Signs of fleas include seeing visible fleas and experiencing flea bites on yourself or on your pets. Fleas are a reddish-brownish parasite that feed on blood, especially of dogs and cats and sometimes humans. Humans may experience flea bites when pets have been gone for awhile or when newly-hatched fleas are searching for a host. A flea bite often causes swelling and intense itching. Some fleas may spread diseases, such as tapeworm and typhus.
Fleas and their larvae, which resemble small worms, are most present in areas where pets sleep (especially pet bedding and the surrounding carpet) and in dark, undisturbed areas of the home. Vacuuming carpets, upholstery, and furniture, and washing pet bedding and rugs are effective methods of managing an infestation.
However, insecticides and/or professional pest control may also be necessary to fully eradicate the fleas. Fleas will be an ongoing problem if nothing is done; as long as there is a host and a safe place for larvae, the fleas will continue to thrive and produce future generations, increasing the difficulty of getting rid of the fleas and potentially increasing the risk of disease.
In addition to frequent cleaning of pet areas, you will likely need to use an insecticide to fully get rid of fleas. Pets may receive a shot or ingest a pill which prevents flea reproduction. You may also choose to use a flea collar which distributes insecticide chemicals on a pet’s fur; however, according to research, flea collars may be less effective than other methods. Hand sprays containing insecticides kill the larvae when applied directly onto affected areas of the house, including carpet fibers and furniture. Fleas may persist for a few weeks so you may need to spray every week or two and continue to vacuum pet areas.