Protecting Your Home and Pets Against Fleas
If you're seeing fleas in your home, you are most likely seeing cat fleas. Don't let their name fool you, however. Though they’re called cat fleas, these biting pests will feed on dogs and people too. Cat fleas are pernicious pests and, once they get into a home, they can be extremely difficult to get rid of! Here’s what you need to know about these parasitic pests:
At between 1/12th and 1/6th of an inch long, adult cat fleas can appear as nothing more than a dark-colored speck on the floor. However, don’t be fooled. That speck can leap several inches into the air, cling to you, and leave behind itchy bites after feeding on your blood. And those adult fleas don't need your pet in order to get a blood meal. So flea collars, sprays, powders, and other flea treatment products can fall short of stopping a flea infestation.
When pest infestations appear, many of us choose to turn to natural solutions rather than running the risk of harming ourselves, our family members, and our pets by using insecticides. And while it is definitely wise to steer clear of using chemical treatments, natural solutions have an even greater chance of being unsuccessful than pesticides. Most natural solutions don't have a residual effect on the flea populations in your home. So, after the treatment is done and you've managed to eliminate most or all of the adult fleas, newly hatching fleas will quickly take their place and you'll soon be back to square one.
Applying flea-control products from the big box store can fall short too. When you treat your rugs, carpets, floors, and other areas of your home, it is possible to miss a spot. And if you miss even a single area of infestation, the fleas in that area can hop onto your pets as they pass by and re-infest the locations you've already treated. This will have you treating your home over and over again with little to no effect at eliminating the infestation. The likelihood of this happening is actually quite high due to the robust nature of cat flea eggs. Inside their eggs, cat fleas are protected from many chemicals. Therefore, you can spray an area with the wrong product and have fleas emerging from that area once the product has worn off. We don't have to tell you how frustrating that can be! And if you haven’t experienced the never-ending battle against fleas in your home, we’re sure you get the idea. It’s no fun. At all.
Some products that work to kill fleas only do so when they're wet. So you can douse your entire home and think you’ve finally eliminated those pesky fleas once and for all, only to find out that those fleas survived due to improper use or application.
As you can see, a lot can go wrong when trying to exterminate fleas on your own. Eliminating fleas can feel like trying to put out a raging fire; you put the flames out in one area, turn around, and find three more areas on fire that you need to put out!
And, as if it couldn't get any worse, stopping a flea infestation can become even trickier when rodents are involved. Do you know that mice, rats, squirrels, and other invading rodents can bring fleas into your home? That’s right! And not only that, they can also help a flea infestation continue to thrive in your home. When you apply treatments, fleas may be happily hiding in the fur of the rodents hiding inside your walls, attic spaces, and other safe zones, out of reach of the treatments. Once you've paid out a bunch of money, expended yourself treating every inch of your home, bathing your pets and treating them with veterinarian-prescribed flea products, vacuuming every carpet and piece of furniture in your house, and washing every piece of clothing and bedding, those fleas can re-emerge from their hiding places and plague you once again.
But the worst part isn't the frustration or the itchy bites, though they are by no means pleasant. Fleas are the common transmitters of the rare bubonic plague. Under the right conditions, they can present a serious threat to a family. While the bubonic plague is no longer the threat it once was, it can still cause serious illness. Fleas also present a threat to our pets as they can transmit several tapeworms. Therefore, when flea infestations take root, they should be addressed quickly.
Flea Prevention Tips
If you don't have a flea infestation yet, there are some things you can do around your home to prevent one:
Seal any gaps, cracks, or holes in the exterior of your home to keep rodents and other furry, flea-carrying critters out of your home.
Keep your grass trimmed short and the weeds plucked to make your yard less inviting to wildlife animals.
Remove any clutter near your foundation walls to reduce harborage options and hiding places for rodents.
Keep your trash stored in sealed containers and keep those containers clean.
Don't feed wild animals. They may be cute and fun to watch, they can bring fleas and other parasites into your yard.
If you have a dog, consider creating a fenced-in play area. This will resist wildlife entry into those outside recreation areas and help keep your dog from exploring locations on your property where questing fleas are waiting for a host.
If you're dealing with a flea infestation and you are in our Illinois service area, let the friendly and experienced pest professionals at Quik-Kill help you get your home back to being free of fleas!