How To Inspect, Remove And Prevent A Flea Infestation
When pet owners are asked what they dread most about late summer months, it’s fleas!
Fleas are very active, jumping onto passing animals and burrowing down into their fur and onto their skin. They stay well hidden while biting and ingesting blood from the skin’s surface. This is extremely irritating to animals, and to humans as well, as the bites can cause severe itching and inflammation. If you have noticed your pet itching like crazy lately, then there may be a possibility it has fleas.
Signs of Fleas
- In severe infestations – fleas actually jumping and moving on and off your pet’s body
- Droppings or “flea dirt” in their fur coat – looks like flakes of black dirt or black pepper
- Flea eggs on your pet or in your pet’s environment
- Excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin
- Hair loss
- Scabs and hot spots
- Pale gums
Checking For Fleas
- Wash your animal thoroughly. Clog the drain and inspect the water after washing the dog. If you find little black spots in the bath water, your dog possibly has fleas.
- Inspect the dog or cat’s fur thoroughly. As you comb and separate the fur, fleas will jump in the opposite direction.
- The armpits and groin are two areas that tend to be warm and protected, making them preferred spots for large flea populations.
- Check the ears carefully for signs of scratching, redness, blood, or dirt. These can all be signs of fleas.
- They are flat-bodied and dark brown/black in color. The more blood they ingest the lighter in color they may appear.
Step #1: Treat your pet. Make a trip to the veterinarian so your pet can have a flea bath to kill the fleas that are currently living off your pet.
Step #2: Treat your home. Before you pursue any treatment you should do a good old-fashioned cleaning. Vacuum as much as possible to suck the eggs, larvae and fleas from the furniture and carpet. Launder all bedding, pillows and blankets that your pet often sleeps on.
Preventing Fleas In The Future
- Wash your pet’s bedding once a month
- Brush your pet using a flea comb weekly
- Contact your veterinarian for advice and purchase of flea control products that can be used on pets.
- Vacuum often, paying close attention to corners and small crevices
- Trim your lawn often. Short grass will help decrease the likelihood of fleas jumping on your dog or cat.
Further Flea Prevention
Adult fleas spend most of their time on an animal, but flea eggs and larvae are most often found in the pet’s environment – particularly in carpeting, bedding, and under furniture edges. For every flea that you see on your pet, there are likely to be hundreds of eggs and larvae in your home and yard. Therefore, a truly effective flea control program always includes treating the environment as well as treating your pet.
In most cases of an intense outbreak, using over-the-counter products for controlling fleas will not give you long-term results. At Eco Care Pest Management we’re able to inspect and locate where the eggs and early stage flea populations reside and develop a treatment and prevention plan.
This plan includes:
- Identifying the areas of infestation.
- Inspecting for the presence of other animals that are the flea population’s source of food. This may include rodents either inside or outside the home or perhaps a raccoon or feral cat that is living in a crawl space.
- Suggesting that the homeowner contact their veterinarian for advice and purchase of flea control products that can be used on pets.
- Explaining the use of growth regulators that will interfere with the flea’s normal development into the adult stage.
- Recommending daily vacuuming after treatment to stimulate pupae.
- Treating affected areas by using safe and effective flea control products where immature fleas may be located.
- Scheduling a follow-up visit.
Protect Your Family From Pests
Eco Care is a family-owned pest-control company. Eco Care owner Erich Grove, a board-certified entomologist, uses science to get insects and other pests under control in Howard County and surrounding areas of Maryland and that means you have science on your side. If pests are troubling you and your home, please call our office at 410-465-3709 or schedule a free consultation.