Ctenocephalides felis and relations

Hosts: The cat flea is the most frequently found flea, although the dog, human and stick-tight fleas are also found. Fleas may attack a wide variety of warm-blooded animals, including dogs, humans, chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats and mice.

Range: Throughout the United States

Habitat: Several species of fleas may be pests in the United States, and five kinds have been found on a single animal. Fleas often breed in large numbers where pets and other animals live.

Health risks: Pets infested with fleas bite and scratch themselves constantly. Their coats become roughened and the skin can become infected. Symptoms of sensitized hosts are often mistaken for mange. Cat fleas and dog fleas may be intermediate hosts for the dog tapeworm. Some people suffer more than others from flea bites. The bites can cause intense itching often resulting in secondary infection. The usual flea bite has a small red spot where the flea has inserted its mouthparts. Around the spot there is a red halo with very little swelling. Many people do not react to flea bites at all, while others are sensitive and suffer severe allergic reactions. Fleas may also vector such human diseases as plague, typhus and tularemia.

Management: Flea control is difficult for pet owners to implement because two things must be done: (1) treat the pet and (2) treat the premises. Talstar® Professional insecticide should be applied inside the house as a spot treatment to areas where fleas are known to be hiding. Outdoors, infested areas should be treated by applying a broadcast treatment of Talstar Professional to the landscape. Special effort should be given in treating areas frequented by pets. Pets should be kept off treated surfaces until dry. Do not apply Talstar Professional directly to pets.

Download our Best Management Practices sheet for cat fleas for more information.