How Bad Is It To Have Fleas In My Houston Home?
If you asked someone to describe the most dangerous pest, you’d likely get responses that describe large, intimidating, or ferocious-looking animals. However, some of the most dangerous pests in Houston aren’t animals that are easily seen. In fact, these creatures are small, flightless, and less than 1/8 an inch in size!
Enter the humble flea, one of the most common types of infesting animals here in the Southern States. At maturity, fleas are 1.5 to 3.3 millimeters long and use their spry legs to jump onto warm-blooded hosts for regular meals. Although they are incredibly tiny, these pests are very agile. Some researchers suggest these animals can jump anywhere from six to 13 inches on average!
Fleas are a widespread problem here in Houston. Thanks to our high temperatures and humid environment, fleas can breed and feed nearly year-round. Many common species are active even during the winter season and can lay hundreds of eggs per year.
Although they are incredibly tiny and hard to see, fleas can be spotted with the naked eye. Below are a few common characteristics to look out for:
Oval shaped or rounded bodies
Six very long legs
Reddish-brown in color
Covered in short bristles
Oval like, cylindrical eggs
It’s no secret that fleas are a maleficent force for cats and dogs everywhere. But make no mistake; fleas are perfectly capable of feeding on humans as well. If you suspect that an infestation may be imminent, it would be wise to contact a pest control professional like Modern Pest Control.
Before we discuss prevention steps, let’s take a closer look at fleas' behaviors, habitats, and physiology.
The Behaviors, Habitats, And Physiology Of Fleas
Fleas can be found on almost every major continent, with more than 2,500 species of tiny, flightless pests located worldwide. These creatures are known for their interesting and interdependent relationship with humans, which may be found in poetry, prose, and even some forms of entertainment. Today, they are primarily known for their uncomfortable biting behaviors that lead to swollen skin, allergic reactions, and the spread of disease.
The most common species of flea here in Houston is the cat flea, an insect most attracted to our furry, four-legged friends. However, this certainly won’t prevent these creatures from feeding on humans. Fleas are opportunistic and will feed whenever and however they can. Recent estimates suggest that fleas feed up to 15 times a day, amounting to more than 15 times their body weight every 24 hours.
Thankfully, fleas are not eusocial pests and do not live within large colonies. However, female fleas can lay hundreds of legs during their lifetimes, quickly causing problems for home and business owners. As new fleas hatch, feed, and breed, more and more issues become evident around the property.
A few of the most common warning signs of an initial infestation include:
Itchy bites on arms and legs
Pets who scratch continuously
Hair loss or alopecia
Flea ‘dirt’ (excrement) in fur
Spotting physical fleas crawling on pets
The cat flea processes through a four-stage life cycle; the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Flea eggs hatch within two days to two weeks and are laid near the area where their host sleeps or rests. Dog beds, mattresses, and blankets are all common breeding sites. New flea larvae consume various detritus to survive, rarely if ever feeding on blood. Between four to eighteen days, flea larvae will enter their pupation phase. Silk cocoons are sewn around their bodies, and they will tuck in for at least four days until the stimulus is felt. Vibrations, temperature changes, and even increased carbon dioxide could cause pupae to develop faster, leading to variable hatching times. Adult fleas live between two to three months, forcing them to look for a source of blood quickly. The introduction of a single warm-blooded creature could stimulate a mass exodus of fleas traveling to the host, leading to the start of a new life cycle.
As you can see, flea populations are highly prolific and quickly spiral out of control without the appropriate tools. Unless they are addressed immediately upon identification, flea activity may lead to significant health issues down the road.
All The Reasons Why Houston Fleas Are So Dangerous
Fleas are an increasingly common pest problem affecting millions of homeowners every year. Since they are often depicted as a frequent visitor, many homeowners underestimate the actual dangers of an established flea infestation. Contrary to popular belief, fleas aren’t just semi-irritating pests that bite every once in a while. Instead, these animals are truly dangerous insects that affect your home, your family, and your domestic pests.
Research indicates that fleas cannot live on human skin for long periods, but they can create a host of challenges in other ways. For example, flea bites are incredibly itchy and may take several days to normalize. Because of this, long-term scratching could lead to secondary infections or contamination.
Fleas are known vectors for diseases and parasites, most notably the tapeworm. If you accidentally ingest a flea or part of a flea, you will be at a high risk of developing parasitic infections. Many tapeworm sufferers need medical treatment to remove the worm and any other eggs that could be laid within the body.
Two separate bacterial diseases, plague, and typhus are spread from fleas to humans. Both of these require antibiotics to treat, which may be very costly depending on the severity of the illness. In addition, some people may develop a severe allergy to flea saliva, known as flea allergy dermatitis. This may express itself as itchy hives, red skin, or infections that radiate lots of heat.
However, humans are not the only ones who suffer at the whims of fleas. Fleas can spread many different types of illnesses to pets as well. A few of the most common flea-borne diseases for cats and dogs include:
Interestingly, you do not need to own any pets to develop a flea infestation. If all the elements are right and household members are easy to feed on, fleas will be able to bed down for an extended time.
Fleas pose an enormous set of problems to both homeowners and their loved ones. Failing to eliminate them quickly could lead to additional problems in the future and higher risks for the spread of disease. If flea problems have not yet been found in or around your property, it’s best to get started on flea prevention steps as quickly as possible.
Flea Prevention Steps For Houston Home And Business Owners
As you might imagine, keeping fleas out of the house is much more complicated than getting rid of an established infestation. These creatures reproduce quickly and often without much warning, creating issues that are difficult to control without professional help. For this reason, it's wise for homeowners to use established flea prevention steps that can be used all year round.
Below are a couple of helpful flea prevention steps for Houston home and business owners:
Be sure that any domesticated animals living near your home are treated against flea activity. Flea treatments may take many forms, from topical ointments to oral medications. If you prefer to use alternative methods such as flea collars or medicated shampoo, please speak with a veterinarian about your options.
Fleas are sometimes brought into the home on the backs of carrier animals, such as rats, mice, and wild animals. Do what you can to make your home unappealing to wild creatures by reducing puddling water, removing fallen fruit from the bases of trees, and otherwise storing garbage in an airtight bin.
Consider removing or throwing away old pet bedding and toys. You may wash these regularly to reduce your chances of infestation or simply replace them entirely for an added level of protection.
Be sure to clean the home regularly, taking care to vacuum, mop, and frequently sweep to eliminate dust and dander. Although fleas are not particularly picky about where they live, a home cleaned often is less likely to provide the factors they need to survive.
Go the extra mile in pest prevention by keeping your lawn as well-trimmed as possible. Cut back thick bushes, prune tree branches, and otherwise remove harborage zones that could allow flea infestations to build up.
Remove yard debris such as fallen sticks, leaf piles, and grass clippings regularly. This will remove a large portion of the flea’s habitat, forcing them to look elsewhere for shelter.
Although these helpful tips can help you better defend your property, bear in mind that prevention steps are not the same as elimination services. Once flea infestations have taken up residence inside your home, you will need pest control, not mitigation, to restore it to safety. If you think that flea infestations may already be active around your property, look no further than the crew at Modern Pest Control.
Modern Pest Control Provides Flea Protections That Can’t Be Beat
It's clear to see that flea infestations in Houston are more than just a simple nuisance. Left to their own devices, these creatures can wreak havoc throughout your home and property. In order to protect yourself, your property, and the people you love, it's vital to rely on an interconnected system of defenses all year round.
The best form of flea protection is found in a collaborated effort between you, your vet, and a pest control professional, including the knowledgeable team at Modern Pest Control. Since 1952, our team of qualified experts has been pioneering sustainable, long-term flea prevention programs that eliminate risks as quickly as possible. We don't believe in providing haphazard service, giving 110% in every treatment protocol.
Our flea prevention programs are no exception, helping residential and commercial property owners get relief from biting fleas within a few simple treatments. Below is a quick look at our integrated flea control programs:
Every flea control treatment from Modern Pest Control starts with your phone call. After we schedule a convenient initial inspection, one of our representatives will scour your property for the signs or symptoms of flea infestations. We take great care to identify any possible symptoms that may be associated with flea activity and report back to you with all of our findings.
We offer both traditional and eco-friendly flea treatments that target fleas without putting your family in danger. You have a complete say over the products our team applies, ensuring you find the flea relief you need without compromising safety concerns or lifestyle choices.
Flea infestations are eliminated within a few treatments or less, creating a barrier around your home that keeps you flea-free for the long term. To ensure that fleas won’t return within the warranty period and make sure no secondary infestations are brewing, our team will quickly return to your home for a follow-up visitation.
Armed with the tools, techniques, and knowledge base from the professionals at Modern Pest Control, your Houston flea infestation will be all but eradicated. Learn more about how we can help by calling our nearest office location or filling out a contact form to get in touch with a pro right away. When it comes to flea infestations, we’re Houston’s number one choice. Join the Modern Pest Control family today!