Life Cycle, Habits and Control of Fleas

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Fleas are not newcomers to this planet. Fossilized fleas have been found from as far back as the Cretaceous period. Today, fleas occupy every continent and every major island on earth. As of 1979, there was a total of 2,259 species of fleas described and named in the world. A total of 325 species can be found in the United States and Canada. Of these species at least 22 will bite man.

Most species are found in the temperate regions of the world. A lesser number of species are found in the tropics and in Antarctica. Fleas often have in general, the same geographical distribution as their preferred host.

“Flea” is the common name for all species that belong to the insect order Siphonaptera. Translated from Greek to Latin, the language that scientific names are written in, the name could be read as, siphon-a-ptera. In English, this may be translated as a siphon(tube)- without-wings, a very picturesque description of the flea. The common name flea dates back to about 750 years and has always been associated with humans and their domestic animals.

Fleas are important to man and his domestic animals in two ways. One way is because of the medical aspect, and the other is because of the economic aspect associated with flea infestations.

NOTE: Fleas are known for their ability to jump. The record jump for the cat flea is 7 3/4 inches high and 13 inches long. If man could overcome his mass and his weight problem, as related to air resistance, he could jump an equivalent of 900 feet high and to a distance of 1,000 feet.