Fleas are tiny blood-sucking bugs that make our life miserable. As they prefer hairy hosts, they will usually come into your house via your pets. Fleas can invade any home! The thing is that they spread serious diseases, like the Bubonic plague and many other dreadful diseases.
If you suspect there are fleas in your home and you are searching for help, we are here for you! In this article you will find out a lot about fleas: how to identify them, what kills them and more. Read on!
What Fleas Look Like?
These bugs are very small and their size is different from species to species. Still, fleas are usually between 1/12 and 1/6 inch long. They are flat and wingless and, because they cannot fly, they move by jumping. They have 6 legs which help them grasp on the victim and their colour is reddish brown. Also, they have an outer shell which is very hard to crash. This is the exoskeleton covering their tiny body.
Types of Fleas
Scientists say that there are over 2,000 types of fleas in the entire world. They share some general characteristics, but they are also different in many ways. Find below the most common types of fleas and learn about each of the types.
This is probably the most common types, especially in America. Despite the fact that the name suggests these fleas host only on cats, they actually host on many other species. So, cat fleas can host on cats, dogs, but also on wild animals like raccoons, foxes or even opossums. Of course, they also bite humans, but human blood isn’t enough for them to complete their life-cycle. But even if they do not necessarily host on us, they invade our homes. Cat fleas enjoy infesting the furniture, the carpets and the whole house.
Well, there is even a species that is “custom-made” for humans. There are people who don’t believe that fleas can host on humans, but it is true. Anyhow, they are quite rare nowadays. Please note that their saliva is an allergen and it causes itchiness. Moreover, people who are farmers must know that these fleas also host on pigs. As you can figure out, human fleas can easily jump on you, while you do your job around pigs.
Dog fleas prefer dogs and cats as hosts, but sometimes they also bite humans. This is a type of fleas that is very common rather in Europe than in America. They cause mild to severe itchy feelings. When dog fleas bite you, they cause itching and these areas may also bleed. The worst thing is that dog fleas can live a long period without food, while also laying lots of eggs.
Oriental Rat Fleas
This is the type of flea that is guilty for spreading the Bubonic plague. Actually, this is the most dangerous types and it carries a lot of diseases. They host not exclusively on rats, but on opossums, raccoons and other animals living in the same areas. Also, it is likely to get them when you go fishing.
The life cycle of the flea encompasses four stages:
- EGG: Female fleas lay about 6 eggs after they feed. These eggs take about 12 days to hatch into larvae.
- LARVA: At this stage, the flea is about 4 mm long and its colour is a transparent white. It takes between four and 18 days for the larva to make cocoon and start the pupal stage.
- PUPA: This is the last stage that fleas go through before becoming adults. The transformation takes place inside the cocoon that protects the flea. Fleas may reach the adult stage from three days to even a year or more.
- ADULT FLEA: Fleas manage to become reach this stage only when they feel there is a potential host around. This is because, once they hatch into adults, they jump on the host and start to feed.
Signs of Flea Activity
Well, it is not that hard to spot the signs of a flea infestation, but it takes more to get rid of them. Sometimes the infestation is more than obvious, but you also must be vigilant. Here are some signs that should enlighten you:
- Your pet is constantly scratching and, when you check it, its skin is red. Sometimes, furry pets may even lose hair.
- Apart from the itchiness, you notice some fleas moving between its hairs.
- If you spot some tiny specks in your home or even on your pet. These are actually flea feces and are reddish-brown in colour. This is because their feces are actually digested blood.
- The pet bed is the favourite place of fleas. So, you need to carefully check it and look for eggs, which are similar to salt and pepper.
How Do You Get Fleas?
Firstly, you should know that the chances to get a flea infestation are bigger if you own a pet. Basically, you get them because the pets play outside in places where a flea is just waiting for a host.
On the other hand, you can get fleas into your home even without having any pets. This may happen in many ways. Fleas can jump on your clothes while you are outside and then you take them in your home. Moreover fleas also host on rats, raccoons, opossums and squirrels. So, if one of these happen to nest somewhere in your building, it is likely to get fleas.
What Kills Fleas?
This is not an easy mission, but don’t get discouraged! If you are patient enough and persevere, you will be able to eradicate the infestation on your own. Here are some remedies and products we strongly recommend you. For excellent results, you should apply them more than once.
1. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
This is a very good treatment because is totally safe for humans and animals. So you won’t hurt your pets. Before applying DE, you need to thoroughly clean the house. Vacuum the house and wash in hot water everything else. Then sprinkle DE powder all over your home. As it is not dangerous, you can even sprinkle it on pet beddings. You need to wait about 48h and after this period you have to vacuum the layers of DE.
How does DE work? Well, as it is basically a powder with sharp particles, it cuts the flea exoskeleton. Then the fleas dry out and die. Moreover, it also works on larvae. Click here to buy DE.
2. Baking Soda
That’s right! You can just sprinkle some baking soda on those areas where there are flea nests or you have seen a lot of them. Insist on the carpets. You can even use a broom to make sure that the baking soda is well spread. Let the remedy rest overnight. What does it do? It seems that baking soda simply dries the fleas out. Don’t forget that you have to vacuum the surfaces you treated, in the morning. This is a great non-toxic method that really works in your fight with the fleas!
3. Vet’s Best – Flea & Tick Home Spray
Are you looking for a NATURAL product against fleas? You have just found it! The best thing about it is that it also kills flea eggs. Its formula is non-staining and it won’t harm your children your pets or your plants. Totally safe! Check it here.
4. Adams Flea & Tick Carpet Powder
This is one of the best products you can find. You have to apply the powder on the carpets. It will kill fleas, flea eggs and even larvae and the effects will last for about one year. Moreover, it has a nice smell, as it is citrus scented. Warning: keep away from children! Buy it here.
5. Raid Flea Killer Plus, Carpet & Room Spray
This spray will make your home flea free! It is easy to use, and also very helpful. You can apply it on carpets, but also on other surfaces like pet beddings and upholsteries. The protection it offers is effective for about 4 months. If you want to find more about it, click here.
As you can see above, there are also some low-cost remedies against fleas. On the other side, if you want to have quick and 100% effects, than you can choose an anti-flea product. The prices start at about $6 and can go over $50. Still, if you are person that prefers to have no worries, then call a professional. But this means that you will pay around $100-$200 for a one-time treatment. Fortunately, they will apply treatment both inside and outside and they also give you warranty.
If you are tired of dealing with the flea issue constantly, this means you do something wrong regarding the prevention. This is way we also want to present you some golden rules you must respect. By doing so, you will manage to keep fleas at distance and your family and pets happy. Let’s discover this valuable advice below!
- Keep your house spick-and-span! Make sure to do the cleaning daily or at least every few days. Sanitation is the key!
- If you own a pet that has long hair by its nature, consider shaving it. You need to do this because long hair seems to be a perfect place for the pests to hide in.
- There are lots of preventive products for your pets and even for your house, in general. If you apply one of this regularly, the chances to get an infestation will drastically decrease.
If you are dealing with fleas at the moment, we are here to support you! Read again all the information above and prepare your strategy. Either option you may choose can be efficient, if you respect the described steps. If you prefer to use chemical products, don’t forget to carefully read the instructions on the label. We hope that this article is helpful for you!