Fleas are certainly an itchy annoyance to cats and dogs, but did you know they can bite and transmit disease to humans too? Fleas can cause allergic dermatitis and are the most common transmitter of the (albeit rare but still present) bubonic plague. They are a health threat to both pets and humans. Fleas can live for about 100 days during which time the females produce 400-500 offspring. Fleas transport themselves on rodents and other mammals, and usually remain on their hosts at all times.
Fleas infest both household pets and wild animals like possums, raccoons and skunks. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats. Their saliva can cause serious flea allergy dermatitis in pets and their debris has been reported to cause similar allergic reactions in humans. Fleas can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets, which is why active flea management is an important component of pet care. Flea bites commonly cause painful, itchy red bumps.
Do fleas really bite humans? Unfortunately, the answer is yes - fleas do bite humans! These parasites commonly appear during the warmer months and feed on the blood of any warm-blooded mammal, people and pets included. These pests use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8" vertically, which is 150 times their own height. If humans could do this, we would be able to leap over skyscrapers. Fleas can easily transport themselves inside a home by latching onto pets playing in the yard as well as to shoes, clothing, and picnic blankets. Fleas will infest areas where pets and people sleep, such as bedding and carpeting, and then rapidly multiply. Although pet owners are primarily at risk for flea infestations, these biting pests can also be brought into yards via wild animals like raccoons or skunks and then make their way into homes.
WHAT DO FLEA BITES LOOK LIKE?
Flea bites appear as small, red bumps with a “halo” around the bite center. Unlike tick or mosquito bites, they remain small and usually appear in groups of three or four, or in a straight line. On humans, bites are commonly found around the ankles or legs, as well as the waist, groin, armpits, and in the skin folds of the elbows and knees.
ARE THE BITES SERIOUS?
According to NPMA’s Medical Advisor Jorge P. Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, fleas can cause a whole host of problems. When it comes to pets, fleas can cause serious allergy dermatitis and are capable of transferring tapeworms and inducing anemia. As for humans, flea bites can be quite itchy and painful while excessive scratching can damage the skin further and invite secondary bacterial infection. Although rare, fleas can also transmit the bubonic plague and spread the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans.
TREAT THE CIRCUS
Flea bites will eventually subside on their own without any treatment. In order to ease the itch and pain you could also consider using calamine lotion or anaesthetic creams to treat flea bites. For pets, there are several treatment and preventative options available that you could discuss with a veterinarian.
However, in order to stay safe from further biting, an infestation needs to be permanently and professionally dealt with. In order to prevent flea bites in the first place, homeowners should contact the professionals at Hopper Termite & Pest. Regardless of whether or not you know you have a flea infestation, Hopper can ensure you never have to deal with them at all. In addition to professional pest control services, it is also recommended that you maintain a clean home by frequently vacuuming and washing bed linens regularly. Outdoors, lawns and yards should be kept well-groomed since fleas prefer to hide in tall grass. Additionally, fleas typically travel via rodents, so be sure to eliminate any rodent harborage sites such as overgrown trees or shrubs. Pet owners should practice active flea management by performing flea checks after pets have been outside, bathing and grooming pets regularly, and visiting a veterinarian annually.
THE SMACK DOWN
If you suspect or discover a flea infestation - whether in your carpets, yard, or on a pet, contact Hopper Termite & Pest to assist with proper and effective flea control service. They know the skinny on fleas and pack a powerful punch to control all of your pest control needs!
What do you get when you mix a wet spring with a warm summer? You get lots and lots of bugs. Like many pests around our area of the Ozarks, fleas thrive off of these types of environments. Their numbers can grow surprisingly fast and take over your home with a flea infestation in no time if not properly treated.
Here are some tips to help you get rid of fleas in your home and stop the itching!
START AT THE SOURCE
Fleas didn’t just infest your home overnight, and the best way to start killing off fleas is to find the source. If you have fleas in your yard and around your property, then it’s a good place to start. Each time you, a family member, or a pet go in and out of your home, fleas could be using you as a transport method to ride all the way to the comfort of your home.
Pets are perhaps the number one way in which fleas get into your home. And if you don’t have pets, they can still hitch a ride on humans as well. Trying to exterminate the fleas in your yard can be extremely difficult. You need to know what products attack fleas at what life stages, and you also need to have the time to apply the products. Let the professional and highly trained technicians at Hopper Termite & Pest, Inc. take care of the outdoor pest issues. We know what products work best and help you save time and money in the long run.
TAKE TIME TO REMOVE FLEAS FROM YOUR PETS
For many of our pets, fleas seem to be a constant nuisance. Their bites cause itching and scratching, and in some pets, flea bites can even cause an allergic reaction. If you notice a flea on your dog or cat, it’s important to act fast. After a female flea has had a blood feast on your pet, it can lay up to fifty eggs. These eggs then fall into your carpet and furniture, hatch, and start the process all over again.
Talk with your vet before starting any treatments. They can suggest the best flea treatments for your pet’s size and lifestyle.
VACUUMING CAN HELP REDUCE THE NUMBER OF FLEAS IN YOUR HOME
Fleas are tiny. Their size and ability to jump 4-5 feet horizontally make them almost impossible to see. And since they love hiding in the dark dense fibers of your carpet and furniture, vacuuming is one way to reduce the number of fleas in your home.
Make vacuuming part of your routine and always make sure to throw out the contents of the vacuum outside and away from your home.
WASH LAUNDRY IN HOT WATER TO HELP CUT DOWN THE NUMBER OF FLEAS
When it comes to killing off fleas, taking care of routine chores such as washing bedding can really help. Wash sheets and bedding in the hottest water you can. While it is true that fleas can survive being in water for a long time, the addition of detergent mixed with hot water should do the trick. And if you have pets, it’s also a good idea to wash their bedding on a regular basis.
CALL THE PROFESSIONAL FLEA EXTERMINATORS AT HOPPER
These are just a few tips to help reduce the number of fleas in and around your home. However, until they are killed off completely, the chances that they will return is high. Don’t let the cooler temps of fall and winter fool you into thinking that your flea problem has been solved. If fleas are in your home, they are nice and comfortable. In fact, flea eggs can wait out the cold weather and hatch in spring.
Whether you have a major issue now or you have just started to see one or two on your dog, give Hopper Termite & Pest, Inc. a call TODAY! Our two main locations are in Mountain Home and Springdale. However, we service areas all around including Fayetteville, Cotter, Flippin, Rogers, Bentonville, Mountain View, Bull Shoals, southern Missouri, and everywhere in between. Let Hopper Termite & Pest, Inc. stop the itch and get your home back to normal.