Among the other vermin that can affect your property, fleas are undoubtedly one of the most problematic invaders. They are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of their hosts and can generate serious complications, while being too difficult to identify.
These parasites can cause a lot of discomfort and illness not only to your pets, but also to your family and the people who live with you. Because they are so small and agile, fleas can easily hide outside your field of vision. This means they can reproduce and infest your home without you noticing.
The warning signs come late, when these invaders have taken over your property and are biting, making black spots on your furniture or curtains, and continually scratching your pets.
If you have this terrible problem and want to get rid of this unwanted pest, you have come to the right place. As AKL Exterminators, experts in the extermination and control of pests of all kinds, we explain how you can prevent and avoid a plague of fleas in your property.
Fighting a flea infestation is a long battle that can take days or weeks, depending on the reproduction and infestation of this pest. But with professional advice and the right products, eliminating these invaders will be simple. Let’s get started!
What are fleas? What problems do they cause?
Fleas are a species of small non-flying insects. They are external parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts, especially mammals and birds. These insects are reddish in color with a flattened body. Adult fleas can grow up to 3 millimeters.
Although they cannot fly, they have incredibly strong limbs, which allow them to jump up to 50 times their body length, making it easier for them to move from one host to another (between one animal and another, or a human). In addition, they have special mouth cavities that pierce the skin to draw blood.
The life cycle of fleas
Fleas develop in four stages: as eggs, larvae, pupae and adults. Female fleas must feed on blood to trigger mass reproduction and maturation of their young. The problem is that they reproduce year-round on their hosts.
Living only 18 to 21 days, the reproduction of these parasites is constant, depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Therefore, infestation can occur at an accelerated rate and the host will be the food source for these invaders as long as the life cycle repeats.
Problems caused by fleas
Fleas cause itching and biting on your and your pets’ bodies, as well as scabs, hair loss and weakness, if they consume a lot of blood. But the discomfort is not limited to that, as fleas are known vectors of very serious diseases, which must be taken care of.
These parasites can transmit viruses and bacteria between animals and humans, producing serious diseases such as murine typhus, tungiasis and myxomatosis virus. One of the most recognized historical diseases transmitted by fleas was the dreaded bubonic plague.
How and where to detect a flea infestation?
To know if a flea infestation is ravaging your property, there are a few signs to look for. Usually, when these signs appear, there is already a large infestation of these pests, and they have already been breeding for several days in your property.
The most obvious signs of a flea infestation are: first of all, the black spots that you can find in the corners of your house. These very ugly spots are composed of undigested blood from the fleas, which they collectively excrete as fecal matter. Terrible!
Excessive scratching of your pets
Second, if you notice your pets scratching more than usual or identify bites on their bodies, it’s likely that fleas are doing their thing. A good way to spot invaders is to comb your pets’ tails with a special brush.
If, when combing their tails, you notice black spots falling from their fur, it’s a sure thing. Also check the armpits, neck and behind the ears of your dogs or cats, as these warm, moist areas are breeding grounds for these vermin.
Third, if the flea infestation has reached disproportionate levels, you may see multiple of these pests jumping around freely on your furniture, curtains and carpets. These jumping black dots are the adults, which at any given time are reproducing again.
Because fleas have small, agile, armored bodies, it is almost impossible to detect them early and squash them. Often they can proliferate in your carpet and hide in your upholstery, without you knowing that a colony of these pests is invading your home.
Stings and allergic reactions
If you have red spots surrounded by red halos, rashes, hives and even swelling in those areas, fleas have probably been feeding on you. Flea bites generate an immune response in your body, which reacts against the saliva of these parasites.
Fleas usually bite between the lower legs and feet, but bites can also occur on the arms, neck and chest. The chemical your body releases to fight the bite (histamine) produces a characteristic bump and swelling, which makes the itching worse.
Complications arise when a person has a disproportionate allergic reaction to flea bites. Your immune system may overreact and release more histamine than necessary, which can cause anaphylactic disease.
This disease can cause very intense itching, a rash all over the body, swelling of the face, hands and mouth and, worst of all, shortness of breath and even difficulty breathing. If you are experiencing these symptoms, there is no doubt that a flea infestation has attacked your property.
How to treat and prevent a flea infestation?
As they say, prevention is twice as good and is the mother of wisdom. Eliminating a flea infestation is often a time-consuming and frustrating process that requires a lot of work and patience, as it would require eradicating all flea breeding sites and searching every corner of your property.
However, to avoid these nuisances and a possible flea invasion and infestation in your home, workplace or any other building, we recommend here a series of preventive measures, which will help you not to suffer from a plague of these annoying pests:
Vacuum and clean frequently
Frequent vacuuming of the floor, carpets and all upholstery in your room will help eliminate fleas hiding in these areas, as well as their offspring. Clean in areas where your pets lie down or in hot, humid areas where there isn’t much sunlight.
You can also use a handheld vacuum cleaner to remove fleas from furniture, decorations, beds and between the fibers of sheets. Also, don’t throw the garbage bag inside your property, but outside, to avoid the risk of fleas escaping and infesting everything again.
Keep your lawn mowed and your yard clear
Mow your lawn regularly to keep your yard free of fleas, as they thrive there and can easily jump in and take your pets as hosts.
A good tip is to spread cedar shavings (fleas hate this species) among shrubs and plants. Also, you can pick up nematodes at garden centers. These worms eat the eggs of these pests and control the spread of fleas.
Bathe and check your pets regularly
Your pets are the main vectors of flea transmission and infestation, so you should bathe them constantly with special shampoos or flea repellents. You can buy these products with the natural extracts that suit you best, or that your vet recommends.
This will break the flea life cycle on your pets and protect them from any threat. Also clean beds and areas where your pets frequently sleep or rest, because if you don’t disinfect these areas, baths won’t do much good, due to reinfection.
Watch for flea season
In general, fleas (and ticks too) have a high breeding season between summer and spring, and thrive in the heat. Be aware of your pets and any areas of your home that could become a flea hot spot, preferably dark corners.
Avoid contact with stray animals
Again, when it comes to your pets, it is best to avoid contact with stray animals with your furry friends. These animals have no hygiene control and are very likely to quickly infect your dogs or cats with these parasites.
Use flea control products
A good way to control fleas is to use flea control products (especially if you have pets). These products can be applied to floors, furniture, carpets and patios to eliminate the eggs and larvae of these little invaders.
There are countless presentations: sprays, flea powders, insecticides, pet flea collars, flea lotions, etc., it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your home! Also try to check the composition of these and make sure they are not harmful to you or your pets.
Now that you know all about fleas and how to prevent a plague of these jumping pests, what are you waiting for to apply these useful measures to avoid a massive infestation that will cause you many complications? And if you are already confronted with an invasion of these vermin, do not hesitate to call us!
We will help you without saying anything! In addition, we offer various services and products that you can find in our amazing online store, to fight all kinds of invaders, from spiders to rodents. We offer our services in the different provinces of Quebec.
You can find us at 5333 Boul. Laurier, suite 128 Terrebonne, J7M 1W1. We guarantee the quality and warranty of our services. And you know, if you have problems with a flea infestation, don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking on the image below! We take calls at any time!