If you have a pet, you might worry about them getting fleas. These pests feed on the blood of animals and humans. Their bites can leave you and your pets itchy. It’s important to find an effective and family-friendly solution to keep these hungry pests away. We’ve gathered information to help you get rid of fleas.
What do Fleas Look Like?
Knowing what fleas look like will make it easier to identify an infestation. Fleas are small, wingless pests. They grow between 1/12ʺ-1/6ʺ. They have six legs and their hind legs are longer than the rest. This allows them to jump as high as two feet in the air. Fleas are a dark reddish-brown color and have biting mouthparts. These pests go through a full metamorphosis—egg, larva, pupa, adult—in as little as two to three weeks. They develop quicker when temperatures are warm.
Do Fleas Bite Humans?
Fleas can bite humans and will if they need a food source. However, they prefer to feed on hairy animals, so it’s less common for them to bite humans. Bites can cause swollen, red, itchy bumps. They’re often found in clusters or in small rows on skin. Humans usually notice these bites on their ankles and legs, though they can bite in other locations.
Where Do Fleas Live Indoors?
Fleas prefer to live in different areas, depending on their stage of life.
- Flea Eggs: Dozens of flea eggs get laid in your pet’s fur every day. These can easily be shaken out causing them to end up in carpet, furniture, bedding, and wherever your pets roam.
- Flea Larvae: Flea larvae can be found on pets, in their bedding, in carpet, and rugs.
- Flea Pupae: Flea pupae are found on floors, in carpet, rugs, and furniture.
- Adult Fleas: Adult fleas live on hosts such as dogs, cats, rodents, and other furry animals.
Where Do Fleas Live Outdoors?
Fleas like to hide in moist and shaded areas. They thrive in grass, sand, yard debris, and sheds. If you have shrubbery, the grass underneath it can provide perfect living conditions for fleas at all life stages. When your pets head for the shade on hot summer days, fleas use this opportunity to latch onto a host. If you notice your pets scratching, it may be time for a flea yard treatment.
How to Know if Fleas Are in Your House
When fleas invade, there will be signs of their activity. Check out a few things that can alert you to a flea problem.
- Spotting Fleas on Pets: Fleas can be seen on your furry family members. They prefer hiding on necks, ears, and their underbelly.
- Spotting Fleas in Your Home: You may notice fleas hopping around on your drapes, carpet, furniture, and pet bedding. These pests move fast and may disappear and reappear quickly.
- Pets Scratching More than Usual: Your pets will likely scratch or lick fur because of flea bites. For serious cases, your pet may lose patches of fur where fleas have set up shop.
- Finding Flea Dirt: Flea feces, known as flea dirt, may be found on your pet and their bedding. This will look like small black specks that resemble pepper flakes.
- Itchy, Red Marks: If fleas are present, you may notice flea bites on your skin. If you are allergic to these bites, it can cause a swollen rash.
Can You Get Fleas Without Pets?
Yes, fleas can infest homes even if you don’t have any pets. If you spend time in an area that has fleas, or near animals with fleas, they can hop onto you and into your home. These pests can survive without an animal host because they can bite you and your family.
Tips to Help Prevent Fleas
The best way to win the battle against fleas is to practice prevention. We’ve made a list of tips to help keep fleas away from your pets.
- Flea-Proof Your Yard: Since fleas like to hide in shrubs and grass, you’ll want to keep them trimmed. Mow your lawn regularly and ensure vegetation isn’t touching the side of your house.
- Remove Trash from Yard: Wildlife that wanders into your yard could have fleas. Remove trash to avoid attracting these animals to your yard.
- Protect Your Pet: When your pets spend time outside, take time to brush or comb them before heading inside. This will help you to detect and remove fleas. Keeping them well-groomed and trimmed can help to make flea detection easier. You can also talk to your veterinarian about preventative flea medication.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your House
- Sweep & Vacuum: Start by sweeping your wood and tile floors, and by vacuuming all your carpets, rugs, pet bedding, and furniture thoroughly to remove any flea eggs, larvae, and pupae. Vacuuming will not only scoop up adult fleas, pupae, and flea eggs, it will also stimulate the pupae to emerge as adults. Seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic trash bag and dispose of it outside in the trash.
- Treat Your Pet: Treat your pet with a product labeled for on-animal use. You can ask your veterinarian which medicine will be best for your furry family member.
- Use Family-Friendly Insecticides: Our plant-based Bed Bug & Flea Killer and Home Bug Spray kill fleas on contact. You can also use an insecticide dust like our Spider & Insect Dust or Bed Bug Killer These can be applied to areas where fleas have been seen for longer-lasting protection. Our Maggie’s Farm products can be used where pets hang out, but should not be applied to pets.
What are your best strategies against fleas at home? Post a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
For scientifically-tested, effective flea control in your yard and home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.