I get specimens in the mail for identification and occasionally from pest control companies. I got a flea in the mail from a pest control company for identification. It came from a ground squirrel area on a property near the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico. The flea was Oropsylla montanus (no common name) and it is a known vector of the plague. If you live in the southwest and have ground squirrel burrows on your property, or someplace else they hang out, you really need to dust the burrows or area with food grade diatomaceous earth. The fleas live in the squirrel’s nest and only get on the squirrel to feed, so by dusting the nesting area, you will kill the fleas but not harm the squirrels. Don’t use anything that will kill the squirrels, because if they have any fleas on them, they will leave when the squirrel dies and you or your pets may be the next meal. You can avoid the plague with this method of control. This species of flea also feeds on pack rats and deer mice, so NEVER use rodenticides of any kind for the same reason. I have found this flea on pack rats in Santa Fe when I was the IPM Manager. The pack rats were poisoned by a rodenticide used by a pest control company. Not only will fleas leave poisoned rodents, if any hawks, owls or other animals eat a poisoned rodent, they will die to. Rodenticides are terrible and please don’t allow a pest control company to use them on your property.
If you need any pests identified, contact me and I will tell you how to process them. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.