Throughout history, fleas have been associated with terrible and deadly diseases, like the black death. Fortunately, in this present age, and particularly in the United States, these insects are mostly just a nuisance. In our Tampa Bay service area, flea infestations are common but rarely associated with diseases. But a flea infestation might be worse than you think. Given the right circumstances, fleas can be a nightmare to deal with. Let's take a look at a worst-case scenario.

dog scratching fleas
flea infestation

Fleas Are Found

A pet owner discovers flea dirt on her cat. She gets out a comb and explores the cat's fur for the presence of fleas. To her dismay, she finds one. As she parts the fur, the tiny black speck disappears from view. It's definitely a flea.

First Step

The pet owner has heard that vinegar and water can kill fleas. She decides to give her three cats baths. It is a difficult process as the cats don't want to be bathed in warm water, never mind the fact that it has vinegar in it.

After the baths, the pet owner sprays her carpets, furniture, and pet bedding with the vinegar solution. She then removes her bedding and puts everything she can through a hot washer cycle and a dryer cycle.

No more flea infestation, right?

Step Two

The pet owner discovers fleas springing up from the rug as she walks through her bedroom. She goes to the internet to find more natural preventative treatments for fleas. Some internet "experts" say diatomaceous earth is the way to go. She sprinkles it all over the carpets in her bedroom.

No more flea infestation, right?

Step Three

The pet owner finds fleas on her bathroom floor. They leap at her legs while she's brushing her teeth. They're not gone! The next day, it's off to the pet store to get some suggested products for addressing fleas. She sprays her couch and realizes she can't tolerate the smell. She also doesn't want the fleas jumping off the couch, so she moves the couch out onto the screened-in porch and proceeds to bathe the cats in products she purchased at the pet store.

No more flea infestation, right?

Step Four

The pet owner still sees fleas in the bedroom and the bathroom. She can't tolerate the smell of the spray she got from the pet store so she sprays everything with a vinegar and water solution, puts everything she can through a washer and dryer cycle, and even attempts to fashion traps to catch fleas. The traps use desk lamps to lure the fleas and plates with a water and dish soap solution to kill the fleas. These traps seem to be working as there are dozens of dead fleas in the morning. But there are still fleas jumping around in her home, and her cats still have fleas on them.

Step Five

After wasting money, time, and energy, she finally calls a licensed pest professional. The pest professional performs a treatment and the pet owner is given the all-clear. She brings her pets back into the home and settles in.

No more flea infestation.

The treatment provided has a residual impact on the fleas in the home. Unseen to the pet owner, it works to eliminate fleas that hatch from their eggs. This prevents them from developing through the larvae and pupae stages and becoming adult "jumping" fleas that bite her and her cats. The treatment provided by her pest professional also eliminates fleas that were hiding in their protective cocoons. When they emerge, they don't live long enough to bite her or her pets.

A Flea Infestation Can Be Worse Than You Think

If you attempt to go after fleas with DIY flea control remedies, you can find yourself frustrated, tired, and covered in flea bites. If you purchase flea control products, you can have similar results. When these products are not administered correctly, fleas can continue to infest your home and torment you and your pets with bites.

Flea-Borne Diseases

While rare, it is possible for illness to occur. On top of having itchy bite wounds, you can become sick. 

  • The most common human contracted disease is Murine typhus. This illness is most often associated with flu-like symptoms.

  • Another disease that can cause flu-like symptoms is tularemia which can occur when fleas come in contact with rodents and then bite humans.

  • You may also get cat scratch fever, which is a form of Bartonellosis. This can have strange symptoms, one of which is blindness. Fortunately, the blindness is only temporary.

Most of the time, fleas are just annoying pests that irritate your pets, or cause issues for sensitive pets such as flea allergy dermatitis which can lead to skin irritation, hair loss, and scabs on the skin caused by scratching.

The fast solution to flea infestation is to contact a licensed pest professional. If you live in Tampa, reach out to EcoTech Pest Solutions for assistance. 

 

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