Fleas have a habit of driving you and your pets crazy. They feed and live on hosts often leaving behind itchy bites. While dogs and cats are frequent targets, humans can become hosts for fleas too. Knowing where fleas come from can help you prevent an infestation. Check out how these pests end up in your home.
Facts about Fleas
Adult fleas feed on blood whenever they can, at times consuming up to 15 times their body weight in blood daily. Ironically, fleas can go several months without a blood meal, though females need to feed on blood before they can lay eggs.
Fleas are brownish-red to dark brown in color. They measure between 1/12"-1/6" in length. They have six legs, the two hind legs being much longer than the other four.
Ideal Flea Environment
Fleas can live in homes and outside. In yards, they look for areas that are damp and shaded. They’re often found in vegetation including shrubs, tall grass, and organic matter. Fleas can survive for a short time in freezing temperatures, but they will become unresponsive if they can’t find a warmer location.
In your home, they prefer warm and moist environments. Your furry family members provide them with a warm hiding spot. They often gravitate to a pet’s neck, back, stomach, and behind their ears. These pests try to find areas where they can’t be easily reached when your pet scratches.
Where Do Fleas Come From?
Fleas are introduced to homes when a human or pet brings them indoors. Check out how fleas hitch a ride into your house.
- Pets: Your furry family members can catch fleas when spending time outside. Fleas hop onto pets and are brought into your house. Your pets can be exposed to fleas if they spend time near other animals that are dealing with a flea problem.
- Brought in on Humans: Pets aren’t the only ones that can deal with fleas. These pests can also hop onto humans. If you spend time in an area with fleas, there’s a chance you’ll bring them into your home.
- Wildlife: Animals, like raccoons, deer, and skunks, can also have fleas. If these animals walk through your yard, fleas may be left behind. When you or your pet goes outside, you can bring these pests in.
- Infested Yard: Your yard can be the perfect place for fleas to spend time. These pests love hiding in vegetation. If they invade yards, it probably won’t be long until they find a way into your house.
- Infested Public Areas: While homes and yards are ideal spots for fleas, they can also be found in public areas. Your pet could encounter fleas at the groomer, kennel, or even the veterinarian’s office.
Signs of Fleas in Your Home
In addition to seeing your pets obsessively scratching, there are other telltale signs that you might have a flea problem in your home.
- Fleas on Your Pet: Finding fleas on your pet is the most obvious sign of an infestation. Check their ears, neck, and back for fleas.
- Pale Gums: Pale, discolored gums may be a sign of a flea problem. This can sometimes be linked to anemia, which is often prevalent in kittens and puppies. If you notice this, you may need to take your pet to the veterinarian.
- Flea Dirt: Flea dirt, or flea droppings, is another sign of fleas. It can contain dried blood, but it will look similar to pepper flakes. It can usually be found on your pet’s skin, their bedding, carpet, curtains, and on furniture.
- Flea Activity: Fleas prefer to remain on their host, but they can fall off. You may notice these pests hopping around on your drapes, carpet, furniture, and pet bedding.
- Flea Bites: Though fleas are often found on dogs and cats, they can bite humans too. These bites cause itchy, red bumps. They often appear in a row or cluster. A red halo can be present. Bites can be found on pets and humans, most often on your legs, ankles, and folds of your knees. If you or your pet has a serious allergy to flea bites, seek medical attention.
How to Prevent Fleas Indoors
Pest-proofing your house can help save you the headache of an infestation. We’ve made a list of tips to help keep your home free of fleas.
- Clean Your Floors: Clean floors and well-vacuumed carpets and rugs can help in your fight against fleas. Sweeping and vacuuming will help to remove fleas, eggs, larvae, and pupae that may be present.
- Clean Pet Bedding: Wash your pet bedding regularly to help deter flea activity. Keep their bed or furniture they lay on clean. If using a vacuum, be sure to seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic trash bag and dispose of it in a trash bin outdoors.
- Keep Your Pets Treated: Your veterinarian can help you come up with the best preventative treatment plan for your pets. Regular grooming, especially in summer, can help protect your pets.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Yard
Keeping your home free of fleas requires taking preventative action outside. Here are a few things you can do to get rid of fleas in your yard.
- Keep Your Lawn & Vegetation Trimmed: Fleas hide in tall grass and vegetation. Trim foliage and trees back from your home. Pay careful attention to areas of your yard where your pets like to frequent.
- Seal Openings: Seal off any openings to crawl spaces, garages, sheds, and under decks to help keep fleas out of your house.
- Clean Up Trash: Clean up trash from your yard that flea-infested deer, raccoons, and other animals might come to feed on. Don't leave pet food outside overnight.
- Create a Protective Barrier: Our Yard Bug Spray kills fleas and other pests on contact. It also provides residual repellency that acts as a protective barrier helping to keep fleas out of your yard.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home
If fleas are bugging your pets, there are things you can do to get rid of them. A combination of treating your home and your pets will help to eliminate an infestation.
- Contact Your Veterinarian: If your pets are dealing with fleas, you’ll want to make an appointment with your veterinarian. They can provide you with medication and advice for getting rid of these pests.
- Use a Plant-Based Insecticide Spray: Fleas can be killed when sprayed with our Bed Bug & Flea Killer or Home Bug Spray. The plant essential oils used also provide residual repellency. Though these products can be used to treat pet bedding and areas where your pets spend time, they shouldn’t be applied directly to your pet.
- Use a Dust: For longer-lasting control, you can use an insecticide dust. Our Spider & Insect Dust and Bed Bug Killer dust can be applied to the edges of carpets, under and near pet beds, baseboards, and underneath furniture cushions.
When treating for fleas, it’s important to remember that flea pupae remain protected until emerging from their protective cocoon. You should plan to treat areas multiple times to kill any fleas that develop into adults. Be sure to always follow directions for any pest control products you use.
For scientifically-tested, effective flea control in your home and yard 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.