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Fleas are small blood-sucking insects. Adult fleas must feed on blood in order to reproduce; however, adults can live for long periods without feeding. Fleas usually live and breed most heavily where pets rest. Pets infested with fleas bite and scratch themselves constantly. Cat fleas and dog fleas may be intermediate hosts for the dog tapeworm. If fleas are established in a home, they will feed on man as well as on the pets. Some people suffer more than others from flea bites. The bites can cause intense itching often resulting in secondary infection.


dog flea cat flea flea life cycle chart
Adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied (difficult to crush between fingers), have three pairs of legs (hind legs enlarged enabling jumping) and are flattened vertically or side to side allowing easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of the host. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches.

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Identification and Control Information (each will open in a new window)


It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.