Fleas are not a pleasant topic to discuss, and it may even make you itch to read about them. However, it’s best to know about these little bitters that can wreak havoc on your life and your home. We’re talking about a flea infestation.
What are Fleas?
Fleas are extremely tiny insects that are a reddish-brown colour. They’re actually parasites that feed off the blood of their hosts, which are mammals and birds. Yes, even birds can get fleas. While fleas usually choose animals to feed on, they also feed on us humans especially if they’re favourite food source isn’t around.
Fleas are able to jump great distances. If you see them jumping, you’ll swear they’re flying. However, fleas don’t have wings. They have very flat bodies and six strong legs that make it easier for them to jump a long way. In fact, this is the method they use to travel from one animal or person to another, though they can also climb and crawl. Fleas are also very fast.
When it comes to the males and females, males are usually smaller than the females. Females can reach a size up to 2.5mm in length, while males are generally about 1mm. This makes them extremely difficult to see sometimes.
How to Tell if You’re Dealing with a Flea Infestation
If you only see one flea, it’s possible it jumped on you while you were outside in the yard. So, you may not have a problem at this point. One flea usually isn’t enough to cause an infestation because it takes both the male and female to reproduce.
So, don’t be worried if you only see one. However, if you see more than one, then you need to check on the signs below to see if you have an infestation or not.
Signs of a Flea Infestation in Your Home
There are some obvious signs that you’re having a flea infestation. While this is a more common problem when you have pets, it’s also possible to have a flea infestation even if you don’t have fur babies in the home.
Signs of a flea infestation in your home include:
- Flea bites: you will notice these on yourself and your pets. When the fleas bite, you may have noticed a small stinging sensation, and then a red, raised spot develops on the site. After that, the bite will become very itchy and irritated. You may think this is a mosquito bite, but flea bites are usually smaller. Flea bites are also more common around your ankles and lower extremities because these are the areas fleas can easily reach for their dinner.
- Excessive scratching: we should say furious scratching is possible, especially is someone is allergic to flea bites. If you’ve noticed your dog or cat scratching excessively, then this could be a sign you’re dealing with an infestation. Dogs and cats will also bite and lick their skin in an effort to tackle the irritation of the bug bites, while also trying to get the fleas off.
- Black or white spots: you may notice that your pet’s bedding is covered in white, black, or brown specks. The white specks are flea eggs, and the dark spots are flea feces.
- Loss of fur: dogs and cats may lose fur when they are infested with fleas. This is due to the allergic reaction, the furious scratching and biting, and more. If your fur baby is experiencing these symptoms, it’s a good time to get them checked out by the vet.
- Pale gums: your pets may also exhibit pale gums due to blood loss from all the flea bites. A flea infestation can quickly lead to anaemia in pets when not treated. This needs to be checked out by the vet as soon as possible.
- See them hopping around: jumping fleas is something that’s not commonly seen, unless you have an infestation of these tiny bloodsuckers.
Where Do Fleas Live in the House?
Fleas can be found in places that are humid and dusty, such as in carpets, upholstered furniture, and more.
When it comes to your cat, fleas are most common found near your cat’s head and neck, along with on her back and belly. The legs and tail seem to be least preferred by fleas.
On dogs, fleas are usually found on his back, chest, stomach, and legs.
Fleas can also live in these areas:
- Carpets & rugs
- Upholstered furniture
- Pet’s bedding, as well as your bedding
- Garden (anywhere outside include around desks, bushes, and leaf piles)
These are areas where fleas can thrive, meaning they can easily and quickly reproduce.
Do Fleas Live on Us?
Fleas don’t live on humans, but they can feed on us. And you if you have a flea infestation at home, you can easily take the fleas with you to the office. That’s because the fleas can travel on your clothing or even in your hair.
Plus, fleas don’t need to live on the host directly as long as they have a food source nearby. They can live about 100 days, and females are not able to lay eggs without access to their favourite food.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
When you’ve seen the signs mentioned earlier in this article, then you’re more then likely dealing with a flea infestation. To get rid of fleas you can try these methods:
Salt: this dehydrates fleas—just sprinkle salt on your carpet, and leave it for a couple of days. Then vacuum the carpets thoroughly.
Dish soap and water: fill a bowl with water and leave it on the carpet or rug. Add some dish soap and place a lamp near the bowl. This will attract the adult fleas, causing them to jump into the bowl, where the dish soap will kill them.
Baking soda: sprinkle baking soda on carpets and then scrub this into the carpet. Leave for a while, and then vacuum the carpets thoroughly.
The only other thing you can do is keep your home clean. This means keep dust cleaned up, your floors vacuumed and washed. It’s also a good idea to regularly clean pet bedding and treat it with a substance recommended by the vet. The goal is to break the fleas’ life cycle.
If these methods don’t work, then it’s time to call a professional exterminator to deal with the flea infestation.