There are 300 species of fleas in the United States. These parasites feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They are about 1/4″ in length with dark brown or black flat-shaped bodies. They are wingless but can jump up to 12″. Fleas are most active in warm weather. They are commonly found outdoors in trees, grass, and shrubs where they will jump on pets as they walk past them. They will then hitch a ride indoors and jump off onto your carpet, bedding, and other household fabrics.
Fleas bite pets and humans to feed on a blood meal. They can also transmit diseases through their bites. Fleas commonly bite on the legs and ankles and will rarely bite above the knee. When a human receives a flea bite, itchy red bumps, blisters, and even hives can show up. Sometimes a discolored ring will also appear around the bite. Flea bites can also sometimes fill with pus. Itching is the biggest symptom associated with flea bites. Symptoms from flea bites can last for a week or more, but they rarely cause significant harm unless the recipient has an allergic reaction.
Establishing flea prevention techniques is critical to keeping the out of your home. Here are some of the most common flea prevention tips:
- Check your pets for fleas regularly, especially around their ears, neck, back, and belly. Remove fleas with a comb, shampoo, or meds. Wash pet bedding and vacuum frequently after fleas are removed.
- Limit the time your pets spend outdoors.
- Limit your and your pets’ contact with wild or stray animals.
- Try to keep strays, wildlife, rodents, and other pests out of your yard.
- Bathe and groom your pets regularly.
- Use vet approved flea control products on your pets.
- Sweep and vacuum often, especially rugs, carpets, couches, and chair cushions. Empty the bag immediately when done.
- Clean both pet and human bedding frequently.
- Mow your lawn frequently and clear it of weeds.
- Don’t overwater your lawn.
- Rake thoroughly.