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If you have pets in your home, you probably know about the possibility of them having fleas. What you might not know is that even if you treat your pet, over half of the flea population in your home could still be in your carpets or linens as flea eggs, larvae, or pupae. By learning to identify fleas and understanding their lifecycle, you can help prevent the spread of fleas leading to an infestation in your home.

Identification

Fleas are small insects that average about 2.5 mm long. They are reddish-brown and shiny in appearance. They have 6 legs, the hind ones being long and powerfully built for jumping. Fleas are parasites that feed on blood. They prefer to feed on hairy animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice, etc, but will also bite humans if the opportunity presents itself.

 

flea

 

Attribution: wikipedia; Olha Schedrina

Signs of Infestation

Incessant pet scratching is one of the first signs of fleas. If you notice your pets scratching more than usual, closely examine them. Flea bites appear as reddened bumps and may cause loss of hair in areas. If you do not see actual bugs moving around, you may be able to see black flea droppings on the skin. Flea dirt (feces) resembles coarse ground black pepper and can be found on your pets or anywhere your pet frequents like beds, carpets, rugs, etc. Hindquarters are particularly prone to fleas in dogs, and cats are often affected in the head and neck area.

If the infestation has gotten bad, you or your family might start getting flea bites as well. The bites will be red spots with red halos and are extremely itchy. On humans, bites are often on legs and feet. Washing the bites and using an ice pack and antiseptic spray can help ease the itch, but it is most important to get to the root of the problem and eliminate the fleas.

Treatment

Once you identify that you have a flea problem, there are several things that can be done. Since almost all flea problems are started with pets or animals, start by visiting the veterinarian to get a vet-approved flea control product. Next, clean your home thoroughly. Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction that will pick up the flea eggs and larvae from your carpets. Lastly, depending on the severity or your infestation, it may be wise to call a professional pest control company to treat your home. While fleas may seem simple to get rid of, in actuality, the adult fleas that you can see only represent a small portion of the total flea population that can be in your home. Flea eggs can be about ½ of the flea population, and flea larvae make up another 35%. Oftentimes, area-wide flea control chemical products are needed to kill the eggs and larvae. Your pest control specialists can treat your home to ensure that all the flea population is eliminated.

Six Brother Pest Control wants to help you with your flea problems. We understand that pets are part of the family, and we want to help you keep your homes, pets, and family healthy and safe. If you are facing unwanted pest problems in the greater Kansas City area, give us a call.