What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny reddish-brown insects with a flattened body from side to side covered in a hard protective shell. Their sole means of survival is feeding on the blood of their warm-blooded hosts.
The most common type of flea living in Florida and across most of the country is the cat flea. Their preferred hosts are cats, dogs, rodents, wild animals, pets, and livestock.
The shape of the flea’s body and large pair of back legs allow them to move easily through their host's thick fur. Their large hind legs also provide them with the ability to jump great heights.
Are fleas dangerous?
Fleas, although tiny in size, do pose some dangers to both people and animals. Having fleas living in your yard or home is not optimal, and their presence should be dealt with quickly.
Fleas bite us and our pets to feed, leaving behind red itchy welts. In those allergic to their saliva, the itching sensation is very intense and uncomfortable. Secondary infections can occur because of frequent scratching at the bite sites. Large flea infestation on pets can lead to hair loss and the development of anemia.
In addition, fleas are a secondary host for tapeworms and can pass them onto people and pets. The spread of disease by fleas in the U.S. is not a significant concern, but they can transmit diseases to people, including murine typhus, tularemia, and bubonic plague.
Why do I have a flea problem?
One of the biggest reasons why fleas have become a problem on your Florida property is because rodents have introduced them there. Rodents make the perfect hosts for fleas and they are often covered in them. As they feed and nest on your property or in your home, flea eggs drop off the rodent’s body and onto the ground, where they quickly develop into new biting fleas.
When fleas get into your yard or home, they will find the nearest host to feed on, usually you or your pets.
Other ways fleas can find a way onto your property:
Larger wild animals or stray pets can introduce them into your yard. The fleas then jump onto you or your pets and are brought into your home.
They can ride into your house on used furniture or a rug infested with flea eggs or larvae.
A previous owner or renter of your home may have had animals with fleas. Fleas can remain dormant for months until hosts are available. After moving into an empty house, the flurry of new activity causes fleas to become active, using you and your family as a food source.
Where will I find fleas?
Fleas not feeding on a host are waiting for a host to come by they can jump onto. Fleas spend the majority of their adult lives on the body of a host. Not only do fleas live and feed on their host, but they also breed and lay eggs on them.
After a female lays her eggs, they will fall to the ground to develop into new adults. Outside fleas do best in dark shady areas that keep them out of the sun’s direct light. Spaces under decks, shrubbery, leaf piles, dense vegetation, and areas of your yard where your pets spend a lot of time are where fleas like to gather.
If fleas are in your home, they will either be on a host (usually a pet) or hiding in rugs, bedding, upholstered furniture, or linens waiting for a host. While people are not a flea’s preferred host, when they get into our homes, it is common for them to bite feed on us.
How do I get rid of fleas?
The humid, warm weather found in Florida throughout much of the year means that fleas are a constant source of frustration for residents. If fleas have become a problem on your property, don’t hesitate to contact Native Pest Management for help. We know how difficult fleas are to control and how populations can seem to explode overnight. Our pet-safe pest control services performed by our knowledgeable professionals will ensure the elimination of your flea problem.
How can I prevent fleas in the future?
Make your home uninviting to rodents. Don’t leave food out in the open, seal gaps in exterior walls, and keep lids on trash cans.
Keep your grass cut short to allow the sun to hit your lawn’s soil to keep it drier so larvae won’t be able to develop into new adults.
Know flea hot spots and remove them from your yard, such as dense vegetation, leaf piles, and compost piles.
Install a fence around your yard to keep your pets in and neighbors’ pets out.
Make sure if you own pets, they are on an appropriate year-round flea preventative.