HOW DO I RID MY HOUSE OF FLEAS?
Fleas are one of the most common external parasites that infest the skin of animals. Adult fleas are ravenous, blood-sucking insects that can consume 15 times more than their body weight. Entomologists regard fleas as acrobatic animals since they can jump up to 6 inches high. This gives them the ability to hitchhike on passing cats, dogs, birds, including human beings. This starts an infestation in a kennel.
Facts about fleas you wish you knew before
People believe that fleas jump from one animal to another. If adult fleas already have stable hosts, they are unlikely to jump to another animal. The truth is, flea infestations usually come from host-less parasites from yards, streets, theatres, stores, and restaurants. If they get desperate for food, they latch onto any warm-blooded creature to feed on.
Another myth that most people believe is that adult fleas spend most of their time on carpets rather than the animals. Entomologists clarified that adult fleas aim to stay on their hosts. They even lay their eggs on the skin and coat, which by the way could sum up to 40 to 50 a day. The only time you get flea infestations at home is if these eggs fall off the animal and into your couch, carpet, and floors. Wherever your pet goes, flea eggs are likely to exist. This is why a thorough application of treatment is necessary for flea control.
When the flea eggs hatch, they turn into larvae that look like tiny worms. They can hide beneath the fibers of your carpet, cracks on your floors, cushions of your couches, and other secure areas. At this stage, they do not feed on blood yet. They rely on the feces excreted by the adults which consist of digested blood from the animal hosts. After this phase, they develop into pupae enclosed in a cocoon surrounded by debris. Depending on the environment, the pupae can remain inside the cocoon for up to 4 weeks. Experts even believe that a flea can remain as pupae for 1 year if the situation is unsuitable for their kin. This is the most difficult phase to eliminate. Not even pesticides can penetrate this cocoon. After you call a flea removal and pest control services, they recommend consistent reapplication after one to two weeks. That’s when the pupae start to hatch. Without intervention, they will cause another wave of infestation.
The urgency of flea control
Studies have found that fleas are the most prevalent ectoparasites. The spread of fleas is due to the rising levels of pet owner ownership. As you can observe, more pets are being walked on the streets and in the park. The fleas trapped in these areas without a host is likely to jump onto your pet as they pass by. Another factor that affects the prevalence of fleas is climate change. According to experts, flea activity is at its peak during warmer weather. Seeing that the Earth is getting warmer, fleas are becoming more populous especially in poorly urbanized areas with poor sanitation and poor irrigation systems. The global rise of these parasites leads to more cases of flea-borne illnesses. In a recent study, most domesticated cats and dogs had cat fleas. The DNA of some fleas are studied and was found to be positive with at least one pathogen. These alarms pet owners even more. Hence, the need to eliminate fleas from pets and homes.
A study by Michael Rust in 2017 found that cat fleas, which is the most common species that infest pets can cause two Rickettsial diseases. Aside from that, it causes flea-borne fever and murine typhus. Cat fleas are also the most common vector of the Bartonella henselae bacteria which causes cat scratch fever. As if it ends there, cat fleas can cause allergic dermatitis which is common to dogs and cats. Their constant scratching and chewing on their skin weakens their epidermis, making it prone to infection and bacterial build-up. Humans can develop allergic reactions to flea bites as well. The symptoms could range from welts to fevers, to swelling, and difficulty of breathing.
Another disadvantage of having flea infestations is the prevalence of tapeworms. Experts have found that fleas are a common host of these worms. When the animal accidentally ingests the infected flea, the tapeworm directly implants itself into the gut of your pet, causing digesting problems which could lead to complications. Furthermore, flea infestations can cause anemia due to severe blood loss. Though this happens rarely, it is not impossible, especially to small breeds. The symptoms of anemia among cats and dogs is paleness, lethargy, loss of appetite, insomnia, and many more. If this happens, consult your vet for the best intervention to treat your pet and avoid complications.
Signs of flea infestations
Flea bites look like smaller mosquito bites. These look like red bumps in clusters of three to four, often positioned in a straight line. You can notice a red discoloration in the form of a halo at the bite’s center. This is common on the legs, ankles, sometimes on the arms. Flea bites are also common on the armpits, breasts, groin, elbows, and knees.
You might notice a red “halo” around the bite center. The most common places to find these bites are around the legs or ankles. Fleabites are also common around the waist, armpits, breasts, groin, or in the folds of the elbows and knees.
A bad flea infestation can be very obvious. Try walking on your carpet wearing white socks. If you see tiny black bugs, those are likely fleas.
Treatment of pets
The first step to eliminate fleas indoors is treating your pets with reliable products. Most experts recommend using topical solutions, chewable tablets, flea shampoos, and flea powders. But before you apply any products on your pet’s skin, conduct initial research on the brand and see the reviews if it is effective and safe to use. Better yet, consult your nearest vet on the best products to prevent allergies and other adverse reactions.
Other methods that can help eliminate fleas from your pet’s fur is regularly bathing your dog or cat using a specialized shampoo. The primary components of these products include tea tree oil, neem oil, and pyrethrin. Combined together, these are lethal to fleas. Make sure to lather and soak your pet for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the product before rinsing. This will suffocate the fleas, weakening their grip so it can easily wash off.
Another method to eliminate fleas is using a flea comb. This is the most cost-effective method to eliminate eggs, flea dirt, and the fleas themselves. Schedule a regular combing routine to eliminate all adult fleas. When you catch one, not squish it with your nails or fingers. You might contract parasites and bacteria. It’s best to prepare a solution of water and dish soap on a bowl or container and put every flea and tick you catch there.
Treat your home
Another important method to eradicate flea infestations is treating your home. One way of doing so is washing all the clothes, sheets, toys, and bedding of your pets. As we discussed, this is where the eggs have fallen from their bodies. Thoroughly wash these using a strong detergent to weaken the exoskeleton and kill them for good. If possible, try these accessories using high heat. Without a dryer, you can use the power of the sun. Expose these garments at day’s peak for a greater chance to kill the fleas latched onto them.
Don’t forget to speed and vacuum your floors regularly. This helps eliminate the eggs, larvae, and some adults. Don’t forget to throw the contents of the vacuum bag. You never know if there are eggs and adult fleas that can start another wave of infestation in that bag.
In severe infestations, you can use insecticides such as flea bombs. These are highly toxic chemicals contained in a canister. Once activated, it releases harmful fumes that kill every flea it gets in contact with. Before you use it, here are some guidelines from Cornelius Exterminators to assist you.
- Before buying a flea bomb, measure the size of the room so you can match the size of the canister to the target area. Before you purchase, make sure that the product is certified by the authorities to prove that it is effective and safe for human use. Don’t settle for products just because it is affordable. Sometimes, these products do not undergo the testing phase in which the experts will assess any potential hazard of using the insecticide. It’s best to invest in more costly materials as long as you’re ensured of its effectiveness and safety.
- Prepare your home before activating the flea bomb. Check the guides recommended to keep your belongings safe from insecticide residue.
- Take your family and pets out for two to eight hours, depending on the manufacturer’s instruction. Secure a place to stay until the process is finished.
- When you’re ready to apply the flea bomb, place the canister on a sheet of newspaper or cardboard to avoid leaving stains on the floor. If you’re applying the insecticide in more than one room, ask help from your friends or family members so you can activate the flea bombs simultaneously. Evacuate the house immediately as the canister releases the fumes.
- When you come back after a few hours, clean your home as recommended by experts. Do not let your children and pets in yet unless you have eliminated the residue they can inhale or ingest.
If the signs of flea infestations persist after a few weeks, contact a reliable pest control professional such as Go-Forth Pest Control. This company prides itself for using safe and effective methods for pest management at an affordable price. What better way to ensure your pets’ safety than by calling a highly-experienced professional to do the job? For the best deals, contact the company now and schedule a pest control session immediately.