Rat fleas are one of the more deadly parasites known to man. They inhabit the fur of rats and other rodents and feed on their blood. They are capable of transmitting a number of diseases, most notably, the bubonic plague.
Rat fleas will feed from an infected rat, and then bite a human victim. The disease can also be transmitted through an infected rat biting a human, as well. These fleas are commonly thought of as the carriers of the Black Plague in the Middle Ages.
Rat fleas are extremely tiny, less than 2 millimeters in length. They begin as eggs, laid by the female in the fur of the rats. They hatch, and feed off of the feces of other fleas, as well as the dead skin cells that the rat sheds. The larvae will spin a cocoon out of silk and pupate on the rat for 1 to 6 months. After they emerge as adults, they will begin to feed and reproduce.
Rat fleas can live up to a year long on their hosts. Like all fleas, they are capable of jumping amazing distances. Rat fleas will jump up to 200 times their length to travel from host to host.
The rat flea cannot see in the traditional way that most other insects do, but they are capable of registering light. They use special appendages on their bodies to sense their surroundings and will use their mouths to bite and transmit saliva.
Rat fleas can be extremely dangerous to humans and should not be touched or handled. Never touch a rat, dead or alive, without proper protection on your hands and face. Removal of rodents is best left to professional pest control companies. These experts utilize the necessary procedures to safely remove rats and their waste from your home and keep you and your family free from harm.