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How Do You Know if Your House Has Fleas: 7 Ways to Check
Nobody wants pests in their homes. Unfortunately, our furry loved ones can bring them in without us knowing. If left untreated, a flea problem can become an infestation, putting you and your pets at risk for serious health issues. Keep reading to find out the 7 common signs of fleas and what to do if these signs are present in your home.
1. Itching and Scratching
Fleas feed on warm-blooded creatures, like humans or pets.
They’re more likely to feed on your pets and as a result, it will make them very itchy. This itchiness is an allergic reaction to flea bites and saliva.
To comfort the itchiness, pets partake in intense and consistent scratching, licking, and biting.
If you notice more of these grooming habits than what you’re used to seeing, part their fur to look for fleas and bites.
Fleas often live in areas like the head, neck, armpits, groin, and base of the tail.
2. Red Skin
If your pet has a serious reaction to fleas, you may see rashes or lesions as a result of bites.
Again, check your pet’s skin for signs of an allergic reaction.
3. Hair Loss
Excessive itching, scratching, and biting lead to unexpected hair loss.
This could be due to an allergic reaction or due to your pet continuously going after the same area.
Hair loss like this typically occurs in patches where fleas gather.
Aside from causing your pet extreme discomfort, a flea infestation can lead to significant blood loss or infection. Did you know that fleas were responsible for Europe’s Black Plague?
Although it isn’t common for diseases like this to spread from fleas, it’s better to take precautions.
If you suspect your pets are struggling with fleas, consult a veterinarian.
4. Odd Behavior
Wouldn’t it drive you mad if bugs were living on you and biting your skin?
It would, and the same goes for pets.
If they have fleas, you may notice them becoming more irritable, darting around the house, and avoiding carpeted areas.
5. Flea Remnants
This part is kind of gross so bear with us.
Fleas feed on blood. After they digest it, they excrete black or reddish-brown droppings.
These are very small but are sometimes visible.
These droppings, sometimes called flea “dirt”, collect on pet fur, carpet, and furniture.
It’s easy to mistake flea dirt for regular dirt, so you may have to do the following test:
- Collect spec on a white paper towel
- Spray water onto the paper towel
- If the specs cause a reddish-brown color to seep into the paper towel, it’s likely flea dirt
Additionally, you can wear white socks around your house to collect these dark specs. Then, test them on a paper towel.
It’s important to clean your home regularly, as these remnants are not only disgusting but feed young fleas early in their life cycle.
Tapeworms can cause severe damage to your pet’s health.
Unfortunately, fleas often carry these parasites. Then, when pets bite at the fleas, they may eat the tapeworms.
If you see partial or whole tapeworms in your pet’s feces, take them to a vet immediately and proceed with investigating your home for fleas.
7. The Fleas Themselves
The most obvious sign of fleas is seeing the fleas themselves.
They’re quite small at 3mm in length. They’re brownish, reddish, and you’ll probably see them hopping around at great distances.
In fact, they can jump up to 130 times their body length, making them one of the best jumpers in the world.
Their eggs are even smaller and obviously don’t jump. They’re approximately 0.5mm in length and are clear and translucent.
So, it will be difficult to determine an infestation based on seeing eggs with the naked eye.
Keep in mind that you can still have an infestation even if you don’t physically see the fleas themselves. If you suspect any of these signs in your home or pets, follow the advice below to get rid of these parasites before it becomes a severe issue.
What To Do If You See Signs of Fleas
If you suspect there are fleas on your pet, be aware that they’re probably in your home, furniture, and yard, too.
The internet suggests that there are many home remedies for getting rid of fleas. These include making a flea trap, spraying your home with certain herbs and fruit juice, spreading baking soda, salt, or diatomaceous earth on your carpet, and so on.
While it would be nice if these worked effectively, they simply don’t.
The reason typical home treatments don’t work is due to the life cycle of fleas.
The Life Cycle of Fleas
Fleas have a four-part life cycle.
First, they are eggs for anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks. They then hatch into larva, where they live for several weeks while accumulating strength.
Once ready, the larva goes into the pupa form for days or weeks. It then goes into the final adult form, living anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.
As you can see, the life cycle of fleas is quite variable. This is because it depends on environmental factors, such as heat, to initiate each stage.
What This Means
When fleas infest your home, you can bet there are many in each of the four stages of life.
The effective treatment of fleas requires an acknowledgment of this. It isn’t a situation where you can vacuum once, clean your pet and bedding, and call it good.
Rather, treatment requires dynamic planning to ensure the fleas are killed after they hatch from egg or pupa.
If this isn’t done, you can remove the larva and adult fleas from your home for some time, but then the egg and pupa will mature and you’ll have an infestation again.
Don’t Wait Any Longer
If you see any of these signs of fleas on your pet or in your home, get help as soon as possible.
You want to keep yourself and your pets healthy — fleas will prevent that.
Rather than taking risks by trying to treat the infestation yourself (and potentially failing), contact us today.
If you suspect you have any other pest issues, keep reading our blog to get more information and reach out to us for a quote.