Fleas are a pest that many pet owners have to deal with at some point and time. Because many species of flea prefer to feed off of animals, pets are the most common way that fleas can infest a household. Although fleas prefer animals, they will often bite and feed off humans once inside a home.
An adult flea is a small reddish-brown bug that is laterally compressed. As the flea is not very wide, it can more easily move between the hairs of animals. Fleas also have small spines on their body's that prevent them from being brushed off of the host and a hard, outer body that prevents it from being smashed. Because of these adaptations, it can be tough to eradicate them.
DO FLEAS BITE?
Fleas bite animals and humans in order to feed on their blood. These bites usually appear as small red bumps that can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Bites often appear in small groups or clusters. In addition to the discomfort caused by the bites, fleas can carry and transmit bacteria and viruses through these bites. If you are bitten, clean the bite with warm water and soap and ice the location to lessen swelling. You can also use anti-itch creams to lessen the discomfort. If at any time you feel that the bite is serious, seek medical help as soon as possible.
SIGNS OF A FLEA INFESTATION
Pets are first infested by fleas when they are outside or when they are in contact with another infested animal. Wildlife, including opossums, raccoons, and untreated cats and dogs can deposit flea eggs into a yard. You can reduce flea infestations by limiting the access these animals have around your house and yard. Flea eggs and larva are very difficult to see and under the right conditions can easily thrive in your yard and home.
Flea infestations are most easily confirmed by examining your pet. A telltale sign of infestation is excessive scratching by your pet. If your dog or cat seems to be itching more than usual, you should check for fleas. Not all scratching is necessarily an indication of a flea infestation so, if you are unsure, it's always a good idea to check with your veterinarian.
To check for fleas, part your pet's fur in several places and look for tiny black pepper-like specks, known as "flea dirt," scattered on your pet's skin. These specks are actually flea feces. Although they are very tiny, fleas can be seen scurrying along the surface of your pet's skin. Since fleas do not like light, they prefer hiding in your pet's fur. Their favorite spots include the base of the ears and the rump (just in front of the tail). Look closely at places with less hair, like on your pet's belly and inner thighs, as this will provide you with the best chances of spotting a flea.
If you are able to identify a flea infestation, there are several steps to take.
Our pest professionals have the expertise and experience to safely eradication flea infestations from your home.
Click here to learn more about our Four Seasons Pest Control Program and how Truly Nolen of Austin can help rid your home of troublesome fleas.
With nearly 100 locations nationwide, Truly Nolen has your pest control needs covered.