Fleas are small insects that feed on blood. While they prefer animal blood, they also won’t hesitate to bite humans. They are approximately 2.5 mm long and range in color from light brown to black. While they do not have wings, they are great jumpers. Since fleas are a nuisance for humans and a health risk for pets, let’s take a look at how to identify and treat them on your pets, on your family, and in your home.
On Your Pets
When your dog or cat starts scratching and just won’t stop, that is the first sign that you might have a flea problem. The first thing to do is carefully check your pet’s skin. Flea bites look like small red bumps, and they may cause hair loss in the general area. Sometimes, you will find actual bugs moving through the hair. You may also find small, black flea droppings on the pet’s skin. Flea feces (also known as flea dirt), looks like coarse black pepper. Flea dirt can be found on your pets or in places that your pets like to hang out. If you find signs of fleas, the best thing to do is take your pet to a veterinarian. They can give you an approved flea control product that will help solve the flea problem with your pets.
On Your Family
If the flea infestation has become large enough, members of your family may begin getting flea bites. Bites will appear as small, red bumps that may have a red halo around them. The bites will often be clustered in groups or in a straight line. Flea bites are extremely itchy and can become sore and painful. Try hard to avoid itching them because scratching can cause secondary bacterial infections that can make the situation much worse. Flea bites will eventually resolve on their own, but in the meantime, antihistamines and creams can help ease the itch. Some people can get flea bites even without pets. This may mean that they are in your yard or you are getting them from other people’s pets. Getting rid of an outdoor flea problem may require a chemical treatment of your yard.
In Your Home
As with your yard, your home may also require a chemical flea treatment. Adult fleas that you can see are just a small percentage of the total flea population. Flea eggs and larvae can make up as much as 85% of the fleas in your home. So, even if your pet is treated, there may be many fleas left to deal with. Start with a thorough cleaning of your home, paying special attention to places that your pets frequent. Make sure that you use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction that can pull the eggs and larvae up out of the carpet. Wash any linens, pet beds, etc. that can be laundered, and then dry them with high heat. This will kill any eggs or larvae that might still be present. Do-it-yourself flea treatments are available, but professional treatments are often more effective in eliminating the entire problem.
If you need help dealing with fleas in your yard or home, give Midwest Pest Control a call. We serve the greater Tulsa, Oklahoma area as well as Northwest Arkansas. We are here to take care of your flea problems and do it in a way that is safe for your family and pets.