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Fleas. Insects as Weapons or "Bug Bombs". What are the possibilities?. Insects that sting Insects that carry disease Insects that bite/suck Insects that produce toxic substances Affect food supply. World War II. Japan and the Pingfan Project Plague and fleas

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Fleas

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Fleas


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Insects as Weapons or

"Bug Bombs"


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What are the possibilities?

  • Insects that sting

  • Insects that carry disease

  • Insects that bite/suck

  • Insects that produce toxic substances

  • Affect food supply


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World War II

  • Japan and the Pingfan Project

  • Plague and fleas

  • Mass produced (500 million fleas per year).

  • Released fleas from aircraft

  • Also developed other insect-vectored

  • diseases.


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Taxonomic classification

  • Phylum: Arthropoda

  • Class: Insecta

  • Order: Siphonaptera

  • Genera:

  • Pulex irritans (human flea) 致痒蚤,亦称人蚤

  • Xenopsylla  cheopis 印鼠客蚤

  • Ctenocephalides canis (dog flea)

  • Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea): the most prevalent of all flea species


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Host spectrum

  • Canids(犬科动物), felids(猫科动物), humans, calves, opossums(负鼠), chickens, raccoons(浣熊)(best found on cats, stray dogs and mongoose猫鼬)

  • Host preferential rather than host specific


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Geographic distribution

  • Worldwide - survive best in humid conditions (90% humidity).


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Morphology

  • Adults - 1.5 to 4 mm long, dark brown, laterally flattened, wingless, piercing-sucking mouthparts, genal (on the cheek) and pronotal (on the posterior border of the 1st thoracic segment) combs (ctenidia), rounded head


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雌蚤


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蚤头部及前胸


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  • 致痒蚤(Pulex  irritans)  亦称人蚤,在眼下方有眼鬃毛1根;受精囊的头部圆形,尾部细长弯曲

  • 印鼠客蚤Xenopsylla  cheopis  眼鬃毛1根,位于眼的前方;受精囊的头部与尾部宽度相近,且大部分呈暗色


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  • Eggs - about 0.5 mm long, oval, pearly white (nonfertile females will produce eggs, but they will be nonviable)


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  • Larvae - about 6 mm long, maggot-like, creamy-yellow, 13 segments with bristles on each


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  • Pupae - with a loosely woven cocoon which collects debris, about 4 x 2 mm


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Life cycle


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Life cycle (stages)

  • Eggs are laid in the host‘s bed, den 兽穴, etc. (called environmental hot spots); or laid on the host, where they fall off easily because they are not sticky.

  • Larvae feed on dry blood, feces, etc. and may remain in this stage as long as 200 days.


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  • Pupal stage is the most tolerant stage and can last from 10 days up to 50 weeks as pre-emergent adult, depending on environmental conditions

  • Pre-emergent adults are stimulated to emerge by heat, carbon dioxide, movement (human or pet activity). Without stimuli, emergence will be delayed.

  • Life cycle takes an average of 18-21 days but may take 20 months or more.


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Habits

  • Life span of adult: 1 year, several months when unfed.

  • Breeding places: Eggs are laid in hosts’nest or even hair.

  • Feeding: The larvae take adult fleas’ feces and other organic debris as their food. Both male and female adults are blood suckers. They have relative blood preference.


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Habits

  • Thermo-tropism: Fleas prefer warmth.

  • Seasonal distribution: Majority are prevalent from May to October.

  • Activity: They may jump as far as 30-40 cm and as high as 20 cm, but their jumping is not directional. The transmission of flea is performed only by their host.


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Fleas and Diseases

  • Causes irritation, scratching, restlessness

  • Vector of Yersinia pestis (plague)

  • Endemic typhus or flea-borne typhus.

  • Intermediate hosts of some tape-worm: Dipylidium caninum, Hymenolepis nana.


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Control

  • Eradication of rodents.

  • Eradication of fleas by burning, chemicals.

  • Personal hygiene, rat-proof buildings, and do not let dogs and cats come into the houses.


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