Did you know that fleas can transmit tapeworm and bacterial infections? Even without knowing this fact, we all know that a flea infestation in the home is a real pain. Especially if you or your pets are hypersensitive to flea bites. Fleas can enter the home on pets or humans after walking outside where outdoor wildlife such as opossum, raccoons, feral cats and a variety of other mammals may have been. They can also come from having wildlife in your attic or crawl space. Fleas gaining access in the home is one issue that needs to be addressed, but the main issue is how to obtain control once fleas infest your home.  

Fleas are external parasites that feed on blood, human or animal. In fact, fleas can consume up to 15 times their weight in blood. Understanding flea biology is very useful in controlling a flea population. Fleas spend most of their time on the host. They feed, breed and lay eggs on the host. A short time after eggs are laid, the eggs fall off the host onto carpet or furniture. During this part of the life cycle, the eggs become larvae that feed on flea feces (dried blood) which is in the carpet, furniture or pet bedding, until they develop into a pupal stage which results in the adult flea emergence which starts the process all over again.

All is not lost. Treatments are available. Start with treatment of the pet since that is where fleas spend most of their time. It is advisable to contact your veterinarian for the proper medication for your pet. After the pet is on a safe flea control regimen, treatment of the home should be the next step. If one prefers to try a self-treatment strategy, it is very important to read the label of any pesticide used for specific instructions for you and your pet’s benefit.  

  1. Always remove toys and clothing from the areas being treated.
  2. Remove pet food and pet water dishes from the area being treated.
  3. Remove and wash pet bedding.
  4. Vacuum to remove larvae and pupae and then dispose of the vacuum bag.
  5. Aerosol total release foggers do not target the most important areas to be treated for flea control. Before spending the money keep this fact in mind.
  6. Most importantly read and follow the label directions before using any pesticide.

If desired, you may call a pest control professional for safe and effective treatment. Always expect to see some fleas for a period of time after the initial treatment until pupae bring forth the adult fleas who then come in contact with the pesticide already in place. (The pesticides cannot penetrate the cocoon or the pupae stage, so the fleas will hatch from any pupae.) 

Be patient because treatments are not magic but are a combination of experience, preparation and science.