Common household pests challenge homeowners regularly and throughout the seasons. While the pests seasonally change,…
Fleas are more common than you think and can be found in all 50 states. Pets that rarely venture outdoors can pick up fleas and bring them inside your home. Outdoor cats are notorious for picking up fleas and bringing them to other household pets and humans. Pest control for fleas does not have to be overwhelming or expensive, but it is necessary. Let’s learn a little about fleas and how they impact your family and pets.
What are fleas?
According to the CDC, fleas are tiny insects that survive by feeding on animal or human blood. Their bites can cause discomfort, itchiness, and irritation. Sometimes, fleas can infect people or pets with the germs that cause flea-borne typhus, plague, or cat scratch disease.
Fleas are small, flightless parasites that feed on the blood of various warm-blooded animals, depending on the species, and can transmit diseases to their host. Although most people think of fleas as a problem only the family pet has to deal with, they can also bite humans and are the most common transmitter of the rare bubonic plague. While pet owners are primarily at risk for flea infestations, these biting pests can also be brought onto a property via wild animals like raccoons or skunks and into a home. The most common species is the cat flea, which often feasts on cats, dogs, and humans. (Pestworld.org)
Fun Facts about Fleas from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
- Fleas are the most common external parasite in dogs
- Causes intense itching and skin infections
- Only adult fleas live on animals, but younger ones live in the surrounding environment
- Effective management must treat both the pets and the indoor and outdoor areas nearby
- Carriers of diseases like tapeworms, which can also affect people
How do you know if you have a flea infestation?
There are many signs of flea infestation, but the most common include scratching, hair loss, and red bumps. You may also notice small black specks, which are usually flea feces, scattered throughout pet beds, carpets, and rugs. Flea larvae are harder to find and are typically located in more secretive locations like behind furniture or inside the cracks of floors. These eggs are deposited on your pet by the female adult flea, allowing them to fall off of your pet as they move and dispersing them throughout the areas your pet lives in. (Pestworld.org)
Are fleas hard to get rid of?
According to the CDC, Getting rid of fleas is a difficult process due to the long lifecycle of a flea. Moderate to severe infestations will take months to control and require a four-step process for complete elimination:
- Sanitation. Thoroughly clean areas where fleas frequently breed. This includes washing bedding, rugs, and pet bedding, and thoroughly vacuuming and sweeping floors, carpeted areas and along the edges of walls.
- Pet treatment. Every pet in the home must be treated. Thoroughly bathe pets with soap and water, then comb them with a flea comb. Pay careful attention to the face and neck regions and the area in front of the tail. Soap will act as a gentle insecticide to kill adult fleas. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing the right flea control product for your pet.
- Home treatment. Begin home treatment at the same time as pet treatment. This keeps all treatments on the same timeline and helps disrupt the flea life cycle. A licensed commercial pest control applicator can help you determine which products are best for inside your home and in the yard. In general, focus outdoor treatment on shady areas and places where pets spend the most time.
- Follow-up. Fleas have a complex life cycle. At some stages of their life cycle, they are resistant to insecticides and other flea control products. Two or more follow-up treatments are needed to get rid of fleas in all life cycle stages within 5-10 days after the first application. Additionally, vacuuming and sanitation practices should be ongoing throughout this period to pick up all remaining eggs and juvenile fleas.
Flea prevention at home
Like so many other pests, diligence and consistency are the key to successful treatment and removal indoors and outdoors. Fleas love to hide in bedding, carpeting, upholstery, and furniture. They like it warm and cozy.
Indoors: Be aware. Vacuum at least once a week after flea extermination, and be sure to empty the canister outdoors. Wash your pet’s blankets and beds frequently and examine your pet for signs of fleas. If your pet sleeps with you, examine the bed sheets for signs of fleas.
Outdoors: Remove leaves or brush piles and keep your lawn consistently trimmed. Store garbage cans away from the home, and be sure the lids are tightly sealed. Do not leave food or dog food outdoors. It will attract mice and other animals.
Keep your family and pets safe and healthy by maintaining year-round flea prevention for all pets in your home.
Pest control for fleas
Finding fleas on your pets or in your home does not equate to unsanitary conditions. Pets can be prone to pick up fleas and ticks as they enjoy your backyard, dog parks, or a long morning walk. Once inside your home, they are tenacious and can be challenging to remove. Keeping your family healthy and safe can be solved by your veterinarian and a licensed pest control company.
Contact us for a free inspection and maintain a flea control schedule to ensure your pets and family are healthy and safe.