Use a magnifying glass when looking for signs of fleas. Most of the signs can be very small so using a magnifying glass will keep you from missing any signs. This is important because once fleas get a hold on your house they multiply extremely rapidly. |
Identifying a flea infestation can often be simple, while eradicating their population proves much more difficult. Observe your pet's behavior as a first step: if your pet is scratching excessively, you should examine his or her fur. Infested animals have reddened skin and may lose hair. The hind quarters of dogs and the head and neck of cats are most commonly targeted.
Check your pets. Especially look in areas that the pet is unable to reach very well, such as around the ears and under the upper part of the legs. Since fleas are fast look for flea droppings. These are black specks on the skin and fur. Since fleas are parasites and suck blood from the host, the droppings are dried blood. If you are not sure if the speck is a dropping or dirt, put it in water. It will turn a reddish brown if it is a flea dropping.
Examine your skin for bites. This is usually the first sign noticed when you have a flea infestation. Often you will feel a bite as it happens but fleas jump so quickly you may not see the actual flea. However after a few moments you will see a raised red bump. These bumps can be any size. Most are small but in some people that have allergies they can be as big as a dime. There will be a reddish color to the skin around the bump and most of the time they will itch. Flea bites will usually be on the ankles and legs. They can also be on other parts of the body, particularly if they are in your clothes or bedding.
Rub a clean wet white cloth along your floor or carpet. If you have a flea problem in your house the wet cloth will pick up any flea droppings on your floor. They will show up on the wet cloth as tiny red streaks.
Walk across your carpets and around your home in white socks. Fleas love to hitch a ride. They jump on pets or even you when you are outside and ride into the house. Once there they will start breeding and living on the pets and in the flooring and carpets, drapes. A house is a pretty big place to a flea and they will jump on whoever is passing by. When you walk through in white socks, you will see the black or brown fleas against the white socks when they jump on.
Look through area where your pets sleep. Fleas will often choose these places to lay eggs at first because it is warm and the food source, your pet is readily available. If there is a flea problem you will find droppings, live fleas and possibly flea eggs and dead fleas. Flea eggs will look like white specks.
Bathe your pets. If your pets have fleas some of them will drop off in the water and die. Many will not though so your pet and home will still need treatment if you have an infestation.
Adult fleas spend most of their time on an animal, but flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are most often found in the pet's environment - especially 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.
Upon identifying an infestation, clean your home thoroughly and bathe your pet with specially-formulated shampoos. Linens and pet beds should be washed. Contact a pest control expert to discuss extermination options and preparatory steps.
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