As the flowers bloom and the weather gets warmer, many of us will find ourselves spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, the warmer months bring about pests such as fleas which travel on your pets or clothing indoors. Because fleas are such a difficult parasite to get rid of, they are considered a year-round pest.
Flea bites can spread serious diseases such as Bubonic Plague and Lyme Disease and once they set up camp in your living areas, it’s hard to get rid of them. Keeping fleas out of your home is key, but if they make their way indoors, an aggressive treatment plan is advised.
Fleas are small, wingless parasites that feed on warm-blooded hosts. They are found throughout the United States, are dark reddish-brown in color, and about 1/12 to 1/6-inch long. They often hide out in tall grass and enter the home by traveling on clothing or pets.
Getting rid of a flea infestation in the home requires patience and persistence. Using a combination of chemical and natural treatments can help eradicate the population, but due to the invasive reproduction rate, it can often be a long process. The best way to get rid of fleas is to bring in pest control professionals for specialized treatments.
Look out for your pet itching and licking their skin too much. Fleas cause skin irritation that makes your pet excessively groom. If your pet shows signs of flea infestation, take them to their vet so they can be properly medicated. Often, a medication will be administered to the back of their neck to both treat and prevent fleas.
Fleas can live up to 100 days, so quickly identifying the problem helps for a timely extermination. Fully eradicating the problem can take months with DIY methods depending on how aggressive and consistent the treatments are.
Adult fleas can lay up to 40 eggs a day, and produce upwards of 500 larvae in their lifetime, which can quickly spiral into a huge problem if you don’t stay on top of it. By the time you identify a flea problem in your home, it’s likely that all stages of the life cycle are present: egg, larvae, cocoon, and adult. Intensive measures should be taken because fleas reproduce quickly.
Fleas are small, but can still be visible to the naked eye. Indoors, fleas often leave a pile of “flea dust” on rugs, beds, and carpets. Flea dust looks like small dark flecks and is made up of their waste.
On humans, hair loss and red bumps can also often appear after flea bites. Bites will cause itching and will typically have a “halo” around the bite site.
Yard infestations are concerning because fleas can migrate into your home by jumping onto your clothes, shoes, and pets while they are outside. Once they are inside, they lay eggs that roll off into your carpeting and upholstery. Fleas prefer tall grass, so be sure to keep your lawn mowed short. Rake through the grass often to remove extra debris the fleas might use as shelter to hide from the heat.
A great, chemical-free solution is using diluted lemon, clove or cinnamon essential oil in a spray bottle, and spritz onto furniture and rugs. The scent acts as a repellent, kills fleas, and it will make your home smell nice, however it is not recommended if you have pets as some essential oils are toxic to animals.
Wash all bedding and towels in hot soapy water as this will kill fleas at any point of their life cycle. Steaming curtains and carpets will also destroy eggs, and will reach crevices that vacuuming may not reach.
Sprinkle salt or baking soda on rugs and carpeted areas for two days, then vacuum thoroughly. Pay close attention to areas your pets spend most of their time. Salt is dehydrating and will act as a natural pest control agent while frequent vacuuming removes buried flea eggs.
Shampoo will kill fleas, so wash your pets thoroughly and use warm water. After washing, run a flea comb through their fur to pull up any adult fleas, larvae, or eggs attached to them. Also wash your pet’s bedding and blankets to be sure flea eggs get destroyed.
Do-it-yourself measures can only bring you so far when it comes to flea control. The only way to truly have peace of mind is to hire a licensed professional. They have the knowledge and tools to effectively treat the problem.
The easiest way to maintain your flea-free home is through sanitation, frequently vacuuming rugs and carpets, washing bedding and fabrics, and keeping grass cut short. Keep your pet up to date with any flea prevention measures in conjunction with your veterinarian.
Standing up to a flea infestation can be overwhelming, frustrating and can test your patience. Just remember, if all methods are failing, or you feel overburdened, calling in a licensed and seasoned professional will always be the best line of defense.
Richland Pest & Bee Control has been serving the state of Connecticut for over 45 years. We offer multiple solutions to help control insects like fleas, spiders, bed bugs, and cockroaches. We can customize treatment plans to suit your needs and your budget. Give us a call at 1-800-308-9126, or contact us online for a free estimate.