How to Spot a Flea Infestation

Steps to Prevent Them From Taking up Residence

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you might know the heart-stopping feeling of finding fleas crawling around your beloved four-legged friend’s fur. These tiny but mighty pests can quickly become a large problem in your home. If you’ve never been unlucky enough to suffer a flea bite or see them on a pet, you might be wondering “what do fleas look like?” So if you’ve never seen one, how do you spot fleas to address the issue?

About Fleas

Fleas are tiny, dark reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. Their bites can result in itchy and sometimes painful red bumps. These pesky parasites can even carry deadly diseases like the bubonic plague. There are several types of fleas including cat fleas, dog fleas, human fleas, and oriental rat fleas. The most common domestic flea is the cat flea. Fleas do not have wings and get around by jumping or crawling. They have powerful legs that allow them to jump onto their hosts. In fact, they can jump nearly 80 times their height and 200 times the length of their body.

To reproduce, a female flea lays eggs in the hair or feathers of the host she inhabits. Those eggs then can easily fall off the host and onto wherever it goes including the floor, bedding, furniture, and more. Fleas can lay up to 18 eggs at a time which then hatch in one to 12 days. They then feed on decaying and dead organic matter and move to a third larval stage within 14 days. After this stage, it spins into a cocoon and after a week an adult emerges and begins to search for blood. Vibrations from pets or humans can alert these adults and prompt them to emerge. Fleas typically breed and live pets rest like beds or kennels. But if fleas have established an infestation in your home, they will readily feed on you as well which is why they may be the last thing you want in your home.

Spotting Them at Your Property

Since fleas are so tiny, they can be hard to spot unless you’ve been a victim of a bite. If you’re a pet owner, you should routinely check your pets for infestation. If they seem to be scratching, licking, or biting more, give them a thorough evaluation or make an appointment with your vet. It’s quite possible your pet is suffering from fleas. The sooner you catch it, the simpler it is to treat. Another way to tell if there are fleas in your home is by spotting what they leave behind after they’ve fed. Flea excrement presents as brown or black debris left behind in the fur of your pet. This flea waste is made of blood and other materials. Your furry friends may also get scabs or lose fur in the infested areas on their body.

You may also spot fleas hopping around your home on the carpet, furniture, or drapes if you have an infestation. You’re probably not wondering how to spot fleas if you’re nursing several annoying bites on your ankles and feet. This is one of the telltale signs that you have a problem with these tiny pests in your home. So, how do you avoid fleas in the first place?

Avoiding an Infestation

Fleas make their way into your home pretty easily which is why focusing on avoiding an infestation is key. Fleas tend to hop right onto a pet from infested dirt or grass and then make their way inside your property to procreate. They love warm, moist environments and the summer months tend to be worse for flea infestations.

Protect your pets by keeping them on a regular schedule of prevention medication. Limit their time outdoors and their contact with wild animals. Bathe and brush pets regularly and check for fleas often.

Make your property less appealing to fleas in the first place to limit your risk of infestation. Make sure to keep your lawn groomed and handle rodent problems quickly as they can serve as hosts for cat fleas. Seal cracks and crevices and screen vents and openings to chimneys.

Solving an Infestation

You might know how to spot fleas, but do you know how to get rid of them? Getting rid of fleas is much harder than letting them in. If you suspect an infestation in your home, you should immediately contact a licensed pest control specialist, like those at Impact, to help rid your home of these pesky pests. A course of treatment is extensive and involves vacuuming all soft surfaces in your home like furniture and curtains. The vacuum bag or canister must then immediately be removed and placed in a sealed bag outside the home. Wash all bedding for both your bed and your pet. You’ll then want to treat carpets and un-washable surfaces with spray. Contact your veterinary practice to evaluate and treat your pet.

A professional pest control specialist can guide you through how to effectively rid your home and your pets of fleas. You’ll also likely want to treat your yard so that you don’t end up with another flea infestation. While you can take some steps on your own, you’ll want to consult the professionals to ensure the problem is completely taken care of.