Flea are difficult pests to remove from your home. Not only do they attack cats and dogs, they can also be a problem for you. Fleas can bite humans, which may cause you to worry that they can live on you too. Check out what you can expect with fleas and how to identify and eliminate an infestation.
Fleas are small, wingless insect parasites that feed mainly on the blood of animals. Species vary in appearance, but they share some characteristics. They have a dark body that has a reddish hue after feeding. Fleas are flat and have bristles that allow them to burrow through animal hair. These pests are active during the day. They often select mice or rats as hosts before moving on to your pets to live and feed. Fleas gravitate to dark, humid areas of their host’s body. They can live for several months without feeding, but female fleas need a blood meal to reproduce.
Do Fleas Bite Humans?
Fleas will feed on humans if the opportunity arises. They can fall off of pets and make their way to you. Even if you don’t have pets, you could still be bitten by fleas. These pests can unknowingly be brought into your yard and home. Though fleas will bite humans, common species prefer hairy animals such as dogs and cats.
What Do Flea Bites Look Like?
Flea bites often result in swollen, red, itchy bumps. These bumps can appear in a cluster or row. A red halo is often visible around the center of the bite. Fleas like to hide on your pet’s neck, ears, back, belly, and near the base of the tail. On humans, you are likely to notice bites on legs and ankles. You may also find flea bites around your waist, armpits, groin, and in the folds of your elbows and knees. If you or your pet are allergic to flea saliva, these bites may be inflamed for several weeks.
Can Fleas Live on Humans?
While dog and cat fleas can bite humans, they can’t live on them. However, one flea species targets humans. The Chigoe flea, or jigger (Tunga penetrans), is native to Latin America and parts of Africa. It’s known to feed and live on humans. These fleas burrow into the skin of the host. For humans, they often attack feet. This can cause itching and ulcers, but severe cases can cause humans to have problems walking.
Do You Have Fleas in Your House?
There are a few indicators that fleas are hanging out in your home. These warning signs can help you identify an infestation.
- Spotting Fleas: You may notice fleas hopping around your drapes, carpet, furniture, pets, and in your pet’s bedding. They’ll appear and quickly vanish.
- Scratching: Your pet will likely be scratching or licking excessively. This is a result of flea bites. For serious cases of fleas, your pet may lose patches of fur.
- Flea Bites: If fleas are bugging you, red, itchy bites may appear on your skin.
How to Prevent Fleas
Implementing preventative measures can help to keep fleas and other pests away. Check out a few tips to help you win the battle against fleas.
- Flea-Proof Your Yard: Keep your lawn and shrubbery trimmed. Make sure tree branches and foliage aren’t touching your home. Clean up trash from your yard that flea-infested wildlife may want to eat. Don’t leave pet food outside overnight. Seal openings to crawl spaces, garages, sheds, and under decks.
- Protect Your Pets: Talk to your veterinarian to figure out the best preventative product for fleas. Brush and comb your furry family members thoroughly before letting them back in the house. Keep your pets well-groomed and trimmed, especially in summer. Give your pets regular baths to help detect and remove fleas.
- Create a Protective Barrier: Spraying the perimeter of your yard and home with a plant-based insecticide spray can help to deter fleas. Our Yard Bug Spray kills fleas on contact and provides residual repellency.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
If fleas are bugging you or your pets, there are things you can do to get rid of them.
- Vacuum & Sweep: Vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic trash bag and place it in a sealed trash bin outdoors.
- Protect Your Pets: You’ll want to discuss with your veterinarian the best way to treat your pets for fleas. They’ll be able to provide suggestions to help keep your pets healthy and happy.
- Use a Plant-Based Insecticide Spray: Plant-based insecticide sprays can help to control a flea problem. Indoors, fleas can be killed when sprayed with our Bed Bug & Flea Killer or Home Bug Spray. They kill fleas and other pests on contact and provide residual repellency.
- Use an Insecticide Dust: Insecticide dusts can provide longer-lasting protection against fleas. Our Spider & Insect Dust and Bed Bug Killer dust can be applied to the edges of carpets, under and around pet bedding, and underneath furniture.
When treating your home, pay attention to your pet’s favorite areas. It can be difficult for insecticides to penetrate flea pupae and eggs, so you should plan to do several treatments a few weeks apart to treat fleas that emerge from their protective life cycle stages. While insecticides are great for treating the spots where your pets hang out, you don’t want to treat pets directly with our Maggie’s Farm products.
Fleas aren’t just a problem for your pets, they can also bug you. Knowing what you’re up against will make it easier to deal with these pests. If fleas or other pests are giving you a fit, we’re here to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.