House Fleas

How Do Fleas Get Into The House? - Fleas are a common agent in transferring disease and can find their way into your home through many means. They can be brought into the house by animals (pets and vermin) as well as humans. Fleas are very robust and resilient insects/parasites which belong to the Siphonaptera order. Their bodies are tough and able to resist force, so they are unlikely to die through the means of scratching and a treatment will be needed. Start by establishing where the parasites are, how they got there and if they have managed to infest you, your children or your cats or dogs. If you have house fleas but no pets then it is likely they may have been brought in on clothes, in bags, on visitors or by other animals. Conduct a thorough investigation of the household ensuring no area is missed and no cushion unturned. Check the yard as well to see if they originated from there. As adult fleas jump around, their eggs and larvae manage to find ways into cracks and crevices. You will want to know where the adults are and how many you are likely to have on your hands - the average household population of fleas are made up of 5% adult, 10% pupae, 35% larvae, 50% eggs. They only infest animals that have a nest site, which is why most rodents (rats, house mice, etc.) have fleas but most ungulates (cows, horses, deer, etc.) do not.

Getting Rid of House Fleas - Once you have worked out how they have entered the household and established exactly where they are, then you can begin to look at the methods of getting rid of the nasty parasites. If you know little about fleas, they are tiny wingless insects that live of the blood of a host. A host can be a human, dog, cat, birds or any wild animal living nearby. They range in color from a light to a dark brown and the adults jump up to 150 x their own length. They can carry diseases (such as the bubonic plague!) and tapeworm. They can cause both you and your pet’s ill health if they are allowed to bite you and even worse if they are inadvertently swallowed. Their larvae feed on many types of organic debris such as bits of hair, skin, and feathers so always look in any thick carpet to see if they managed to crawl in. Given the right environment they can multiply and reproduce at a very fast rate. It is believed that female adults are able to lay up to 950 in their lifetime. There are lots of different species of flea (over 2300) and the most common found in the household will be the human, cat and dog flea.

fleas in the house

How to Kill House Fleas - To get rid of household fleas, you have several techniques that you could try. Insecticides are used in some households and these can be applied through the use of foggers, bombs, powders and flea sprays. You have several brands on the internet that you could buy, although it is recommended that you use the top proven brands. If you are unsure which product to use, consult family, friends and maybe forums. Infestations are such common occurrences that you will find many people have suffered the same dilemma. If you have pets then you have to treat the pets at the same time that you treat your home. You could choose to take the pet to your local veterinarian or you may choose to apply treatments yourself. However, when using the foggers and bombs, you must ensure that the household is vacated by everyone while the insecticide fills the area. There are several products that are toxic to animals and harmful to humans, so always read the label and ensure the home is evacuated. What you don’t want, is to treat the home and then let the pet walk fleas straight back in, so carefully plan your extermination. Pets can be treated with flea combs, dips, shampoos, wipes, collars and medication (pills). Always be certain to use animal specific treatments (not a cat product on a dog or vice versa). To kill all the fleas in the house you need to aim at the adult parasites (with the use of an adulticide) and the eggs, larvae and pupae (with an insect growth regulator). Ensure that the products you use are targeting every stage of the flea life-cycle; otherwise you could find yourself repeating the application months down the line.

Fleas in the House

Fleas in House Treatment - No matter which treatment you end up choosing, the recommendation is that you vacuum the house on a regular basis. As mentioned above, concentrate on targeting every area that the fleas may be able to hide (floor boards, carpets, curtains, cupboards, furniture, cracks in the floor and windows & under rugs or covers). Always dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after, by sealing it and getting it out of the house and into the garbage. If you don’t seal the bag or get rid of it the parasites may simply jump back out and you will be back to stage one.

Getting Rid of House Fleas

Eliminate Fleas in the House through Prevention - Prevention is always a better route to take when dealing with parasites. Regularly use repellents and prevention treatments on your pets and yourselves. Frequent sanitization and looking at ways of stopping the flees getting into the home is very important. Parasites are a common problem, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. You have to put in time, effort and money to clear infestations. That’s why it is always recommended that you prepare and control the household environment prior to any problems occurring. Treating carpets, yards and pets prior to flea season will also be a good preventive step. Target all areas of the home with powders, sprays and repellents where parasites may try to make their way in. Also treat the lawns outside with Diatomaceous earth. There are many natural plants and oils that could be used to give your household a fresh, relaxing smell as well as repel fleas. See our natural flea repellent page for ideas.

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