If you’ve ever been woken up by a flea bite, then you understand why it is important to get rid of these flying pests. Flea bites make a person to itch their skin which turns red.
Fleas are mainly brought into the house by pets or small mammals that are hosts in our homes without our knowledge. Similar to other pests, fleas multiply quickly and before you know it, you will already be having an infestation. Dogs, cats, rats, mouse or even other small mammals that play host in your home can bring fleas.
When you notice that you have fleas, it is important to tackle the issue and get rid of them right away. Dealing with fleas is a tricky issue but can be done by any person without the need of an expert. There are various methods to use as you will learn later in this article. The procedures are very easy to follow and will help you deal with the flea problem for good.
Signs of flea infestation
Adult fleas – this is the easiest way to detect a flea infestation in your home. When fleas are in their adult stage, they can be seen easily. They can be seen jumping around on people and pets as they try to find a host where they will be feeding from.
Flea eggs – another way of detecting fleas is by observing their eggs. Flea eggs may be hard to detect but they can still be seen. This includes their larvae and pupae stages. All of these three stages are very secretive and less active. But they can be detected below or behind the furniture, in carpets, rugs, pet’s bedding, in cracks and grooves in the floors. At times, flea eggs might fall from the pet and scatter around the whole house or in their resting places.
Flea larvae and cocoons – these are the hardest to detect. The larvae spin cocoons in about 5-20 days after hatching from their eggs. Actually, cocoon or the pupae stage of fleas account to 10 percent of their total population. When they turn to adulthood, they don’t show up until a potential host is identified by vibration, heightening levels of carbon dioxide and body heat associated with the host. So, a person or pet walking alert the flea to emerge from its cocoon to fed.
Bites – one of the usual signs of flea infestation in your home is flea bites. When fleas start jumping from one place to another, they look for a host such as an animal, bird or human so that they can suck blood. It is good to visit a doctor and be sure that it is a flea bit and not any other thing.
Scratching – another common sign is when pets scratch and groom themselves repeatedly. Fleas cause discomfort to pets as they suck their blood. When adult fleas feed on the blood of pets, the pets will scratch themselves hard as a retaliation of trying to get rid of the pain they are undergoing.
Feces – although this is very hard to detect, fleas can leave behind their feces. Adult flea feces can be a sign of flea infestation. This looks similar to coarse ground black pepper and may be observed in per beds, rugs, carpets, and other places where the animal host rests.
How do fleas survive in your home?
Even though fleas are small, wingless and measure around 2.5mm long, they make the lives of their host to be unbearable. Fleas have bodies that are shiny and reddish brown in color covered with microscopic hair and are compressed to enable for simple movement via animal fur. Usually, adult flea feed on drawing blood from their hosts, while larvae feed on organic debris, specifically the feces of adult fleas, which have undigested blood. Adult fleas draw blood from cats, dogs, rats, mice, rabbits, domesticated animals and wild animals.
After having their meal, fleas reside in rugs, carpets, on the ground, cracks on the floor, animal bedding, and upholstery. If you’re not keen, you might not be in a position to see them completely as they multiply at a rapid rate in your home.
How to get rid of fleas
Start by killing the fleas at the source
A good number of flea infestations emerge from pets. Your lovely dog or cat might have caught fleas while running within the yard or from other animals during play. Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. What you require to do is to treat the source of the flea first. Does it matter if you properly clean the whole house and your pet brings in more fleas? So, it’s better to deal with the root of the cause.
Thoroughly clean the pet by using a flea comb. Pay attention to the neck and tail of your pet since these are flea’s favorite places. The fleas that you comb off the pet should be dropped into hot soapy water in order to suffocate them. After that, talk to your veterinary doctor about flea control treatment for your pet. He or she will recommend a treatment that is suitable for your pet, climate, and surrounding. This may be in form of shampoos, topical, sprays, spot treatments and dips. A good flea bomb also can help to get rid from flea.
If you discover that only one pet has fleas, don’t assume but as well treat all the other pets. This will help you prevent any further spread and deal with the problem once. You might be required to apply these treatments after sometime to fully deal with the flea problem.
Prepare the house for thorough cleaning
After treating your pets and freeing them of the flea burden, then you should go ahead and ready your house for thorough cleaning to get rid of fleas. Start by picking up all stray items on the floor and keeping the safe. These include toys, clothes, boxes, shoes, papers and much more. The carpet should be left to be free of any items so that it can be cleaned perfectly. Also, items in a closet and below the bed should be removed. Remove the furniture too, if possible. You can leave the bigger items on the floor.
Remove pets and children from the house
Moreover, after removing cats and dogs, or chasing out pests like rats and mice, you should as well move other pets on the house such as birds and fish. This includes the aquarium tanks and bird cages, together with their food bowls. Also, put off the system that supports the pet’s surrounding, like aerators in fish tanks or heat rocks in reptile tanks.
In case you had a heavy flea infestation, it’s great to destroy and get rid of all the pet bedding. For small infestations, washing the bedding vigorously in hot, soapy water is crucial for killing fleas and demolishing their eggs and larvae. At least, you will be required to clean your beddings using this procedure for a month to get rid of all the fleas. Even after you’ve chased away all the fleas, you should keep out with the cleanliness to prevent future infestation.
Devise a great method of getting rid of fleas
After you’re done clearing the house, you should take a walk in every room and look for signs of flea and their larvae. For instance, fleas in a carpet can appear like tiny dark specks which disappear just as quickly as they appeared. Fleas like to breed where pets sleep the most. In addition, the love hanging out in places that don’t have heavy foot traffic, and they stay away from areas inside the house where there is a lot of direct sunlight.
Always check for highly visible dried feces and blood that fleas leave behind. These can be easily seen on your pet’s bedding, but as well as on lighter colored rugs. The secondary dried signs of fleas are also referred to as flea dirt. This is because they look like grainy specks of black pepper. As discussed earlier, flea larvae feed on this flea dirt before turning into cocoon. So, if you get rid of you remove a developing infestation’s source of food. Note such places as they need more attention when cleaning the house to remove fleas.
Get rid of fleas in the carpet and rug
When you’re done clearing the house, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Acquire a quality vacuum cleaner and get down to work. Start with under the beds and furniture that weren’t moved out. Utilize corner attachments for heat vents, carpet edges, baseboards, room corners and floor cracks.
Pay attention to spots on the carpet where your pets love to sleep or where they spend most of the time. If you’re not certain, then you should look at areas on the furniture or carpet where there is a lot of pet hair. Since fleas can transmit different diseases as we’ve outlined above, it is important that you clean thoroughly for a safe surrounding.
Don’t just clean but also vacuum. Vacuuming the house will help remove eggs, larvae and pupae of fleas from their hiding places. Also, vacuuming gets rid of the dried feces which are a source of food for flea larvae. So, don’t just concentrate on adult fleas but their eggs, larvae and pupae too, to stop them from future infestation.
Another good thing about vacuuming is that it stimulates fleas to leave their cocoon prematurely. Normally, cocoon is resistant to insecticide and thus, vacuuming is a great step to take to get rid of the cocoons too. Moreover, as you vacuum, the nap of the carpet raises up. In return, it makes it easy for insecticides to get down deep into the fibers were stubborn, growing fleas live.
Clean the entire house
After completing to clean carpets and rugs, it is time now to proceed with the other sections. This includes cabinets, upholstery, pillows, furniture, bed, cushions and much more. For those with a dispensable vacuum bag you can throw away the filled bag and install a new one. This thorough cleaning process should be repeated on a daily basis until the whole flea infestation is totally cleared. Usually, it takes a month to clear all the fleas.
At times, steam can be used to kill the fleas. Do this before vacuuming. This is because the steam is capable of killing all the adult fleas but not their eggs. After you’ve steam cleaned, proceed with vacuuming on a daily basis until you’re sure that you’ve killed all the fleas and their eggs to prevent any develop. Also, use insecticides just to be sure that you leave nothing to chance even after using steam and a vacuum.
Most of the insecticides used on the market won’t be able to kill the cocoon completely and they may form after some weeks. So, you need to continue vacuuming, which will expose the body of the larvae to residual pesticides. As long as you have treated your pets, you should continue vacuuming to totally wipe off the fleas population.
Remove or suffocate the fleas in your yard
When you are done getting rid of fleas on the pets and inside the house, the next place should be your yard where your pets spend sometimes. A huge population of flea infestation outside your home is in places like crawl areas where wildlife might sleep, heavily shaded places, sheltered enclosures such as kernels.
The best way to detect if there are fleas in your backyard is by walking around the yard and detecting them. Wear long white socks and move to areas where fleas might be hiding such as in shaded areas or where your pets love to hang out. As you walk around, the flea will take note of you and will quickly jump onto your white socks which you will spot quickly.
To get rid of them, here are some of the methods that you will use. Cut low-lying tree branches so that you can open up your backyard to have more sunlight. Also, you can use insecticide or plant regulators to kill or chase away fleas from your yard. Ensure that you use less toxic and harmful treatments as pets may consume and suffocate to death. Carry out this practice on the same day you clean and get rid of fleas in your home.
- Another simple way of getting rid of fleas in your house is by use of vinegar. Vinegar can be utilized in different ways. First of all, vinegar can be added to distilled water and applied on the pets. It can be sprayed or made to bath in the mixture of water and white vinegar. This will help to kill fleas and repel off new ones. Another way of killing fleas is by adding vinegar to the pet’s drinking water. This cure makes the pet’s blood and skin to be too acidic for fleas and it repels them. But this applies to dogs and not cats as the vinegar might be too acidic for it. Instead, apply the mixture on the cat’s fur.
Type of diseases that fleas carry
- Typhus – flea-born typhus, sometimes referred to as murine typhus – transmitted by the bacteria infested feces of infected cat fleas when they enter the body at the time of flea’s bite or from scratching the place of the flea bite.
- Plague – this is transmitted by the oriental rat flea.
- Tungiasis – this is a tropical area ailment that is brought about by the chigoe flea when it burrows into the skin and takes a blood meal. When the adult female feeds, she grows bigger as a result of the development of her eggs. The bite of the chigoe flea usually leads to secondary infections and itching.
- Flea tapeworm – it can be transmitted if kids accidentally consume an infected flea or contact infected feces.
- Bartonellosis – this is a cat scratch disease that both oriental flea and cat flea bites cab transmit.
Getting rid of fleas completely can be almost impossible. For this reason, you will need to perform the above measures for at least a month so that you don’t take any chances. Begin with your pets, house, and then your yard. Always remember to use insecticides that are not very toxic as they may cause harm to your pets. Also, the flea treatment you provide to your pets shouldn’t be dangerous to them. Consult with your doctor for advice before treating your pets.
You can now smile as you prepare to get rid of these itchy and stubborn creatures that give you and your pets a hard time as they suck your blood.