Sacramento Pest Control & Fleas
Fleas are not a pest that anyone wants living in their home. These parasitic creatures feed on the blood of you and your pets and leave behind itchy red bumps that cause discomfort and scratching. At Earthwise Pest Management, our Sacramento pest control experts can safely and effectively remove a flea infestation from your home and help you to prevent them from returning. Read on to learn about fleas, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.
Suffering from fleas in your Sacramento home? Contact the Sacramento pest control experts today at Earthwise Pest Management.
To prevent fleas, it’s important that we understand exactly what a flea is and their habits. The more we understand about this pest, the easier it is for us to prevent them from ever entering your home in the first place. Below, we discuss fleas, what they look like, and whether or not they pose a danger to you or your pets. Continue reading to learn more about this parasitic pest.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are small parasites that feed on the blood of mammals. While there are over 2,000 different species of fleas, about 300 types exist in the United States. Different species of fleas prefer specific animals. Such as Ctenocephalides Felis, better known as the cat flea, and also the most common type of flea in America. However, the name is slightly misleading as this flea does not just target cats, it also enjoys living on dogs as well. There are other types of fleas that prefer rodents, birds, or other mammals. The one thing that they all have in common is that they live off of the blood of their host.
Fleas are known as ectoparasites, which means that they live outside of their host’s body, rather than inside, the way a tapeworm does. They have special piercing mouthparts that allow them to tightly hold on to their host while they are feeding. You’ll often find fleas living in your dog’s or cat’s fur, although, they may also hide in furniture, carpet, or other places while they await finding their next host. Dogs and cats often knock the flea eggs off of their coat while they are scratching, so flea eggs are often scattered all around the house in carpets, your dog’s bed, and other areas where your pet frequents.
What Do Fleas Look Like?
Fleas are incredibly small. An adult flea grows to about 2.5 mm in length, which is why they are so hard to identify sometimes. Even though you may notice your dog or cat scratching more than normal, the fleas are so tiny, they are easy to miss.
Fleas that we often find in our homes in Sacramento are reddish-brown in color, with shiny bodies. They are covered in microscopic hair. The hair is compressed against their bodies so that they are able to easily move through the fur on your cat or dog. Fleas do not have wings. However, they do have larger back legs which allow them to jump long distances. Fleas can jump up to 13 inches horizontally and 7 inches vertically, making them one of the best jumpers in the animal kingdom in relation to their size.
The Habits of Fleas
Fleas often find their way into your home by way of your cat, dog, or rodents. When your pet is enjoying their outdoor time, a flea or two can jump on to their fur and hitchhike their way into your home. Once fleas are in your home, they are incredibly difficult to get rid of due to how quickly they reproduce. Each flea can live up to 100 days, and in that time, female fleas each lay about 2,000 eggs.
Are Fleas Dangerous?
Fleas are not commonly considered dangerous pests, although they do bite their hosts. The bite has a similar effect as a bug bite, but a bit smaller and itchier. Dogs and cats will scratch at the bites and this can cause their skin to become inflamed. If the animals continue to scratch the bites until they bleed, this can result in a skin infection which may have other repercussions if it goes untreated.
Some pets may also be allergic to flea bites. This can lead to their skin becoming even more irritated and may lead to dermatitis. If your pet is allergic to flea bites, you’ll notice large, scaly red spots on their skin and possibly patches where their fur is missing.
Fleas can also carry tapeworm and pass it on to their host. This means that although fleas themselves may not be particularly dangerous, you or your pet could end up suffering from another parasite that is passed to you through flea bites.
One last note we should discuss is that certain fleas, specifically those who live on rodents, can carry bubonic plague. Although the plague is rare, it does still exist, and several cases are discovered each year. Rodents like rats, squirrels, and mice can occasionally make it into your home and bring fleas with them. If the rodents have bubonic plague, the fleas can contract it and pass it on to you or your pets through bites.
How to Tell if You Have Fleas in Your Home
While fleas aren’t exactly a pest you want to find in your home, if you do have an infestation, the sooner you can identify it the better. Flea infestations grow quickly. Fleas and eggs can be found on your pet, in the carpet, on furniture, and even in your bed. These tiny parasites can be difficult to spot due to their size, so we put together a list of ways that you may be able to identify a flea infestation.
Your Pets Are Scratching
If there are fleas in your home, your pets will most definitely be scratching more than usual. And, while pets can become itchy due to other reasons such as allergies, when this sign is combined with the others on his list, you can be sure that you have a flea infestation.
To discover whether your pet is scratching due to fleas or another cause, take a look at their skin. You may notice small red bumps caused by the fleas feeding as well as red irritated skin. In some cases, you may even notice missing spots of fur from excessive scratching. If you can’t identify fleas or another cause of the itching, you should take your pet to their veterinarian as it may be due to another condition.
You Notice Flea Dirt
While it can be difficult to spot a flea, you may notice flea dirt on your dog or cat. Flea dirt is another name for flea feces. Get your pet to sit in an area with a light-colored hard floor or on top of a white piece of paper and brush or scratch your pet’s fur. If you notice brown specs that look like dirt falling onto the paper, it’s likely that this is flea feces. To be sure, set the dirt on a moist piece of paper. Flea dirt will adopt a reddish hue due to the blood in the feces.
You Actually See the Fleas
While fleas are small creatures, it is possible to see them. Check on your dog or cat and look for small bug-like creatures crawling on their stomachs. Fleas are also jumpers, so keep a lookout for small reddish-brown fleas leaping across your pet while you do an inspection. Fleas often jump when they are fearful for their lives as an attempt to escape but this can also help you to identify them.
How to Prevent a Flea Infestation
Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they infest your home. The best way to keep fleas out is by preventing them from invading your home altogether. Since fleas often find their way into your home by your pet or a rodent, you can begin by protecting your pet from fleas and keeping unwanted rodents out of your home. Continue reading to learn more about flea prevention techniques.
Use Flea Prevention Products for Your Cat or Dog
There are plenty of both over-the-counter and veterinarian prescribed flea prevention products for your dog and cat. You can try using flea collars to keep fleas from feeding off of your pet as well as medicines like Frontline® that you place on their neck once a month to prevent fleas. If you aren’t sure which flea prevention method is the most effective, give your vet a call and they will be able to provide you with recommendations.
Inspect Your Pets Before They Come Inside
While fleas are incredibly small, it doesn’t hurt to give your dog or cat a once over before they come back inside the house after playing outside. This will also give you a chance to check your pet for ticks. Before they enter your home, give them a quick belly rub. The stomach is often the easiest place to check for fleas since your pet’s coat isn’t quite as thick in that area.
Prevent Rodents From Entering Your Home
As we mentioned above, your pet may not be the only culprit bringing fleas into your home. Rodents like mice, squirrels, and rats can carry fleas as well. A very simple thing that you can do to prevent a flea infestation is to ensure that you do not have any rodents living in your home. The Sacramento pest control experts at Earthwise Pest Management can help you with rodent control and prevention.
Clean and Vacuum Your Home Often
If your dog or cat does happen to bring fleas into your home, if you vacuum and clean your home often, you may be able to prevent an infestation before you even know that they are there. If only one of two fleas try to hitch a ride into your home, you may vacuum them up when you clean the carpet or kill them when you wash the dog’s bed.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
Even if you take all of the preventative measures we have discussed, fleas can be difficult creatures to keep out of your home. And, while there are plenty of over-the-counter flea treatments available, it can be incredibly challenging to kill every flea and each egg. Leaving behind just one can lead to another infestation shortly down the road. Hiring a professional pest control company like Earthwise Pest Management is the only sure way to get rid of fleas for good.
Treat Your Dog or Cat
If you have fleas in your home, there is a very good chance that you have a pet that brought them there. In some cases, fleas can be brought into the home by rodents, but the majority of cases are caused by fleas living on a dog or cat. In order to get rid of a flea infestation, you must treat both your home and your pet separately. The most effective way to remove fleas is by treating your pet while a professional pest control company is taking care of your home.
Hire a Professional Pest Control Company
While you treat your dog or cat for fleas, the Sacramento pest control experts at Earthwise Pest Management can safely and effectively remove fleas from your home. Our flea control services will target adult fleas, larva, and eggs, so you can be completely sure that when we are finished, your home will be flea-free.
Contact Earthwise for all Your Sacramento Pest Control Needs
Are you in need of flea control services in Sacramento? If so, it’s time to contact Earthwise Pest Management. Our team of Sacramento pest control experts are highly trained, educated, and experienced in pest control and can help you rid your home of fleas for good. Contact our team today to learn more about our flea control services.