With the UK currently experiencing a considerable spike in flea activity, protecting our homes and families from this pest has become a top concern for homeowners across the country.
About the size of a grain of salt, these small and indiscriminate parasites breed at such an alarming rate, that those trying to treat a problem in their home may get the impression that these vampiric pests are resistant to treatment.
Thankfully, that is not the case.
Seasonal little beasts, fleas like warmer temperatures, and summers like the one we’ve just experienced, create the perfect breeding conditions for them.
Undetectable to the naked eye, until hatched from their eggs, flea infestations can grow rapidly, populating your home with thousands of these nibbling blighters in no time at all.
Intrinsically attributed to pets, while our cats and dogs are often the host of choice for these parasitic little nasties, (and commonly how fleas make their way into our homes), it’s not only pet owners at risk of a flea infestation.
While our pets provide body heat, fur in which to hide, and all the food the fleas can eat, these pests can survive outside of a host too.
Armed with their incredible ability to jump, fleas can make the journey from the carpets and soft furnishings they favour in our homes, to our skin, before heading back to the warm disguise of our carpets.
But I don’t have pets!
Poochy and kitty aren’t the only ways fleas could find their way into our homes, and an infestation of fleas may arguably be more troubling for non-pet owners, with the added concern of how the fleas came to be there in the first place.
Friends or family visiting your home with their pets could very easily transfer a flea problem to your abode.
Sometimes, neighbours’ cats resting in your garden and by the home, and even wild creatures such as Opossums, Raccoons, Squirrels and Skunks can also help spread the problem to your garden, which can then easily be brought into the home.
Even properties that were once home to cats and dogs could harbour an undetected flea problem, even if considerable time has passed since the home was pet-free.
Flea pupae are protected by a cocoon while they develop into adults, but if no host is available, they can stay cocooned and protected for up to 2 years.
When the fleas detect movement, warmth and carbon dioxide, which indicates a host is present, they come out of their cocoon and their troublesome nibbling of our pets and us humans commences.
For non-pet owners, where there isn’t an itchy pet pawing at their body like their life depends upon it, don’t worry – We know what to look for.
Pest professionals know that eggs, larvae and pupae are likely going to be present in flea infested but pet-free homes, so we can help treat the problem effectively.
At Key West, we’ve treated countless cases of flea infestations, in both homes with pets, and without. We know what to look out for, what to suggest and how to treat the problem.
If you think you’re sharing your home with these little vampires, it’s best to call in the professionals.
Fleas? Argh! How do I keep them out of the house?
When it comes to pests of any kind, the trick is to protect the home to prevent activity, and hinder these pests making their home in yours. To prevent flea activity in the home, we need to pay some attention to two separate areas – The home itself, and our pets.
Starting with the home, while it’s essentially impossible to prevent bringing an almost undetectable flea egg into the home, there are things you can do.
Perhaps the most obvious method of prevention is to have those awkward conversations with any pet-wielding guests you may have, before poochy is let inside.
Attending to elements of disrepair across your property will help to prevent the access of flea-carrying pests into your home. Two very awful birds – One glorious stone.
Similarly, in homes or parts of the property constructed using timber, replace any weathered or rotting planks, as these are weak points of your home that could be worked away by flea-infested pests.
To be on the safe side, Fleas hate tea tree oil, borax and garlic sprays, which you can use around the home to deter fleas. Drops of tea tree oil can also be used in shampoos and body washes to protect the family.
Pet owners should vacuum regularly, and wash your pet’s bedding, at a temperature of 50 degrees or above, once a week if not more frequently.
Utilise flea combs regularly, as wild creatures ridden with fleas could bring them into your garden, for your beloved pet to bring back inside the home, a host to these awful pests.
Flea larvae feed on the organic matter found in our soft furnishings, such as carpets, cushions, and even our bedding. Ensuring your bed is changed frequently, and bedding, cushions and all washable soft furnishings are washed regularly, will help to prevent these awful vampiric pests from infesting your home.
Notoriously disruptive and flea-ridden, to deter wild creatures such as fox’s rabbits and rodents etc from entering your garden, ensure food and other rubbish is disposed of in securely closed bins.
Food is food, no matter the animal. Don’t welcome fleas to your door aboard their wild furry hosts.
If you’re green fingered, your pride and joy apple tree or vegetable patch might cause you a pesty little problem. Beyond that, trimming grass and taming foliage can help to prevent flea-carrying pests from hanging out in your garden.
Finally, on a related point, remove bird feeders from the garden and refrain from leaving pet food outside, as both can be smelt by wild creatures from miles away, with their parasitic fleas aboard.
Animal owners should treat pets regularly and be sure to consult with a vet for the recommended treatments for your type, and breed of pet.
What are the signs of flea activity in my home?
Human fleas, while uncommon, can be found in the UK, but this species rarely survive a good vacuum. As for cat and dog fleas, there are some tell-tale signs of a flea problem in the home.
For pet owners, look for small reddy-brown creatures crawling on your pet’s coat. For cat owners, their neck will be the most likely area targeted by fleas, and dog owners should check Poochy’s hind quarters.
When inspecting your pet’s skin, check for fine black droppings, like ground black pepper, which may also be found on your pet’s bedding, and on your carpets and rugs.
Non pet owners should inspect gaps between floorboards, carpets, rugs, and bedding for fleas, flea dirt and the less easily seen flea eggs. Sticky they may be, but flea eggs laid on a host won’t stay there for long, and commonly end up in these areas.
They’re already here – How do I get them out of the house?
Okay, so your home has a flea problem. Unfortunately, when it comes to this pest. DIY treatments will likely only be partly effective, if you’re lucky. You’ll be saving time, money and months of frustration by calling Key West. We battle this pest regularly and can normally eradicate the problem in a single treatment.
There are things you can do before we arrive, to help get things moving in the right direction, and no doubt help calm your nerves by springing into action.
First of all, treat your pet, and then temporarily remove them from the home. Yes, this may seem cruel, but fleas need your pet to survive, and the fleas in your home would get back on Poochy and Kitty the second they’re treated and back in the home.
Thoroughly hoover the home, furniture, curtains, rugs, skirting, everything! Then, empty the hoover away from the home.
Wash clothes and sheets. – Washing items over 90 degrees should do the trick.
Then, call Key West.