How to Get Rid of Fleas
Fleas are a big nuisance in any household. Once they have moved into the apartment, it is difficult to get rid of them. Fleas can be a real burden. The uninvited guests continue to multiply rapidly and infest flooring and furniture. They romp around on dogs or cats and sometimes jump over to people. The result: bites all over the body and excruciating itching. How do you get rid of these pests? What will help to drive them away? Let’s find out.
What you are going to learn from this article:
Fleas can be difficult to get rid of but the effort is worth it. Even if the fleas are reluctant to change hosts, humans are not entirely immune to becoming a victim of their blood addiction.
It’s not easy to get rid of fleas in the house. While the common methods include spraying the room with chemicals, the latest science and technology offer safe and similarly effective pest-removing tools.
How Fleas Get Around
Fleas often find their way into your home via dogs or cats. And since the beloved four-legged friends are allowed to sit on the sofa or even in bed a bit too often, it is easy for the fleas to feel at home there, too.
You often only notice the new “roommates” through the itchy bite wounds they leave. Thirst can tempt the fleas to make record-breaking jumps.
In general, these nocturnal insects like to hide near their victims' bedding during the day. This way, they don't have far to get their food at night. Fleas are satisfied with other organic material, for example, dandruff or hair.
Where Do You Find Fleas Most Often
Fleas are not particularly picky when it comes to choosing a location. Once in the apartment, they are practically everywhere: in cracks in the floor, on upholstered furniture, pillows, or in curtains. And they are fertile - females lay around 50 eggs a day - better: they lose their eggs everywhere in the apartment. The hungry larvae then hatch and pupate in turn.
Jumping is the easiest exercise for fleas. They jump 250 times their body length and accelerate to 200 times the acceleration due to gravity in one millisecond when jumping. To do the same, a human would have to jump about 450 meters high, and with incredible perseverance: fleas can do this feat 600 times an hour.
Fleas in Human History
Fleas appeared on Earth 50 million years earlier than humans - enough time to develop an immense diversity. More than 2,000 species are known to date, and it is difficult to estimate how many are still undiscovered.
Human fleas (Pulex irritans) have become rare these days - at least in this country. There are hardly any human fleas in our well-kept apartments because vacuum cleaners, mopping cloths, and personal hygiene control fleas and spoil their ability to settle down. But they can still spread under less hygienic conditions.
Various Types of Fleas
Pets are the main carriers of fleas. For almost every animal out there is a separate "flea family":
- Dog flea (Ctenocephaloides canis)
- Cat flea (Ctenocephaloides felis)
- Pigeon flea (Ceratophyllus columbae)
This does not mean that fleas in a family only bite "single-origin" species. Dogs are mostly plagued by cat fleas.
A distinction is made between the so-called nest or fur flea. The light-shy nest flea (e.g. human flea) only goes to its host to eat and hides in a dry and dark place in a house nearby for the rest of the time, such as upholstered furniture, carpets, and more. Nest flea’s hiding spots are close to where his victims sleep.
The fur flea, on the other hand, is not bothered by light and nests directly on its host, but also makes itself comfortable in certain places (carpet, upholstery, a pet’s mattress). The cat or dog flea can also jump on humans.
How Can Humans Catch an Animal Flea?
The little bloodsuckers can hide in dog houses, nesting boxes, or bird houses. You may catch a flea while gardening when fleas can be tempted to try a different flavor and imitate the human flea. But humans are the wrong hosts for fleas. Nevertheless, once you get bitten, it’s time to get rid of fleas in the house.
How to Deal with Flea Bites
Not only in carpets, curtains, textile furniture, or cracks in the floor, but fleas also enjoy living in clothing. This is why flea bites are often found on areas of skin that are covered by clothing, for example at the bottom of the pant leg. Clothing must be sanitized when you start to get rid of fleas in your house.
The bites usually appear in a triangle or clusters. However, similar to bed bugs, they can also appear one after the other in what is known as a “street of fleas”. The spots are reddened, but it usually takes a long time to itch. If you scratch, you have to expect nasty skin irritations.
Can Flea Bites Transmit Disease?
Yes, and pretty bad. The dog and cat fleas are intermediate hosts for tapeworm, rabbit plague, and typhus. The rat flea transmits the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, which causes pulmonary and bubonic plague. Flea saliva is even more harmless. Transferred to animals and humans through the bite, it can cause severe allergies.
Fleas usually bite a few times in a row, creating a real "street of fleas" - this is one of the ways to identify them. The reactions to flea bites can be very different - they are often more pronounced in women, children, and allergy sufferers. In extreme cases, the redness can be the size of a palm and last for weeks.
Anti-histamines in the form of gels help against itching. In more severe cases, cortisone ointments that general practitioners or dermatologists prescribe can provide relief. You should also be aware of this, if necessary, because by vigorous scratching at the puncture site, pathogens that were transmitted by the flea bite can penetrate the skin and cause inflammation that needs to be taken into control.
How Do You Rid Your Dog or Cat of Fleas?
If your pet is infected with the bloodsuckers, you should take immediate steps to get the animals and the apartment free of fleas. Persistent scratching, biting, or licking your pet could be an indication of flea bites. You can check this with a flea comb that is similar to a lice comb in humans. Comb the fur against the grain. If you comb out dark particles that turn reddish when mashed on a damp kitchen towel, it is flea poop with blood.
Pay particular attention to pet bedding when starting to get rid of fleas in your house.
Why Fleas Are a Problem
Fleas are small, but they are Unfortunately, that's not a laugh. Below are some of the most common explanations of why these pests are a problem when they get out of control.
Flea Bite Dermatitis Is Real
Extremely intense itching, which can lead to scratches, is caused by flea bite dermatitis. Unfortunately, if your pet's paws were never cut off, then chances are that constant scratching can lead to breaks in the skin. This gives the germs a fast gateway to invade your dog's own body and cause adverse health reactions.
In addition to treating your pet, you need medication to control their allergy symptoms and the diseases that result from them.
Tapeworm Infections From Flea Bites
If your furry friend ingests, there is a great chance that your pet has tapeworm disease too. Tapeworms are parasites that live on fluids and your furry friend's nutrients. Instead of your pet benefit from the nutrition in their food, the tapeworms suck it up. Tapeworms cause malnutrition in dogs because nutrients are absorbed from the dog's intestines but instead from the tapeworm.
Anemia Caused by Fleas
Flea bite anemia is not a problem in dogs unless they are infected outside of the owner’s control. This is more of a dog's question because their body surface area increases the slightest insult to their physiological integrity. Fleas can cause a decrease in the blood cells of these puppies, leading to anemia. Because there are not enough red blood cells, oxygen is not absorbed by many tissues and they die. Puppies can't move much because their air stores are depleted by 13.
Even More Dangerous Diseases Transmitted by Fleas
Did you know that fleas were in part attracted to the plague that killed 50 million people in the 14th century? The bacteria that cause the plague, Yersinia pestis, infect insects, which consequently sting rats and transfer these bacteria to other creatures or humans where the rat comes into contact or bites.
Flea Infestation Treatment
If the suspicion is confirmed, it is safest to go to the vet, because flea collars and the like no longer help in the event of an infestation removal- at best as a preventive measure. A doctor can advise you on how to get a grip and kill fleas safely.
There are special shampoos, flea powders, or sprays for flea removal in cats and dogs. You should also have your dog and cat a wormer treatment because dog and cat fleas can lead to tapeworms.
Clean Apartment Is the Solution
The biggest problem, however, is not so much the fleas in your pet's fur as the fleas, eggs, and pupae in your four-legged friend's favorite places. This is why these places must also be cleaned thoroughly: vacuuming, wiping, and washing the blankets and soft furnishings.
Only Insecticides Can Help if There Are Too Many Fleas
If there is a significant flea population in your house, these gentle measures will hardly help. A female flea lays up to 50 eggs per day in her pet's fur after the first blood feast. These then slide between floorboards, cracks in the sofa, or into the shallows of the walls. When the time has come, the hatched fleas hop onto the nearest host.
Therefore, you should prevent fleas from settling in your own four walls from the outset. Because a whole flea infestation at home can not only be extremely uncomfortable, but also expensive. The little pests can settle down permanently, the discomfort can last for years unless you kill all fleas.
If the apartment is flooded with fleas, you have to spray carpets, floorboards, and cracks with the best insecticides that contain active ingredients that kill these pests. Consultation with the vet is essential because the agents are poisonous. In the worst case, only the exterminator can help.
How Do I Remove Fleas Out of the Apartment?
Getting rid of fleas is an immense effort. The first measure: rub in a so-called deterrent. Fleas, and also mosquitoes, don't like the smell and run away. But fleas do not leave the apartment immediately. It must therefore be vacuumed thoroughly and freed from the insects, including larvae and pupae. And not just the floor and carpet, but also the upholstered furniture, the bed, the bed box, and so on.
Caution: Fleas are tough and survive a strong suction current. Therefore, the vacuum cleaner bag should be disposed of after cleaning. Make sure it’s carefully and tightly closed, otherwise you might have spread the flea plague right back into the freshly cleaned house.
Then it's time to wash up: carpets and upholstery can be rubbed with the best carpet shampoo. Curtains, bed linen, and pillowcases must be washed at least 60 degrees to kill eggs, or even better than whites. This also applies to other textiles and clothing. If possible, mattresses must be knocked out, but in any case, vacuumed.
Using a Steam Cleaner to Get Rid of Fleas
A steam cleaner is helpful for large-scale plastering, especially on upholstered furniture, the covers of which cannot be removed. It can also be used to clean floors and work surfaces in the kitchen. In addition to fleas and other vermin, the hot steam also kills bacteria - without chemicals. Tip: If you don't want to buy a steam cleaner right away, you can also rent the device. Just ask in the nearest drugstore or hardware store.
Then it's time to take a shower with a special flea control shampoo that is available for humans and pets. The four-legged friends are then put on a flea and tick collar.
Can You Remove Fleas Without Chemicals?
It’s difficult. If you don't want to use chemicals in your house, you can at least try some home remedies. Do they work? Questionable. Fleas may not like the smell of mint, garlic, rosemary, lemons, so you can make a home-made spray. But these remedies do not satisfy their appetite for animal and human blood.
Why You Need to Get Rid of Fleas Quickly
A flea infestation including flea bites is not to be trifled with. After all, the parasites multiply very quickly and are not only an imposition for our pets but also us humans. Fleas can transmit dangerous diseases and cause skin irritation in pets and humans.
How Do You Get Rid of Fleas?
If you have fleas in your home, there are several ways to get rid of the parasite. Since the fleas usually prefer to target the pet, it is important to take care of the treatment of the animals. What exactly is done should be discussed with a veterinarian.
Since fleas, as already explained above, make themselves comfortable in the vicinity of the sleeping places, but also carpets, upholstered furniture, or cracks, the house must be cleaned thoroughly to kill all fleas.
Vacuum several times a day to get rid of fleas infestation, flea eggs, flea larvae, and flea pupae. The vacuum cleaner bag should then be tightly closed and, for example, hot water poured over it to kill the insects. You should wash textiles at 60 degrees in the washing machine.
Treatment with a steam cleaner is also recommended in the fight against parasites, for example in the case of fabric-covered furniture that cannot be washed. It can take some time - days or weeks - to finally remove fleas in your home.
Of course, there are also numerous chemical sprays, but these often use toxins to remove fleas and are therefore not entirely harmless to humans and animals.
A Modern Method of Getting Rid of Fleas at Home
A reliable and natural method of getting rid of fleas infestation is an ultrasonic pest repeller. It will chase the pests away using ultrasonic frequencies that irritate their senses. This method of pest control is suitable for homes with children and animals since there are no toxic chemicals involved.
FAQ on Fleas Problem
Where do fleas come from?
Fleas in house are usually brought in one way - through your beloved four-legged friends. They catch the tiny insects outside, for example when they encounter other infested animals, and drag them into the apartment.
Are These Actually Fleas I am Dealing with?
You can't catch fleas with the naked eye because the insects are tiny, only up to 4 millimeters in size. A flea infestation on humans, dogs, or cats can be recognized by various signs. The most noticeable sign is when our four-legged friends scratch or bite each other regularly.
To make sure you are dealing with fleas and not allergies, comb your pet thoroughly with a flea comb and then knock the comb out on moistened kitchen paper. If black crumbs collect on the surface, which turns reddish-brown after they come into contact with the damp cloth, are the feces of the animals, which is mixed with residues of their food (blood).
How Long Do Fleas Live?
As a rule, fleas only live a few months, but the maximum lifespan is one and a half years. TThis makes it easier to control. During this time, however, the fleas become active in terms of their offspring. A female flea lays several hundred eggs in the course of its life if the temperature is right (reproduction stagnates below 5 degrees).
After up to 10 days, the eggs hatch and are laid in the nest or on the host (cat, dog) itself. In particular, the eggs deposited in the fur spread very quickly in the apartment, as they gradually fall out of it.
The development cycle of the larvae takes around two weeks, which includes two molts and one pupation if conditions such as temperature (20 to 27 degrees), sufficient food, and moisture (50 to 90 percent) are met.
Important: Flea pupae are extremely resilient and survive for several months without food. If you don't get rid of all the flea pupae, the flea infestation will very likely start all over again. When the flea finally hatched, it is immediately ready to tackle its life and in turn to produce new successors.
There’s no need to suffer from flea infestations. Modern technologies offer safe and effective methods to control and get rid of fleas and other annoying pests.
Explore ultrasonic pest repellers today.