Rat fleas are parasites that adapt easily to very different conditions of existence. Parasitologists consider them to be one of the most dangerous enemies of man, and this is not surprising: it is because of rat fleas that more people died in the history of civilization than from any other arthropod parasites.
At the same time in its biology flea rat is not much different from other relatives. That is why in the dwelling of a man, it occurs only slightly less often than feline, canine or human fleas .
Rat fleas in the apartment: ways of penetration and places of shelters
Externally, with the naked eye, rat fleas are virtually indistinguishable from flea-parasites of cats and dogs. Only under a microscope can we consider the main differences of this species. Below is a photo of a rat flea at high magnification:
Actually rat fleas are called not one species, but a whole genus of species of parasitic insects, the main owners of which are rodents. Of these, the southern rat flea, the infamous carrier of the plague pathogen, parasitizes common gray rats and some other species of rodents.
By the way, not necessarily fleas in rats belong exactly to the genus of rat fleas. They can be parasitized also by human, rabbit, canine, feline fleas and many other species.
Rat fleas look the same as most of their relatives: their small body about 3 mm long is flattened from the sides and has a dark brown color. Wings are not present in fleas, but their hind legs are much longer than two pairs of forelegs. Due to them, insects make huge jumps for their size: up to 30 cm after one shock this crumb can fly.
Rat fleas are temporary parasites of all their hosts. They do not live on the body all the time, but only jump on the animal in order to bite it and drink blood.
In this case, the insects themselves are very attached to the resting places of their host, in order to always have a source of food near by. As a rule, insects settle in the nesting litter in the burrows of rats, ground squirrels, gerbils, marmots, and here they lay their eggs.
On a note
In addition to the rat parasites in the human dwelling - more often in private homes - mouse fleas penetrate. And again, there is no special difference between these insects, and they bite equally painfully and unpleasantly. That's only in big cities in apartments mouse fleas almost never occur.
The larva of the rat flea develops in the host's nest, feeding on rotting remnants of grass or wool. If possible, larvae willingly consume feces of adult fleas that retain a large amount of undigested blood. The photo below shows eggs and flea larvae:
Rat fleas in the apartment settle if there are places with a lot of debris and dirt. It is here, behind the skirting boards, under the old carpets that have not been rubbed for a long time, their larvae can develop quite successfully, and adult fleas bite the person without problems.
The bites of rat fleas are painful and almost always noticeable. These insects do not have an enzyme that has an anesthetic effect, and therefore already with a bite a person feels severe pain. The very place of the bite is very much itchy, swollen, and in sensitive people near him develops an allergic reaction, capable of taking a generalized character with an increase in body temperature and an increase in lymph nodes.
The photo shows multiple bites of rat fleas in an adult. Children react to them even more sharply:
As a rule, it is the bites of rat fleas that give out the presence of these parasites in the apartment. Very often, these insects are found in a house where home rodents live - mice, decorative rats, hamsters.
But even without them, fleas will feel great if they can regularly bite a person, cat or dog. Therefore, as soon as the bites of rat fleas were detected, parasites should be immediately searched and destroyed in order to prevent their reproduction.
What can be dangerous rat flea
Together with human, feline and canine fleas, rats can cause a bulimosis - a fairly common type of dermatological disease, which is a reaction to flea bites.
The symptoms of rat flea bites are quite typical for the whole family of these insects in general:
- swelling in the bite
- copious solid eruptions
- heavy itching
- the appearance of ulcers in the mouth and throat
- headache and mild disorders of the nervous system.
If even a few of these symptoms began to appear after the bites of rat fleas, you need to see a doctor. Self-treatment is not desirable here, since such symptoms indicate the development of an allergy. One can never foresee what will result in it - the consequences can be even nervous disorders and anaphylactic shock.
But the main danger of rat fleas are pathogens that are potentially capable of traveling in the body of a parasite. Among them - a plague wand, anthrax spores, a causative agent of encephalitis and brucellosis, salmonella and sleeping sickness.
In addition, rat fleas carry a huge number of eggs of worms. It is not surprising that every bite of a flea can become a kind of injection of a whole set of foreign biological agents, to some of which a person may not have immunity.
It is interesting
The scientist who described the southern rat flea is the one that caused the death of a third of Europe's population in the Middle Ages - Charles Rothschild. He was a banker, and engaged in entomology as a hobby. He died, suffering from encephalitis and decided to commit suicide. Perhaps one of the fleas studied by him became the cause of his infection with a deadly disease ...
Methods of fighting against parasites
Getting rid of rat fleas in the room is not difficult, but troublesome. Adult insects die by surface treatment with aerosol insecticides such as Raptor or Combat, larvae in addition to this method can be destroyed by special means - dusts and microencapsulated preparations such as Get, which are used against cockroaches and ants.
The most effective method to combat rat fleas is to call special disinsection services. Employees of such companies use in their work very powerful professional insecticides, one treatment of an apartment with which it is enough to completely destroy all parasites.
It is not difficult to remove fleas from a rat or other home rodent: you can use flea remedies for kittens or puppies - sprays, drops on the withers, shampoos. It is important only to choose the correct concentration so as not to exceed the permissible norm for an animal of a certain mass.
Effective preparations against rat fleas
To combat rat fleas most often used:
- aerosol means - both for treatment of a premise, and for deducing fleas at home pets. For the first purpose serve Combat, Raid, Raptor, Medilis Ziper, Carbophos, Microphos, Tetriks. For the second - sprays Hartz, Frontline, Advantage.
- Insecticidal dusts with which larvae are poisoned - Pyrethrum, Fas, dust Clean house .
- Shampoos with which pets are bathed - Mr. Kiss, Purity, Frontline and others.
- Drops for animals on the withers - for example, Stronghold, Hartz, Barsik.
How can you protect yourself against fleas?
In the same cases, when willy-nilly you have to be in places threatening to attack fleas, you should use special means of protection against parasites. Aerosol repellents based on DETA substance, a powerful insecticide, capable of scaring away not only fleas, but also ticks, are most effective and widely used.
In addition, to increase the level of protection against fleas can be, dressing for trips to nature pants on the ankle and trying not to stay long near the places to sleep animals or rodent burrows. Traveling in the tropics (where rat fleas are also numerous), one should avoid staying in too cheap hotels, often infested with parasites.