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The rat flea is an insect recognized as the most dangerous blood-sucking parasite among its kind.
These fleas often change prey, easily adapt to any conditions and are able to live without food for a long time.
During the Middle Ages, they caused the death of many people.
There are 2 types of rat fleas: European and southern... The latter parasitizes common gray rats living in sewers and cellars. This type is the most common and dangerous., as it spreads terrible infections.
Originally, these fleas lived in tropical regions and subtropics.from where they settled all over the world. Outwardly, they practically do not differ from other types of fleas. Body length does not exceed 3.5-4 mm... On the sides, it is strongly flattened, so it is difficult for a flea to crush it with your fingers. The covers are chitinous, shiny, dark chestnut color.
Both varieties have 3 pairs of legslocated on the thoracic segments. The fore and middle legs are short, designed to move along the host's body, the hind ones are much longer. They are distinguished by thick femoral segments and elongated tibiae. This structure of the limbs helps to make jumping long distances (up to half a meter).
On the head there are simple round eyes and a small mustache. Piercing-sucking oral apparatus consists of the upper and lower jaws, as well as the lip, equipped with small palps.
The egg is very small in size, length does not exceed 0.6 mm... It is oval, painted in white or yellowish color.
The larva looks like a small worm... The covers are transparent, whitish. Legs, antennae and eyes are absent, which does not prevent the larva from actively moving in search of food.
Next, you will see a photo of rat fleas:
Rat flea lifestyle
Bloodsuckers cannot be on the owner's torso all the time. The rat plays the role of the dining roomwhere parasites come to eat. Once full, the flea jumps off the rodent and returns to its permanent habitat. Most often bloodsuckers live in rat neststo have constant access to the victim's body.
Here the females lay their eggs. Fertile individuals in their short life can produce more than 350-370 of their own kind... They lay eggs gradually, 6-7 pieces per day... It takes from 4 to 9 days to develop an egg, then a larva emerges from it. She begins to actively feed, using plant debris, excrement of adult fleas and dried blood residues.
The larva passes through 3 molts. Its development takes from 9 to 16 days under favorable conditions and over 150, if the conditions for life are unsuitable. Optimal living at a temperature of 21-23 ° and a humidity of no more than 75%.
This is followed by the pupal stage. The larva, which already looks like an adult insect, wraps itself in a cocoon and "sleeps". This stage ends under normal conditions in 2-4 days, but it can last for several months.
An adult emerges from the pupa, which begins to look for a victim. A flea can go without food for a long time.... But, having found a suitable owner, it sticks to it for a long time in order to get enough.
The harmfulness of rat fleas
These parasites can feed not only on the blood of rats... People and pets also fall prey to rat fleas. Moreover, their bites are very painful (what do flea bites look like?). Unlike their relatives, rat parasites do not release the pain-relieving enzyme.
In addition, the site of the bite is often inflamed, severe itching appears, tumor, redness, putrefaction... Allergic reactions often occur, the bite becomes dense, it does not go away for a long time. Multiple bites can cause general body reactions in the form inflammation of the lymph nodes, headaches, the formation of ulcers in the oral cavity and a nervous disorder.
And this is not the worst harm from a bite! Rat fleas actively spread such dangerous diseases as salmonellosis, rat typhus, brucellosis, tularemia, encephalitis, anthrax and plague... It was rat fleas that became the main culprits of the plague epidemic, which reduced the population of Europe by a whole third in the Middle Ages. A rat flea bite resembles a game like Russian roulette. Here the main question is the same: will it carry over or not?
And again, these are not all dangers! Any rat flea must carry a whole bunch of helminth eggs... When bitten, she is guaranteed to pass them on to her victim.
We wrote here about what diseases rat and other fleas can carry, and here you can find out about what harm fleas from various animals can do to humans.
- Wash the wound with warm water and soap.
- Treat with iodine or brilliant green.
- Apply something cold to the wound.
- Take any antihistamine medication.
- The bite itself should not be combed... Itching can be relieved with an insect bite ointment.
We discussed in detail how to treat the symptoms of a flea bite in a separate article.
Below are photos of rat flea bites:
Ways of entry of rat fleas into homes.
The main carriers of fleas are their immediate owners - rats... Having made his way into a residential building, the rodent will leave behind a "present".
Also fleas can arrive on residents' clothes or in a bag... They can be brought by cats or dogs from a walk. From basements, parasites can enter apartments through cracks in floors or vents.
We wrote here about how fleas can get into homes.
Fighting rat fleas
You should start eliminating fleas in the house immediately after they are found! The longer you delay with the operation, the more parasites will have to be removed. Don't forget that rat fleas reproduce at a tremendous rate!
First of all, you need to process pets... There are many tools for this.
- Collars... They expel parasites from the animal in a couple of days and protect against attack for 1 or 2 months.
- Drops... An effective and low-toxic insecticide for the animal should be placed on the skin where the pet cannot lick it off. Any flea drops can be used, such as Celandine, Stronghold, Leopard.
- Shampoos... Suitable only for those animals that are used to swimming. Means such as Frontline, Celandine, Mister Kiss.
Sprays are used to protect people containing DEET... They help scare away rat fleas, preventing them from jumping on the person and biting him.
Removing fleas from home is more troublesome and time consuming. To be sure to get rid of these parasites, it is recommended to call a dedicated professional service... She will be able to eliminate all rat fleas the first time.
When deciding to kill insects yourself, choose a good, effective insecticide. Preparations against any household pests can be suitable: cockroaches, ants, bedbugs.
- Sprays and aerosols... Work effectively Combat, Reid, Raptor.
- Liquid concentrates... They not only perfectly destroy insects, but also protect the house from re-invasion for several weeks. Can be applied Sinuzan, Geth, Chlorpyrimak, Executioner, Biorin, Tsifox.
- Dusts... Used for baiting larvae. They last for a long time. Most popular Clean house, Fas, pyrethrum powder.
How to treat a house correctly?
Fleas settle in secluded corners with large accumulations of dust and dry debris. Therefore, the first thing to do is get rid of the dirt. During general cleaning, you will have to look into every corner move furniture, remove carpets from walls and floors... Collect trash with a vacuum cleaner, and throw the bag out of it or wash it thoroughly.
After harvesting, you can start treating with insecticides. Recommended spray all suspicious areas of possible habitat of parasites... Dusts and powders scatter in secluded cornerswhere insecticides cannot be reached by children and pets.
In a private house with a backyard, it is necessary to carry out deratization in order to eliminate rats as the main source of parasites. You can read more about fighting rats here. After that, they begin to destroy fleas.
In the fight against the most dangerous blood-sucking parasites, all means will do! To guarantee the elimination of rat fleas, it is advisable to combine several insecticides at once and repeat the treatment. Successful hunting!