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FLEAS: The Uninvited Guests

Ctenocephalides felis —that’s the nearly unpronounceable name for a most unpleasant freeloader: the common cat flea, which also feeds on the blood of dogs, birds, small pets and, unfortunately, humans. These bloodsuckers can jump onto animals and humans outdoors, in the home, at kennels, and at the groomer. Their prolific breeding makes rabbits seem unromantic and when left unchecked, fleas can quickly overrun your house with their offspring.

Here’s how they work: The flea life cycle begins with an adult female flea living on your pet's skin. When she lays eggs, they drop off your pet and into your bedding, carpets, blankets and clothes. Eggs usually hatch in 1 to 10 days. One to two weeks later, they enter the pupal stage. Under most circumstances, adult fleas emerge about 5 to 10 days later. They immediately begin searching for an acceptable host. The key thing to remember is that any adult fleas you find on your pet represent less than 5% of the total fleas in any given environment.