Flea Identification Guide

What are fleas?

Fleas are tiny parasites, about the size of a speck of dirt. Their hard body is reddish-brown and wingless. Fleas have powerful back legs they use to jump and wade through the fur of their animal hosts. They have specialized piercing mouthparts used to hold onto their victims and feed on their blood. You can also identify these insects by their whisker-like spines on and near their heads. 
Fleas feed on the entire body of an animal host. When feeding on humans, however, they generally only bite around the legs and feet. Their bites leave behind small red spots encircled by a reddish halo. 

flea on a white dog

Are fleas dangerous?

Fleas are ectoparasites, meaning they live and feed on the outside of their host. Their only source of food is blood from warm-blooded animals like cats, dogs, rodents, and wild animals. Fleas will bite and feed on the blood of people, but we are not their main hosts. These tiny insects can spread some diseases to people and animals. But, the most significant risk associated with fleas is that they are intermediate hosts for parasitic tapeworms and transmit them to both people and animals. 
People and animals allergic to flea saliva can also develop flea allergy dermatitis, which causes an intense itching sensation, sometimes leading to a secondary infection. Animals with a large infestation of fleas on them may develop anemia.

Why do I have a flea problem?

Fleas are pests that can become a big problem on any property, whether you own pets like cats or dogs or not. They’ll come onto a property on the backs of wild animals traveling across it or foraging for food on it. Adults fleas or their eggs fall off the body of their animal hosts and onto the ground. The adults will seek out a new host (you, your kids, or pets), and their eggs will hatch into new feeding and breeding adults.

Fleas hitchhike their way inside on used furniture or rugs. They also get in on the backs of rodents or other wild animals that have made their way inside to nest. Fleas are prolific breeders and capable of completing their life cycle indoors, making them a difficult pest to control and eliminate.

Where will I find fleas?

Fleas spend their days living and feeding on their hosts or hiding out in areas that animals frequent waiting for a new host to come by. Outside, these insects hide in shady, damp areas like tall grass, under leaves, and in the dirt under decks and shrubs. Inside, you’ll find fleas and their eggs in rugs, the cracks of floors, behind baseboards, in upholstered furniture, and bedding. 

How do I get rid of fleas?

Acquiring help from a professional pest control expert is the best way to eliminate fleas and keep them from returning. At Albemarle Termite & Pest Control, our technicians are highly trained and dedicated to providing safe and effective pest control services that are affordable. We are a local, family-owned pest control company whose number one priority is putting our customers first and exceeding expectations. For home or business owners looking to eliminate pests from their property once and for all, call Albemarle Termite & Pest Control today!

How can I prevent fleas in the future?

Pests are not just a nuisance; they pose potential health risks and are capable of damaging property. Avoid problems with fleas with the help of the following prevention tips.

  • Vacuum your home often.
  • Do not buy used rugs and upholstered furniture for your home.
  • Keep grass on your property cut short, and regularly trim back bushes and shrubs.
  • Remove food sources from your property that attract wild animals like bird feeders and open containers of trash.
  • Keep rodents and other animals out of your home. Seal up openings in its foundation, exterior walls, and roofline.
  • Inspect yourself and pets for signs of fleas before coming indoors.
  • Treat all pets with a year-round flea preventative product under the guidance of a veterinarian. Also, regularly bathe and groom your pets. 

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