What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny, blood-feeding, biting pests known for leaving behind itchy red welts. These tiny insects feed on the blood of various hosts, including cats, dogs, rodents, raccoons, skunks, and other wild animals. People are not a flea’s preferred host, but they will feed on us if we are around.
Adult fleas grow to the size of a speck of dirt and are dark in color (reddish-brown). A flea’s body is narrow, which helps them move through its host’s fur. They also have a hard shell that covers their tiny body and protects them from being squished.
Fleas are wingless but move easily from place to place, either on the back of a host or by using their powerful, large hind legs to jump. Fleas can jump 200 times their body length!
Are fleas dangerous?
Fleas can spread some diseases, but a skin reaction or allergic reaction to their saliva is the biggest concern for most people. When fleas bite people, small, red, itchy bumps usually develop. Extensive scratching at the bite sites may lead to a secondary infection.
When dogs, cats, and other animals become infested with fleas, excessive scratching can result in loss of fur and open sores. Heavily-infested animals can develop anemia from blood loss. Fleas are also intermediate hosts for parasitic tapeworms. Tapeworms can be passed to both animals and people by infected fleas. Another good reason why controlling populations of these biting pests is essential!
Why do I have a flea problem?
Fleas only live for a couple of months and spend their adult lives on the back of an animal host, feeding and breeding. As wild animals or neighborhood pets travel across your yard or spend time in it, flea eggs will roll off the host’s back and drop onto the ground and develop into new adults.
When hungry new adults are around your yard, it is common for you or your pets to become their new host and are then introduced into your home.
Fleas are capable of completing their life cycle indoors; they are prolific breeders, and just a few moving into your home unnoticed will quickly become hundreds or more. Inside, fleas gather in upholstered furniture, rugs, and bedding, waiting for a host to come by (you or your pets) that they can feed on.
Other way fleas can become a problem include the following:
- Fleas get inside on a piece of used furniture or a rug already infested with flea eggs or larvae.
- A previous owner or renter of your home or apartment may have had animals with fleas. (Fleas can remain dormant for months until hosts are available.)
- Rodents or other wild animals infested with fleas have moved into your home to nest, and brought biting fleas with them.
Where will I find fleas?
Outdoor spaces where you or your pets may come into contact with fleas include parks, athletic fields, wooded areas, and campgrounds.
In our yards, flea populations develop in areas that provide them with the moisture and shade their eggs need to mature into new fleas. These include the following:
- Under shrubs and bushes
- In woodpiles
- Spaces under porches and decks
- Under leaf piles or grass piles
- In areas of sandy soil
How do I get rid of fleas?
Take back your yard and home from fleas with the help of the dedicated Ballwin pest professionals at Roberts Pest Control. Our professionals are passionate about developing home pest control solutions that will meet your family’s needs. We will get to the bottom of your flea infestation, provide effective treatments, and put in place the routine services needed to keep them from returning to your yard and house.
To have your family’s pest control solutions met, partner with the company that offers common-sense solutions; partner with Roberts Pest Control. If you need pest control in the Ballwin area and want to learn more about our flea control solutions, contact us today!
How can I prevent fleas in the future?
Take the time to make changes around your St. Louis yard and home to make it less attractive to fleas and help prevent problems with these tiny, difficult to control blood-feeding pests.
Below is a list of our most helpful flea prevention tips.
- Remove things like leaf piles, woodpiles, and overgrown shrubbery from your yard where fleas hide waiting for a host to happen by they can jump on.
- Vacuum your house regularly to remove stray fleas that have found a way inside on you or your pets.
- Regularly wash your bedding and your pet’s bedding.
- Keep the grass on your property mowed short.
- Don’t let shrubs and other vegetation become overgrown, providing fleas with lots of shady, damp soil to hide in.
- Remove bird feeders from your yard that attract squirrels and other flea-covered rodents.
- Patch openings in the exterior of your home that could allow flea-infested rodents and wild animals inside.