Flea Identification & Prevention

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What You Need To Know About Fleas In Muskegon, MI

Human examining fleas on a pets coat

Fleas are the best jumpers in the animal world, able to jump 150 times their body length. If you discover a flea problem in your home or business, contact us for effective pest control in Muskegon, MI.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fleas

Close up of a flea

What are fleas?

One of the most common pest control problems are fleas. Fleas are tiny, parasitic, flightless insects that live off the blood of your pets, and other warm-blooded mammals and birds. They’re brown to black in color, and have flattened bodies that help them maneuver around their host’s fur. Even though they’re very small, you can see them with the naked eye. A fully grown flea is 1.5 – 3.2 millimeters in length. That’s roughly the size of a poppy seed or a large sesame seed. They are surrounded by a hard exoskeleton shell making them very resilient and tough to kill.

Where do fleas come from?

Fleas rarely jump from host to host. Instead, flea transmission is done through eggs. After their first blood meal, female fleas can lay up to 100 eggs in a day. These eggs are not attached and will often fall off the host. A flea egg can lay dormant for up to 100 days until the right conditions for hatching occur. 

A majority of infestations originate from outside. Common carriers are dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, and coyotes. While these carrier animals walk around they continuously drop eggs off their bodies. Fleas thrive in the same shady protected areas your pets like to cool off in. During the day these animals seek shelter from the elements and create what is known as flea hotspots. A cool place like under a deck or beneath bushes are great places to relax for wild animals and pets alike.  

Another common source of fleas is from dormant eggs. Moving into a new home can cause a previously dormant flea population to re-emerge. You don’t even need to have pets. If the previous owner had fleas simply living inside will trigger the flea eggs to hatch causing a new infestation.

How long can fleas live in my house?

After her first blood meal, a female can lay up to 100 eggs a day! These eggs are not attached so they fall off the host and lay dormant until conditions are right for hatching. Larvae hatch from the eggs and feed off any available natural material like dead insects, pet hair, vegetable matter, etc. The larva can live up to 18 days before they die, or given adequate food, cocoon for up to 4 days while it metamorphosis into an adult. An average adult flea lives for 2 to 3 months, but given optimum conditions, an adult flea can live up to a year and a half!

When exterminating fleas it’s important to attack all stages of the flea life cycle. Even if you thoroughly clean and do everything right, you may find yourself fighting the same flea infestation a few months later. If you’ve done everything and you’re still having flea problems contact a professional for advice.

Can fleas live in my bed?

If you have pets that sleep in your bed with you at night you can absolutely have fleas living in your bed. Strip your bed regularly and inspect your mattress and box spring for tears and holes that fleas may get into. I’ve seen an instance where a cat managed to get inside the box spring and lay inside causing a hidden hotspot the owners couldn’t find for months.

Can fleas survive a washing machine?

Fleas are incredibly resilient and tough to kill. But even they can’t survive a washing machine with hot water, soap and borax. Top it off with a dryer cycle on the hottest setting and you can be assured that any fleas or eggs will be dead.

How can I tell if I have a flea infestation?

Keep an eye on your pets. Indoor pets are not safe from flea infestations! The first sign that you have fleas is an itchy pet. It’s important to note that not all itching is from fleas. Dry skin or allergies are just a couple of other reasons your pet may be itchy. A good indicator is if the itching is sudden and intense. If your pets jump up and begin gnawing on itself you should thoroughly check your pet for fleas. Chances are your pet was just bitten by a flea.

Fleas are tiny and can be very hard to spot, especially if your pet has long or dark fur. If you do find a flea it can be extremely hard to get off. Fleas are tiny, fast, and can jump extremely far! Fortunately, fleas leave behind clear signs of their presence. If you can’t find any fleas look for tiny black specs. These specs are the droppings of fleas after they digest their blood meal. Fleas like dark and warm places so be sure to look around the groin, tail, and armpits of your pets for signs of fleas.

What problems do fleas cause?

Fleas carry a large number of bacteria that can be harmful to humans. These can cause disease in humans. Fleas are responsible for the Black Death in Europe during the 1300’s killing 20 million people in 5 years. 

Fleas can cause serious problems with your pets. They can carry parasites like tapeworms that can pass onto your pets if they swallow one while grooming themselves. Pets can develop allergic reactions to flea bites. When a pet becomes allergic the itching can be unbearable and impossible to ignore. If left untreated the bites become infected and require extensive veterinary care. Fleas can make your animal sick. In extreme infestations the fleas can drain so much of a host’s blood they can become very ill.

What is the best way to treat my pets for fleas?

There are countless ways to treat your pets for fleas. Fleas are resilient and hard to kill. Not only that, but you generally have to fight off multiple generations of fleas depending on how bad the infestation is. There are a large number of topical solutions you can put on your pet to prevent or kill fleas. Be careful! Many of these topical treatments use harsh insecticides and if not used properly (or in some cases even if used properly) may cause serious injury or death of your pet. Be sure to read and follow the directions exactly to reduce the chances of harmful side effects. There are natural remedies out there, some better than others.

Aside from topical flea treatments, there are also medication and apparel like flea collars that can help fight fleas. Do your homework and consult a vet before applying anything to the skin of your pet.

Do I have to treat my home for fleas as well?

Simply put, yes! Treating your pet is only the first step to stopping fleas. You must also treat your home. Flea eggs drop off their hosts and can lay dormant for up to 100 days! This means you could potentially be battling fleas for over 3 months before you can be confident they are eradicated. 

Fleas and their eggs are durable, but they aren’t invincible. Start with the common areas your pets lay. Wash their bedding with hot water and soap. Add borax to ensure all the fleas are killed. After the wash, run your load through the dryer on its hottest setting.

Talcum powder is another tool you can use to help eliminate your flea problem. Thoroughly vacuum your entire home, especially any “hotspots” your pets may spend time, like their crates and bedding areas. There are countless flea sprays and foggers on the market. These are toxic so all animals and children should be removed and not returned until the area is properly ventilated. After any fogger be sure to wipe down all surfaces you may come in contact with to avoid getting the poison on your skin.

How can I get rid of fleas fast?

If you need to get rid of fleas now, your best bet is to call in the professionals. Safeguard Pest Solutions is an expert in home flea treatment. Our home pest control and commercial pest control professionals will come in and inspect your home for hotspots and treat the problem quickly and efficiently. We’re experts in defending your home from pests like fleas, and will help you come up with a plan that will prevent fleas from getting back into your home in the future.

Do I need a flea treatment for my yard?

Often times the biggest problem with fleas is in your yard. Nearly all flea infestations start outside where wild animals drop flea eggs in your yard for your pets to pick up and bring inside. Safeguard Pest Solutions are experts in removing fleas and flea eggs from your yard making it safe again for you and your pets.

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