In the previous post about mosquitos, I noted that a friend said they are good for something, in that fish eat the larvae. And I said the fish would have to learn to eat something else, since my plans include the extinction of mosquitos.
Make that double for fleas. Fleas don’t even have the redeeming quality of serving as food for anything, although ants, spiders, and some beetles may eat them occasionally. But an ant would eat a rock if it was small enough. I can’t really say that fleas are a major source of food. If there is any worth to fleas, it may be in flea circuses…if they actually exist, which is in grave doubt.
There is a theme here. Basically I hate anything that eats blood for a living, although I do (reluctantly) make an exception for leeches. Widely used during the Middle Ages for medical treatment of all sorts (usually worthlessly), modern medicine has found a use for them in certain instances, one of which is for the treatment of the genetic disease hemochromatosis. I read a great book called Survival of the Sickest, in which the author says his father regularly gave blood and always felt much better afterwards. Eventually he found out why.
But back to fleas. There are over 2,000 species of fleas worldwide, but some of the more common ones are dog, cat, chicken, rabbit, squirrel, rat, ferret, and mouse fleas. Oh, and human fleas.
In my experience, fleas aren’t that particular., although they do seem to have favorites. A dog flea will be more than happy to jump on a cat, or vice versa. Or on you for that matter, but after one bite they go “Gag! This blood is awful!” and go back to the preferred host.
I used to have several dogs and two cats, and at that time, I learned that I could control the problem by treating only one of the dogs and one of the cats. Sooner or later, a flea was bound to hop on the treated dog or cat and die. These days I couldn’t get by with that, because heartworm and flea medication are combined, so everybody has to get it.
I go to this veterinary clinic where every vet, except maybe one, went to vet school at Auburn U. in Alabama. One of them told me once that he learned in school that in order to kill fleas, the ground has to freeze to a depth of two feet. That’s not happening here (or in Alabama either) so we’re stuck with flea treatment year-round.
I can still hope that some horrible disease begins to afflict fleas. I’ll call it Flea Plague.
I share your dislike of fleas. They are a bitch to get rid of if they lay larvae in your house. My mothers house got infested while we were selling it and it took three expensive treatments to exterminate them, AND NOTHING/NO ONE WAS LIVING IN IT.
So keeping them off of pets is a must for your own sanity as well as the pets.
A reason I don’t have a dog…
Ah yes, I’ve had a few experiences of infestations (my house and cats, not me personally!), and they can be horrendous to get rid of. A couple of years ago we had a big problem with them, and I kept treating the cats, and I was vacuuming the whole house every day, and getting nowhere, then my local ‘Pets at Home’ recommended a carpet spray which she said was fantastic, so I got the kids out of the house, put a face mask on and sprayed every carpet in the house thoroughly – we went away overnight, and when we came back the next day, no more fleas! Haven’t seen another once since. Of course now that I’ve said that…