Having a flea infestation in your home is usually an unpleasant experience. Fleas are small insects, usually 1/8″ in size. They have no wings, but can jump to amazing heights for their size. They also have piercing mouthpieces that allow them to infiltrate the skin of their victims. They feed on blood and cause itchy, swollen red bumps to appear as a reaction to their saliva. Usually, a flea bite is annoying, but harmless. However, in some people and pets, flea bites can cause irritated skin and flea allergy dermatitis. In dogs and cats, they can transmit tapeworms if ingested. Pets with a flea bite allergy will display hair loss and gnaw on their skin. Fleas are responsible for transmitting the bubonic plague and typhus throughout history.
Fleas feed on a wide variety of animals, including humans. These annoying little pests usually enter your home on an animal or pet, but sometimes they can enter on their own – especially if it is a very wet year. Prevention is the best way to avoid having a complete infestation of your home, but it is possible to eliminate an infestation.
Removing a flea infestation from your home is a two-part process:
First you will need to remove the adult fleas from yourself and your pets. There are many treatments and shampoos available for both you and your pets. Several baths may be required to gain control. Be careful if you have cats as many products are designed for dogs and can actually kill cats if used. Be sure to buy only products safe for cats. Shampoos and flea combs are readily available, but plain soapy water kills fleas just as well. Continue to monitor for fleas for several days.
The next step is to remove all the life stages of fleas from your environment. Flea eggs are primarily dropped where your pet sleeps or rests, so gather up all bedding or soft material and wash in soapy water. The larva and pupal stages live in carpets or furniture, so you can vacuum them. Be sure to vacuum several times a day, under couches, under cushions and in corners, and then dispose of the bag outside of the house. Hiring a professional pest control company to control fleas is sometimes the best option.
What Products Should I Use To Get Rid Of Fleas?
There are many products available to control fleas. Chemical flea removals work well and usually contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) to kill all the flea life cycles. Be sure to follow all safety precautions to protect your plants, children and pets. Non-chemical products are also available including citrus peel extracts, sorptive dusts and diatomaceous earth. The key to eliminating a flea infestation is consistent cleaning and vacuuming of the structure, using a product to kill the different life stages and removing/treating any adult fleas from your pets.
How Do I Prevent A Flea Infestation?
Preventing a flea infestation should be a continuous lifelong process and a natural part of owning a pet. There are many effective flea treatments available. Many of these treatments are waterproof and require only one application a month. Again – be careful with cats and young animals, since some products are not safe for them. Year-round flea treatments for your pets are often needed as fleas can develop at any time of the year. With proper flea prevention, you can spare yourself the annoyance and difficulty of dealing with a nasty flea infestation.
The most rapid and effective flea control methods are those administered by trained pest control professionals. Contact a Pest Management, Inc. expert to discuss treatment options.