How To Know If You Have A Flea Problem And How To Deal With It

October 19, 2022
cat flea scratching

If you have pets whether they are indoor, outdoor, or both it is likely you have come across fleas. These pests are extremely hard to get rid of but it can be done if you take the time to deal with them. 

Signs You Have Fleas

If you’ve recently brought a new pet home or your pets have been outside without any flea protection methods it is possible that they will bring these pests inside your home. The first sign that fleas are present on your pet is that they will cause excessive scratching. Scratching behind the ears, around the neck and biting of the paws is a red flag that they have fleas. 

It’s possible to check your pet for fleas by pulling sections of their hair away in order to see their scalp but the best way to check is to get a flea brush or comb. Using these will pull fleas out of the hair where they will become visible on the brush. Keep in mind, however, that fleas can jump so once you see one on the comb you will want to keep it from jumping away. The best place to brush your pet for fleas is outside where you don’t have to worry about them getting back into your house but if this isn’t an option you can quickly place the comb in a ziploc bag and seal it shut. The flea will die within 1-5 days. 

A few fleas can quickly multiply into hundreds which you do not want to happen. So if you notice small black to brownish bugs hopping around your home, black particles that look like pepper in areas where your pet rests, your pets scratching excessively or small yellowish-white colored eggs that look like sesame seeds around areas where your pets sleep then these are signs that you have fleas and you will need to deal with them immediately. 

What Causes Fleas

Your pet is susceptible to getting fleas if they are around other animals that have them, they play outside where wildlife is present (squirrels can pass fleas), someone comes into your home bringing fleas with them, or your pet goes into a home where fleas are present. 

Fleas survive off of animal blood so they will seek any animal out as a food source. Adult female fleas can start reproducing as soon as they’ve had their first blood meal and have mated. Since fleas can live over 100 days these females can produce over 2,000 eggs within their lifetime allowing flea infestations to grow quickly. At the first sign of a flea, pet owners should address the problem. Once the fleas are dealt with pets can be given monthly treatments to prevent fleas from becoming a problem again. 

How To Deal With Fleas

Dealing with fleas is not an easy task. The quickest way is to treat your animal with a flea treatment and then have a professional pest control technician flea bomb your home. However, this is not always an option for everyone as a home needs to be vacant when being bombed. 

If this is not an option for you then you will want to get a flea comb or brush and daily comb your animal making sure that the fleas do not jump off back into your home. One way to slow them down is to brush your pet after you have lathered them in soap. Dish soap for example will hinder the fleas movement making it easier to discard them. You will also want to treat your pet if they are old enough for over the counter flea treatments. Keep in mind that if the infestation is bad enough only a professional pest control technician can eradicate your flea problem. 

Once this is done you will need to wash and dry all used pet bedding or other household bedding, furniture and carpets for fleas and eggs. If fleas have started laying eggs then they can be practically anywhere in your home. Vacuuming all areas of the floor including baseboards and behind furniture will help you to eliminate possible eggs and fleas that are loose. One pro tip when it comes to vacuuming for fleas is to put a flea collar in your vacuum canister so that whatever is vacuumed will die off. 

Can You Have An Allergic Reaction To Fleas

Most people who get bit from fleas will react with red, itchy bumps that resemble that of a mosquito bite around their ankles and legs. The itchiness can last up to a week or more with itching being localized or widespread. Since fleas can live up to months on carpet and furniture it’s common to experience ongoing flea bites until the infestation is completely taken care of. 

In rare cases flea bites can cause allergic reactions in people. Symptoms are similar to normal symptoms but can lead to difficulty in breathing. Hives or large raised welts can occur accompanied by itching and a burning sensation. Even pets can experience allergic reactions, especially with heavy infestations. Some pets are reported to have anemia due to blood loss. 

If you suspect you have fleas on your pet(s) or in your home call your local pest control technician for an inspection

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