Scratch scratch. That's how it starts—most of the time. Your pets are scratching, or you're scratching. But, there are ways to catch fleas before they make you itch. If you catch them early, you may not ever have to itch. That's our topic today. We'll look at how to quickly identify a flea infestation and why you should take fast action to deal with fleas. We'll also look at the many ways these tiny pests find their way into Honolulu homes, and what you can do to completely rid your home of an infestation. If you currently have an infestation and can't get rid of fleas, remember that Pest Tech Hawaii is available to assist you with pest control in Honolulu. We are a phone call away. Connect with us for immediate service.
Identifying A Flea Infestation
There are easy ways to tell that fleas have invaded your home. You may find bite wounds on your ankles, notice your pets scratching, or actually see a flea jumping through the air. These aren't mysterious pests. They will quickly show themselves. But finding bites on your skin or seeing a flea leaping through the air with the greatest of ease are not the best ways to catch fleas. The one warning sign listed above that is essential for early detection is watching to see if your pet scratches. If you're watching, you may have the opportunity to apply veterinarian-prescribed flea products to stop an infestation before it takes root. But there is a way to catch fleas in Honolulu even earlier. When your pets come in from the outside, routinely check them using a flea comb. Part the fur with the comb and look for the presence of flea dirt or fleas. You may also find flea dirt on pet bedding, your bedding, or other fabrics.
- Flea dirt looks like dirt. What it really is are flea droppings. If you have a pet with white fur, it is super easy to detect flea dirt. You'll have to work harder to see this material on cats or dogs with dark fur.
- Adult fleas look like dark specks or brown insects on your pet. When you part the fur, a flea will quickly disappear. It is equipped with a thin body made for moving through the hairs on your pet and gripping each hair with its comb-like legs.
When you find fleas, what should you do? There are many ways to control fleas. As we pointed out above, your veterinarian can guide you toward products that will work best for your pet. The common methods for flea control are flea collars, medication, baths, powders, and topical treatments. While applying these products, routinely vacuum your home until you're sure you no longer have a flea problem. Wash pet bedding in soapy water and dry the bedding in your dryer if possible. Soap dries out fleas and works as a desiccant. The heat from a drier is hot enough to eliminate fleas in all stages of development.
Fleas In The Home Are A Health Hazard
The greatest concern with fleas is that you can get numerous flea bites. These wounds are itchy and irritating. If scratched hard, they may open up and lead to an infestation. While not a serious problem for most people, there is a risk for individuals with cognitive challenges.
Along with causing itchy welts on your skin, fleas might make you sick. They are associated with numerous diseases, such as murine typhus, tularemia, cat scratch disease, and tungiasis, to name a few. You can contract a flea-borne disease without having fleas bite you. Some diseases are spread when flea dirt gets into an open wound. Some spread when exposed to the saliva of an infected pet.
Fleas can carry tapeworms. For your pets, tapeworms may present a serious risk. In most cases, tapeworms will not impact human health.
Another risk for pets is anemia. It is rare for anemia to impact humans because we don't let fleas bite us enough. Pets that are routinely bitten can't do much about them, and ongoing bite events can cause anemia.
There Are Many Ways Fleas Can Infest Your Home
It is incredibly hard to control a flea infestation without specialized knowledge, so we often stress flea prevention. You can apply prevention methods without pest control training. But it does help to have a rudimentary knowledge. If you know how fleas can get into your home, you can focus your efforts to keep them out. Let's start by looking at the flea life cycle. Why is the life cycle important? Because it shows how prevention works best, and why control is so difficult.
Fleas start out inside their eggs. These eggs are found on animals because fleas take animals as hosts. When an animal enters your yard, it can drop flea eggs off its body as it moves about on your property. The most common fleas that impact pet and human health are cat fleas. These are commonly found on raccoons, opossums, and skunks, but not rodents. Some other flea species are carried by rodents and they can impact human health, but rarely pet health. If you want to keep fleas out of your home, you need to consider the animals that bring fleas into your yard.
When a flea hatches from its egg, it is a little worm. As a worm, it isn't able to bite and draw a blood meal. It must feed on flea dirt to survive. Therefore, eggs that fall in a spot that has no flea dirt will not have viable fleas. When wild animals stay in one spot, bed down, or create a nest, they create the conditions for eggs and flea dirt to fall in the same place.
When a flea develops, it cocoons itself and grows through its pupae stage into an adult flea. The adult flea will stay in the cocoon until it senses an opportunity to jump on a host. It breaks free of the cocoon, springs through the air, and attaches to the animal. If a flea jumps onto your dog or cat, your pet can bring the flea indoors. If your pet only has one flea that has not mated, there is no opportunity for an infestation. Most commonly, more than one flea will get onto a dog or cat as it explores areas where fleas are found in your yard.
Adult fleas on an animal will mate, and the females will lay eggs. These eggs are the beginning of a new cycle. The key problem with indoor flea pest control is that adult fleas are destroyed, but the eggs remain. When new fleas hatch, develop, and mate, more fleas appear in your home after you've applied treatments. An infestation can go on and on like this. We hear so many stories of customers battling flea infestations as fleas continue to evade the products being used.
The Best Way To Completely Get Rid Of A Flea Infestation
When you have fleas in your home, remember that Pest Tech Hawaii can help you address your problem. The materials we use to get rid of fleas in your home are residual. What that means is the treatments we apply don't attack the symptom; they attack the source of your problem. The symptom is the adult fleas biting you in your home. You can get into a constant battle of eliminating them and never stop a flea infestation. The source of your problem are the fleas that haven't hatched yet. Therefore, you need a solution that stays in place long enough to address the fleas that are protected inside their eggs. When they hatch, and move across treated surfaces, they are exposed to the active ingredient which is only strong enough to impact simple organisms. Over a few weeks, no fleas will remain in your home.
Once the fleas are gone (or before fleas invade your home), there is a way to guard your property and prevent your dog(s) or cat(s) from carrying fleas into your home. We can apply a treatment around your exterior to target fleas and other simple organisms, such as ticks and mosquitoes. Routine treatments applied to your exterior will make your yard a nicer place for your pets to frolic, and they will guard your home against a flea infestation.
Would you like to learn more about flea control for your yard? Are you in Honolulu? Contact Pest Tech Hawaii to discuss a home pest control service plan that will work best for you. We are a locally owned business with over 130 years of pest control and termite extermination experience. Our technicians are highly trained career professionals with problem-solving skills. Not to mention, they're super friendly. When you need help with fleas, or any pest, around or inside your Honolulu home, you can count on our team to provide you with the best service and long-lasting control. Contact us today by phone or e-mail for assistance. We're here to help.
As a Realtor with At Home Hawaii, I work with Pest Tech on a regular basis. The quotes are always competitive and the people we've been working with have been great. I highly recommend Pest Tech.