Let’s face it, fleas are a pain. They are unwanted, irritating, and can be hard to get rid of, not to mention that they can cause itchiness and discomfort for both yourself and your beloved pets.
There are a variety of home solutions for getting rid of fleas, but how many of them actually work? That’s what we’re going to explore. We will break down the ins and outs of fleas and teach you how to spot them, prevent them, and get rid of them once they have infested your home.
By the time you have finished reading, you will have the knowledge and confidence to get rid of fleas for good.
Why do houses become infested with fleas?
Fleas enter the home by coming in on your pet’s fur. Once they are inside of the home, they reproduce and an infestation can quickly occur. Fleas tend to cause the most problems for the host, your pet, but can be a nuisance to humans as well.
Fleas are known for their bites. They bite their host and live off of their blood, reproducing and living within their fur. This causes extreme itchiness and irritation. In humans, flea bites can cause allergic reactions and transit diseases and illnesses such as tapeworms, flea allergy dermatitis, and haemobartonellosis.
In addition to causing health problems, fleas can also be seen jumping around on furniture and can make the home appear unsanitary and dirty. When fleas get this bad they can often be found inside of bedding and on clothing, making something as simple as going to sleep or getting dressed a nightmare.
Checking Your Home For Fleas
The first step in ridding your home of fleas is to identify that you have a flea infestation. This can be tricky, especially if you don’t know for sure that you have fleas or are unsure of how to find them.
Before you check for fleas, look for these signs that can indicate a flea infestation in your home:
- Scratching. Your dog will scratch, bite, or lick themselves often if they have fleas.
- Sightings. You can often see adult fleas in your home or on your pup. Check your dog regularly during grooming.
- Flea “dirt”. This is small brown or black specs that resemble salt and pepper or have a dirt-like appearance and coarse texture.
- Bites. If you notice itchy red bites on your ankles, legs or other body parts, as well as on your pets this can indicate fleas. Unlike mosquito or spider bites, flea bites shouldn’t swell.
After you have determined that you may have a flea infestation on your pet it’s time to start thoroughly checking your home and preparing a plan to rid your home of these unwanted pests.
Conduct the sock test.
Put on a pair of clean, white cotton socks and walk around your home. Pay special attention to any carpeting your home may have. If adult fleas are present on your carpet, they will begin jumping and may attach themselves to your socks. Shuffle and move your feet, spending extra time in the areas of your home that may be warm. If small fleas are present, you will find what appears to be dirt specs on your socks.
Look for flea dirt.
Flea dirt is essentially the droppings of adult fleas. Young fleas will eat the droppings and the cycle will continue. Flea dirt will appear as black and white specs on your carpet, furniture, or clothing. Rub the specs with a damp wet towel and watch for red streaks, These streaks indicate the presence of fleas. The red streaks are made up of digested blood that the flea has obtained through biting its host.
Check for flea eggs.
Flea eggs will appear as small white ovals. They are often too small to see with the naked eye and using a magnifying glass can be useful to spot them. Run your fingers through the fibers of any carpets in your home and watch for eggs. In addition to seeing the eggs, you will be able to feel them, too, as they are hard to the touch.
Search the yard.
Since fleas come in from outside, it’s a good idea to check any shady, moist areas of your yard. To do this, you can use the sock test again. Check in places such as under the porch, around shrubs, and under trees where there is little light and high levels of moisture. Like conducting the sock test in your home, the flea dirt will get stuck to your socks and adult fleas will jump onto them, indicating that your yard is infested with fleas. Once you have determined where in your yard they are hiding, it will make the process of eliminating them much easier.
How to Eliminate Fleas From Your House Fast
To eliminate your flea problem once and for all here are a few things you can do.
- First, you’ll want to rid your pet of any fleas he or she may be hosting. Since fleas live in the fur of dogs and cats, their fur is the first place you want to start. Go through their fur with a flea comb such as the Safari Pets Flea Comb and shampoo them with a flea shampoo. We recommend the Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo which includes aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal.
- Thoroughly clean your home. It’s a good idea to vacuum pet beds, furniture, and any carpeting you may have in your home. Vacuuming will pick up any adult fleas and their offspring, allowing you to remove them completely. Remember to thoroughly clean out your vacuum cleaner when you are done so you don’t reintroduce them into the house.
- Alternatively, you could use a flea bomb (fogger) to get the job done without too much effort. Remove any fish tanks or cages and escort pets, children, and other family members out of the house before you start. You may need a fogger for each room of the house. Once you have started the fogger leave it for a minimum of two hours and then air the house out before reintroducing pets, the elderly, or small children. This is because foggers use toxic chemicals that could put them at risk.
- To ward off fleas in the yard, you can purchase an outdoor flea spray and attach it to the end of your garden hose. Spray the areas where the fleas live but be sure to avoid spraying any gardens or important flower beds and children’s toys.
- The occurrence of fleas can be prevented with regular flea treatments on both pets and carpets within the home. A carpet treatment can be used 1-3 times a year depending on the individual product and should work to prevent the fleas from laying claim to your fuzzy carpets.
Fleas can cause a lot of trouble within your home to both you and your family. From physical symptoms and illnesses to making a mess you constantly have to clean up. They can be spotted quite easily if you know what to look for, and can be treated in a number of ways. Be sure to keep an eye out for these pests and take action to keep you and your pets safe.