Learn to Spot the Signs of Fleas in Your House

While the classic flea image is of a pet covered in insects, it is the home itself that is more in danger of infestation. With 95% of fleas residing in the home rather than the animal, many of us might be looking in the wrong place.

For this reason, you should keep your eyes out for signs of fleas in the house, whether they are on your pet or otherwise. Though what are some of these indicators, and how can you deal with fleas once you find them?

Below, we list some of the ways you can discover the signs fleas might have infested your home. As you read through, think about whether you have seen these indicators. It might be you need to take action sooner rather than later.

Allergic Reactions

Flea bites can cause a reaction in many people and pets, depending on their tolerances. A skin reaction is a very common response to flea bites and has the name flea allergy dermatitis or FAD.

Signs of FAD include:

Hot spots. When especially bad, the areas of the skin to get bitten may go red and become moist to the touch. They are sensitive, and may often become infected if left untreated.

Swelling. Around the site of bites, you will find the skin starts to swell up. It may also appear red or, because of the body's histamine-related response to flea bites.

Anaphylaxis. In the most extreme cases, those with allergies to flea bites may suffer from a reaction that could be life-threatening.

This severe allergic response can lead to dizziness, nausea, a rapid heartbeat, or even difficulty breathing. If someone appears to be undergoing this reaction, call the emergency services or get them to an emergency room. They may also have an epi-pen on them you will want to use, although even if you do, you should still bring them to an emergency room.

Anemia

The main ways fleas feed on humans and pets is by biting them and devouring the resulting blood flow. In the case of severe flea problems, this issue can start to add up, and the animal will lose a lot of blood over time.

In the case of small, young, or weak pets, this can be a worse problem as they have less blood to start with. They will also have a weaker immune system, and the loss of blood will impact their ability to fight infections.

Bad Smells on Pet Bedding or Carpets

There are several reasons you might detect a bad smell on your pet's bedding or your carpets. The first is the existence of "Flea dirt", or flea droppings. As a flea infestation grows, you might notice the smell of this more.

If your pet has fleas, they might also start itching or scratching more. This can end up with them bleeding on the furniture or bedding, creating further odors.

Changes in Pet Attitudes

if your pet becomes the target of fleas, especially large numbers, they will start to act differently. Watch out for these telltale signs on your pet.

Scratching

Pets with fleas tend to scratch themselves a lot more. Bites invoke reactions, including itchy lumps and welts. Pets do not have the self-control to resist scratching these areas, so you will often see this as a first sign.

Avoidance

Pets that know certain areas of the house are home to fleas will not want to return to those locations. Be aware if they stop at doors more often than before or refuse to go towards certain areas of a room.

Appetite Loss

Blood loss in pets can lead to a loss of appetite. They might not eat as much, which can end up with them becoming sick faster.

Lethargy

With less blood, pets will start to feel more tired. You will notice them spending more time in their bed and acting slower than before. If they spend a lot of time in one location, check that area for other signs.

Flea Dirt

Fleas excrete much like most other creatures. This mix of dry blood and feces will start to build up on the bedding of your pets, your carpets, and any other place you find fleas. As the infestation grows, this will become more noticeable, and you will also notice it start to gain an odor.

Flea Eggs

Flea infestations are rarely only one generation of creatures. As well as looking for the fleas themselves, you could search for the eggs.

By combing your pet with a flea comb, you could pick up these eggs and remove them. These eggs are most often found on your pet's tail, neck, and rear. So, comb these areas to have the best chance of finding them.

Pet Alopecia

A flea infestation will lead to your pet scratching itself more than before. Over time, this will cause harm to the hair on their body, and you might see them suffer from a form of hair loss. This "alopecia" is not always a sign of fleas, though, so consider other methods of checking for evidence too.

Pet Tapeworm

Fleas are a carrier for tapeworm eggs. While these parasites need to be in the pet's gut to thrive, many pets will eat fleas while grooming themselves, which transports the eggs with them.

Tapeworms will then feed on the nutrients in a pet's gut, reducing the amount the pet gets. You will notice this as an issue if you see a pet scratching its rear end a lot or if you see visible signs of tapeworms on them.

Seeing Fleas

Of course, the clearest sign that fleas are in your home is if you see them with your own eyes. To know if they are what you see, you will need to understand what they look like. As such, here are a few telltale signs what you are looking at are fleas:

Color. Fleas tend toward red and brown, with a few species appearing black to the naked eye. They are also smooth and shiny due to a hard exoskeleton protecting their bodies.

Size and shape. Fleas tend to be between 1 and 3 millimeters long. While one can see them with the naked eye, you will need to be fast as they will often jump away in search of food.

Fleas have long and thin bodies, with long legs they use to jump great distances. They also have very small heads, and while you may not see them they have strong jaws they use to bite the skin of their hosts with.

Fleas have evolved to survive well in the modern world, and even if you find them, they can be hard to get rid of. Their capabilities allow them to escape harm and return to feed without people noticing a lot of the time. So, keep your eyes out.

Flea larvae. Sometimes you will find fleas when they are not full-grown. These look like small, white worms that are only around 2 to 5 millimeters long.

These larvae have tiny spines that help them move through carpets or fur, and this is where you are likely to find them. You can deal with these in many of the same ways as fleas.

Flea Carcasses

Instead of alive fleas, you might find the carcasses of these creatures. These will not move and will often appear like other kinds of dirt. When sweeping, dusting, or otherwise cleaning, keep an eye out for what might look like husks or small pieces of dirt.

Attract Them

If you want to go all out, put on some white socks. Wait for these to warm up, then take a walk around your house without shoes on. Because of the light color of these socks, fleas will show up on them if they jump on your legs to feed.

While it might seem strange, this is one of the best ways to discover fleas in the house. You can then know if they are an issue with any specific room, and as such where you need to deal with them.

After Finding Signs of Fleas in Your House

After you find fleas, you will want to engage in some form of flea control.

The simplest method is to try a DIY solution. A service like Remedy provides a custom pest control kit shipped to your home at the frequency that is best for your climate the pests you are seeing. We also provide advice needed for any infestation.

While many infestations can be solved with a service like ours, we also recognize that certain pests may need professional, on-site help so if you continue to see issues with fleas, we recommend finding a reputable pest control company to get another set of eyes on the issue.

Where to Learn More

The above signs of fleas in the house will help you recognize when there is a problem you will need to resolve. You should also now have a much better idea of what to do with this information to resolve it. However, if you want to know more, we can still work with you to help your situation.

Our experts can offer specific advice on how to deal with infestations in your home so, send us a message. Set up your custom pest control subscription today to get your flea problem under control quicker!

 

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