It’s not only through pets that fleas enter homes. Wildlife, bringing flea-infested items home, and human activity can be the sources of fleas.
In this guide will give you deep dive into the ways fleas get in your house. And how you can proactively act and prevent a flea infestation.
Let’s dive right in!
Pets Bring Fleas Home
Pets get fleas from other infected pets or from flea habitats such as dense vegetation in shaded areas.
Parasitic pests such as ticks, chiggers, and fleas hide in the grasses and bushes of your yard. When your pet walks through their habitat, fleas latch onto them.
Fleas in pets will feed on your pet’s blood and they’ll multiply. So, flea eggs, flea larvae, and flea pupae (cocoons in which flea larvae lock themselves before emerging as adult fleas) are always present in infected pets along with adult fleas.
When pets hop onto beds, carpets, couches, and pet’s bedding, these fleas in all lifecycle stages can fall off the pet’s fur and skin and end up in those places.
That triggers a flea infestation.
Flea-Infested Items Cause Flea Infestations
Second hand items such as furniture, carpets, rugs, and mattresses can contain fleas. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae present in these items can also trigger a flea infestation in the house if your bring them.
Wild Animals Bring Fleas Home
A home without pets can have fleas.
Wildlife such as racoons and skunks that invade garages and basements bring fleas.
They carry fleas on their bodies. These fleas can fall off their bodies and hide in those areas for a while.
Adult fleas can track humans by picking up the carbon dioxide that we exhale. So, fleas from these areas will end up in our living spaces such as bedrooms.
Fleas Can Hitch Rides To Our Homes
Like bed bugs, fleas are also able hitchhikers. If you visit a flea-infested home, apartment or hotel, then fleas will latch onto your clothes and luggage and travel to your home.
Even one flea with eggs in the house can trigger an infestation. A female flea can lay 50-60 eggs, which are enough to cause a flea infestation.
You can also bring fleas if you’ve been to a flea habitat tall grasses and dense bushes in your yard.
Human ectoparasites such as fleas, chiggers, and ticks hide in these areas, waiting for a host to pass through.
Fleas hiding in these areas will latch onto your trousers, shirt, and socks make their way to your home.
So, you can also accidentally bring fleas to your home.
How To Prevent Fleas From Entering The House
Preventing fleas in the house need a bit of awareness on how fleas get in your house. And you need to proactively take steps to avert a flea infestation in the house.
Treat Your Pets For Fleas
If your pet is showing signs of fleas, such as scratching, hair loss, pale gums, and lethargy then your furry family member has fleas.
If your pet is showing any of these signs then check your pet’s fur and skin for any fleas. A flea-infected pet can have flea feces, flea eggs, and flea larvae along with adult fleas.
It’ll be best to take your pet to a veterinarian for flea treatment. The veterinarian can recommend flea shampoo, flea collar, flea shampoo, and other topical treatment to your pet.
Fleas in pets can cause anemia and tapeworms which are harmful for them.
However, your pet dog can have other insects which are not fleas. So, keep an eye on any creepy crawlie on your pet’s fur and skin.
Treat Your Yard For Fleas
A lush green yard with overgrown bushes and shrubs can be a home to fleas. Prune or remove the unnecessary vegetation.
And use insecticide sprays and things like nematodes or diatomaceous earth to kill adult fleas living in these areas.
Seal Crevices On The Windows
Fleas living in the vegetation near windows can sneak inside the house through the cracks on the windowsills.
Sealing those gaps prevents fleas from entering the house. Sealing also prevents other window bugs that sneak inside homes from those cracks.
Vacuum Clean Your Home, Daily
Cleaning the entire home daily goes a long way in preventing fleas and other household pests.
Furnishings such as bed mattress, carpets, rugs, pet’s bedding, and couches are the most common places where fleas in the house hide.
So, vacuum clean those areas too. Best to use a steam cleaner to clean the soft furnishings and upholstered furniture.
Heat kills fleas on contact. And it kills fleas in all lifecycle stages.
Control Humidity In The House
Generally, fleas die within two weeks in the absence of a furry or human host. But dark, damp, and humid conditions can keep fleas alive longer than usual without a host.
That’s why many new tenants or movers in an empty home can face the brunt of fleas in the house because the previous occupants didn’t do flea treatment.
So, it’s always best control humidity in the house by fixing water leaks. If you live in a hot and humid weather, then keeping dehumidifiers in the house also helps in keeping the moisture levels down.
Use Flea Repellents
There are many home products that kills and repels fleas. White vinegar and peppermint oil are you best bets when it comes to keep away fleas from your house and from your resting areas such as couch and bed.
You can mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and pour the mixture in a spray bottle. Then spray the mixture around your home’s windows, doors, and in upholstery such as beds and couches.
If the acidic smell of vinegar bothers you then you can use peppermint oil spray too.
Parasites such as fleas and bed bugs, and many other house pests including ants, hate the smell of white vinegar and peppermint.
How To Know There Are Fleas In The House
Fleas in the house will leave behind the signs of their presence.
The following are the signs of fleas in the infested areas such as hardwood floors, beds, couches, pet beds, and carpets –
- Live fleas
- Flea dirt, which are flea feces in the form of black dirt particles
- Flea bite marks
- Flea eggs, which are 0.5 mm in size and appear as salt grains
- Flea larvae, white see-through worms that 2-5 mm in size
How To Get Rid Of Fleas In The House?
A severe flea infestation in the house will always need an intervention of a professional pest controller.
American Kennel Club Association says it can take 3-4 months to eliminate a flea infestation.
Treating your pets for fleas, washing bedding in hot water, treating your yard, and meticulously cleaning the house, especially beds, rugs, and couches, are keys to eliminate fleas in the house.
You’ll also need to use flea repellents and lay flea traps to control post treatment flea activity in the home.
You can check out the video below to treat fleas on your own.
Dangers of Fleas In The House
Fleas in the house will bite humans to get their bloodmeals. Unlike ticks, fleas can breed by feeding solely on human blood.
Flea bites are intensely itchy. And they generally bite below the knees.
Flea bite marks as clusters in the form of acne-like rashes. Flea bite marks are not like bed bug bites which appear as itchy red lumps on the skin.
Flea bites can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Their bites can also cause cat scratch fever and flea-borne murine typhus.
Over-the-counter remedies are available for treating flea bites. However, if you’re showing severe reactions to flea bites, such as difficulty breathing, or nausea, then please consult a doctor immediately.