enabling them to jump vertically up to 18cm and as far as 33cm. After each blood meal, females could lay 4-10 eggs and a total of up to 400 eggs are produced in a lifetime. The shortest developmental time (egg to adult) could be 17 days. Adults may live more than 2 years if the condition is favorable.