Flea Facts And Answers For Katy Homeowners
Fleas are most often associated with stray and wild animals, and while this is true, it does not tell the whole story of fleas as pests. While cats and dogs are the most common hosts of certain flea species, many owners don’t know much about them.
Here are five common misconceptions about fleas:
Fleas can fly.
Fleas only live on animals.
Fleas are only a nuisance to animals.
Fleas only infest homes with pets.
Fleas are easy to get rid of.
With about 300 species in the United States, fleas are a common problem and home-invading pest. At Modern Pest Control, we believe everyone, not just pet owners, should know the truth about fleas. Below we will tell you about the five misconceptions and help with pest control in Katy.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are tiny insects. They are 1/8 an inch long, usually brown, and wingless. Fleas also have six long, powerful legs that end in claws. In Texas, this pest is most active from spring through early fall. Not only are they insects, but fleas are also parasites that feed on warm-blooded animals, including humans.
Although there are hundreds of different types of fleas, three are the most common:
Cat fleas are about 1/8 an inch and are usually reddish-brown to dark brown. Their host preference is domestic cats, but they can live on dogs, rats, opossums, and more.
Dog fleas are about 1/12 an inch and are brownish-black to black. After feeding, they will turn reddish black. They are most commonly found on domestic dogs and cats but can live on other mammals.
Human fleas are larger than dog and cat fleas and are reddish-brown or rust-colored. Their preferred host is humans and animals such as rats.
Fleas have a relatively short life cycle, including egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. This process usually takes two to three weeks from egg to adult but can last several months, depending on the conditions.
Female fleas usually lay between 20 to 30 eggs on the host a day after taking a blood meal. Eggs can hatch between two to 12 days but can stay dormant if necessary. When the eggs hatch, they are larvae, which will take anywhere between four to 200 days before they enter the pupa stage, where they spin a cocoon. After five to 14 days, the adult flea emerges and, in ideal conditions, can live up to a year, but without a host, they will only survive one or two weeks. Unfortunately, the weather in Texas is perfect for flea breeding, which means that fleas can become a problem even more rapidly here.
While different types of fleas can infest your home, their species won’t necessarily matter once they have invaded your home. Any kind of flea infestation is stressful, leading to insomnia, depression, and other health concerns in both people and pets. High stress can result in destructive behavior, incontinence, restlessness, aggression, and more for pets.
Can Fleas Invade Homes Without Pets?
One of the most common misconceptions is that fleas only infest homes with pets. Not only is this incorrect, but it can also lead to a substantial infestation because you have identified the incorrect type of flea in the belief that your pet was responsible for the flea outbreak.
While homes with pets are predominantly affected by fleas, homes without pets can become infected too. A flea infestation can occur in the following ways:
Rodents and wildlife are shared hosts to fleas. These pests can find a way into your home and spread fleas. Rodents and wildlife can create nests in attics, wall voids, basements, and building entry points.
Even if rodents and wildlife don’t get inside, they can drop fleas and eggs in your yard, where they will wait for a new host. Common rodent and wildlife hosts are squirrels, mice, rats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and rabbits.
Second-hand items are another common way fleas infest homes. These items can include rugs, curtains, clothing, upholstered furniture, and more.
Fleas can also be transferred to your home by someone else experiencing an infestation. They may unknowingly carry fleas or eggs into your home. The eggs can drop into carpets and rugs and lay dormant until the conditions are right.
Even if you have pets in your home, you might not realize how they can get fleas. This can happen when they encounter wildlife carrying them, another domesticated animal, or being out in the yard where eggs and fleas have fallen.
Flea infestations may not be immediately apparent since the eggs can stay dormant for a long time. So unless this pest is biting at your ankles, you might not know they are there until they have had the opportunity to reproduce
If you have a pet, here are signs to look for that may indicate a flea problem:
Licking or biting at their skin
Flea dirt, which is flea excrement, in their coats
Tiny black or brown insects in their coat
If you don’t have pets but suspect you might have a flea problem, you should examine the carpets, particularly between the carpet fibers and floorboards, for signs of eggs. These can be hard to identify, but you can also perform a white sock test. To do this, wear tall white socks and walk across carpeting. If fleas have infested, they will likely jump onto your socks where you can see them.
Fleas are not the pest you want in your home. Below, we will tell you about the different diseases that fleas can spread and what the symptoms of these diseases are.
Fleas Can Carry Diseases
Fleas aren’t just annoying pests; they are parasites that feed on the blood of a host. Flea bites are small red bumps usually concentrated around the ears, back, abdomen, and neck of animals. While fleas prefer animals with thick fur as hosts, they can bite people. Usually, bites on humans are on the ankles.
Excessive itching of flea bites can lead to secondary infections, and flea saliva can trigger allergic reactions. In some severe cases, pets can develop anemia. However, these aren’t the only health concerns with fleas, as they are vectors of dangerous diseases.
Flea diseases include:
Plague: Symptoms of this disease include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, weakness, headache, and abdominal pain.
Flea-Borne Typhus: Symptoms include fever and chills, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, body aches, cough, rash, and loss of appetite.
Cat Scratch Disease: This can spread when an infected cat flea licks an open wound, bites, or scratches someone. Cats don’t show signs of this disease, but people can develop a mild infection with swelling around the wound. Other symptoms can include fever, exhaustion, headache, and loss of appetite.
Tapeworms: These can happen to pets that ingest fleas. While people can also get tapeworms, it is rare. Animals don’t usually show signs of tapeworms.
When it comes to fleas, it is also essential to acknowledge the pests that are often the cause of infestations on residential properties. As we said above, wildlife such as opossums, raccoons, skunks, rabbits, mice, rats, and squirrels can all bring fleas onto your property or into your home. Not only do these animals carry fleas, but they can also spread ticks, rabies, and many other dangerous pathogens that can affect people and pets.
The following prevention tips for fleas and wildlife are crucial in keeping your home a healthy environment:
Install fencing around your property and repair any damaged sections of standing fencing.
Replace your garbage cans with ones that cannot be knocked over by animals and that have tight-fitting lids. Remove other potential food sources such as access to gardens, bird feeders, and pet food.
Keep steady with lawn maintenance by mowing regularly, trimming the foliage, and removing debris piles where fleas can hatch.
Ensure no potential entry points for wildlife carrying fleas to get into your home.
Regularly vacuum carpets, flooring, and upholstered furniture to remove any fleas or eggs bought inside accidentally. If you suspect fleas, make sure to seal and remove the content of the vacuum bag immediately.
If you have pets, regularly check their coats for any signs of fleas, and keep their bedding and collars clean.
Whether your pets spend time outside or not, you should always consult with a veterinarian and have them put on a preventative that will keep them safe from flea diseases.
You Can Completely Get Rid Of Fleas
If you’ve previously treated your home for a flea infestation, only for them to re-infest, you are not alone. This pest is particularly challenging to eliminate for multiple reasons, and DIY pest control just doesn’t cut it. Even the products advertised to remove fleas are ineffective, especially when incorrectly used.
Several mistakes can be made when it comes to flea control:
Only treating pets and forgetting the rest of the home- if the source of the infestation is a pet, you have to treat all pets and not just the one that appears to have fleas and then your home.
Using expired or sub-standard store-bought products- for one, the products available don’t get rid of the eggs, just the adults. So you may think you have treated the infestation, but instead, you are leaving this pest to continue reproducing,
Not understanding the flea life cycle- to effectively remove pests like fleas, you must treat every life stage, not just adults. Fleas and eggs can fall off a pet and transfer into a home where they hide in carpet fibers or between floorboards. They will hatch or even stay dormant until conditions are right for several months.
Underestimating how long it can take to get rid of an infestation- fleas won’t disappear overnight, mainly because eggs don’t hatch for several weeks, so multiple treatments can be necessary.
Instead of stressing yourself and wasting time and money, contact us at Modern Pest Control for assistance with fleas. Our pest management professionals know how to eliminate these frustrating pests. We will perform a complete inspection of your property and pinpoint the source of the infestation, which is essential for effective removal.
We offer three customizable pest control plans:
Modern Plus Service Pest Control
Signature Service Pest Control & Termite Control
Signature Plus Pest & Termite Control Plus Seasonal Mosquito Control
Each of these services provides treatments for fleas in the yard to keep you and your home protected from this pest year-round. Not only do we offer these three customizable pest control plans, but also specialized wildlife services. As previously stated, whether you have pets or not, wildlife animals are the most common way fleas are transferred to a residential property. It’s essential to remove these animals to maintain flea control.
We provide trapping and exclusion services that begin with our trained and licensed technician inspection to identify the animal you are dealing with and any potential entry points into your home. Next, we use trapping techniques for that specific pest. Last and most importantly, we implement exclusions services to keep the animals out. With these services and our general pest control for fleas, you can keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe from these dangerous parasites.
With our help, you can keep your property free from the pests carrying fleas! Call us at Modern Pest Control to learn more about how we can assist with fleas on your Katy property.