Fleas are among the most troublesome bugs to contend with.
They are little and reproduce swiftly. Adult fleas can be picked up by pets in a variety of ways, in case you are wondering where your pet got fleas from. Your dog or cat can pick fleas from other infected animals or just by touching things that harbour fleas like carpets.
It might be exhausting to deal with adult fleas, and you might think that your flea infestation would go away as soon as you start using traps.
But before you bombard your home with flea traps, there are some things you have to know.
Let’s start with what fleas look like.
What do adult fleas look like?
Let us start with a little flea biology.
Adult fleas are very small insects, so small that they measure about an eighth of an inch in length. They are usually dark coloured, and they can take on a reddish or brownish appearance, depending on the species, the age and whether or not it has recently had a blood meal.
You may observe that adult fleas are very hard to spot because they move quickly.
Do fleas fly?
No, they do not have wings but rather can jump great flea distances just to get to one part of their host from another.
They prefer to dwell in warm, damp conditions where they may easily reproduce and multiply. Because most of them have trouble coping with the intense cold of winter, you’ll see them more frequently in the summer than in the winter.
Can you see fleas normally?
Using just your human eye, it is almost impossible to see adult fleas.
Even if you can see them, they appear as small dots bouncing on your pet’s fur. It is even harder to see them when they have not sucked blood yet, as the blood they suck fills them up and gives them the regular flea shape we know.
It is hard to see flea larvae too, as these are even smaller than fleas themselves.
Flea larvae can be reddish or brownish too, although fleas go from the larval stage then to the cocoon state before becoming adults. Flea control has to include all stages of a flea’s life cycle.
What things attract fleas?
You may be perplexed as to why you have a flea infestation. Fleas are attracted to two things: first, heat, and subsequently light. It would not have worked if you assumed a certain aroma of food would attract fleas.
Fleas prefer warm environments, so it’s no surprise that they can’t seem to leave you and your pets alone. You attract fleas if you can either get the kind of light they want or lure them in with the odours they enjoy.
Fleas are mostly looking for two things when they enter your area: warmth and carbon dioxide. Fleas will jump on anything that emits body heat, which unfortunately includes you and your cat.
How do I deal with a flea infestation?
Now that you know you have a flea infestation, it’s time to seize the bull by the horns and get rid of those pesky insects.
First and foremost, you must recognize that you must be constant in your flea removal efforts.
They are creatures with a lot of stamina.
Fleas will not go away if you are not active in your extermination efforts, and they will continue to bother your pest and household. Your house will continue to act as a good breeding environment for fleas as long as your pet has fleas, and the infestation will continue.
Will flea traps get rid of fleas?
Flea traps can get rid of fleas, but this does not mean that they are going to magically disappear just because you set up a couple of fleas traps.
Before you even think of getting rid of them, you have to know their habits and how they move around to know how and wh en to trap them.
Like we said earlier, fleas are good jumpers. Fleas jump from one host to the other and from one part of the host like the armpit to the hand very quickly, making it hard for you to track them in the first place.
Do traps kill fleas?
The answer to this question is both a yes and a no.
Yes, traps will kill fleas that land on them. So if fles land on a glue board or some kind of sticky flea trap, they will die over time due to hunger and exhaustion.
However, traps do not kill fleas that are already present on animals. This is because fleas will not leave a host as far as they can continue to reproduce and deposit eggs. So there is no way for you to kill the fleas on your furry companion unless you take direct measures.
Flea traps will attract and catch fleas, but they will not be able to eliminate an active infestation on their own.
The explanation is simple: fleas are significantly more attracted to your pets than to traps because fleas have evolved to select a suitable host rather than a light bulb. As a result, your pet gets the flea’s attention.
How long does it take for a flea trap to work?
Flea traps will take a while to start working well, but you might see a few fleas in your trap after some hours.
Remember that in your flea traps, there have to be mechanisms that capture fleas. Try to make your trap very efficient so it can catch as many fleas as possible.
Homemade flea traps should contain enough soapy water, preferably a few drops of dish soap. This dish soap increases the water’s surface tension produced by soapy water. Commercial traps like a sticky pad or glue traps can become one of the best flea traps.
Do flea traps work?
Yes, flea traps work.
But the success of your flea traps rests solely on you. If you do not put the traps in a good location, they might end up giving you little or no results.
Homemade flea traps are usually tricky to set as a DIY flea trap may involve dish soap, water and a tea light, all of which need to be carefully situated.
Different flea infestations require different approaches. For example, a serious flea infestation would require more than one flea trap, a simple flea trap can be used for simple flea problems.
Electric flea traps work quickly, usually getting results in minutes. Is there any ultimate flea trap?
No, you should do what works for you. A homemade flea trap made of soapy water and a candle might just be perfect for your kitchen but not your room.
How long does a flea infestation last?
There is no single answer to this question.
Depending on the severity of the flea infestation, the size of your home/property, and where you live, it could take anything from a few days to a few months.
However, if you use the flea trap in appropriate ways, you should see considerable results in just one week. You need to be patient with flea control as it takes time.
Do I need flea traps?
While it can be disappointing to note that flea traps will not clear up your infestation magically, they are still helpful:
Early warning signs:
They can be used as an early warning sign that you have fleas. If you put a small trap on the floor and notice that it actually catches fleas, then you could already have an idea of what you are dealing with. Placing a few traps about the house could reveal a tiny, manageable infestation before it gets out of hand.
If you see a good number of fleas on a mice trap, for example, it could mean there are still a lot of fleas hiding in your carpet or elsewhere in your home.
Before they make their way into a trap, some of these fleas will grow up, mate, and deposit their eggs meaning if you do not act quickly, you could have a flea problem pretty soon.
Shows you their hideout:
Traps might also be effective even if you are certain you have a flea infestation.
You can assess whether regions of your house have more or less flea activity by placing a few traps about the house. This will allow you to focus your therapy efforts on the regions that require the greatest attention.
Can stop a re-infestation in its tracks:
Traps are still useful when you’ve finally gotten rid of the flea infestation.
They can provide you with the assurance that the fleas are truly gone. They will help you know sooner if the fleas make a comeback by allowing you to monitor the flea population in your home, so you can get on top of it before it becomes a serious problem again.
How do I kill fleas on my pet?
Before you can kill fleas on your pet, you have to be sure that you are dealing with fleas. Other biting insects can hop on your pet like dash and dash, but if you really want to be sure you are dealing with fleas, do the following:
- Dab your pet or its bedding with a moist towel. This will reveal flea waste that will appear as specks of blood.
- Check your pet for red, inflamed skin and body parts that have fresh scabs or sores.
- Your pet might become moody or just start acting weird because of the flea problem. Check if there is anything else that could cause a mood switch.
If left unchecked, your pet may develop heartworm or tapeworm if you let the flea infestation get worse.
Now, these tapeworms can also infect you as well, so it is important to deal with fleas as soon as you notice them. Flea bites are equally uncomfortable especially from cat fleas as cat fleas can really bite hard.
Ways to kill fleas on your pet
After you are confirmed you are in a battle with fleas, the next thing is to gear up and start eliminating them right away: you can eliminate fleas by:
Using a topical medication:
These are medications that are applied to your pet’s fur or skin. Topical doses are divided into three categories: pet type, age, and weight. Topical flea treatments
They work by killing adult fleas and preventing the development of new ones. Most fleas will be eliminated within a few hours, but topical therapy can take days to fully take action.
Fleas can also be killed with oral medication.
If you feel your pet will be more comfortable with chewable tablets, then you can also get them as most chewable has a nice taste and may appear like candy. The difference between oral pills and topical medication is that while oral pills get into fleas AFTER they bite your pet, topicals affect fleas directly, even when your pet has not been infected yet.
Again, fleas can be killed with a pet-safe spray.
Flea sprays have the ability to kill fleas on contact. However, there is a downside to this. Many household sprays are dangerous to most animals and are not pet-friendly. Ideally, you should ensure that no human or animal is present in the room. Target specific areas like where your pers normally stay or around their beddings.
Flea shampoo can be used on your pet to kill fleas. Before you purchase any shampoo, check it in with your veterinarian. You both should be able to conclude the best shampoo for your pet’s size, fur, and skin sensitivity.
Treatments like shampoos and sprays may kill fleas on your pet, but they will not eliminate the problem in your home. You have to prevent the occurrence of fleas both on your pets and in your home. Let us look at how you can prevent them on your pet first.
If you detect that therapy is irritating your pet’s skin or creating an allergic reaction, stop using it. If your pet has any known sensitivity to drugs or chemicals, tell your veterinarian.
How to prevent fleas on your pet
Once you start treating your pet fleas, you would never want it to have fleas ever again.
Besides, what is the point of treating fleas in your home, only for them to be multiplying rapidly on your pet?
While treating your home or pet for fleas, you have to simultaneously prevent them from multiplying since they have a very short life cycle. How can you do this:
- Limit your pet’s time on the lawn until the problem is resolved. Some pets, such as cats, may benefit from being kept solely indoors.
- Wash pet bedding in hot water. After each wash, dry the pet bedding on the highest heat setting. Make sure any cleaning chemicals or soaps you use are safe for pets. Pet beds and where pets spend a lot of time need to be inspected from time to time
- Comb your pet for fleas: Using a flea comb, groom your pet inch by inch, checking for fleas or flea eggs. Once you’ve combed the critters out, have a bowl of warm, soapy water ready to soak them in. Fleas love to dwell around the neck, groin, armpit and tail. Even if you think your pet has no more fleas, still, comb your pet for a few days to make sure fleas don’t reappear.
- Take your pet for veterinary examinations regularly. Veterinarians can tell you if your pet is at risk of fleas and other parasites, as well as suggest preventive measures such as monthly medication for your little companion.
- Allow your pet to groom itself! Grooming is how your pet cleans itself up and makes sure it looks good. Do not try to stop your pet from grooming as you can be encouraging another flea infestation.
- Prepare a homemade DIY mixture you can easily use in your pet from time to time. Make a strong solution by incorporating two cups of rosemary leaves with hot water. Let the liquid cool before you spray, rinse, or soak your pet in the herbal water.
Traps can be a pain to keep clean and maintain, so you want to be sure you need to before you keep them.
Empty and re-fill soapy water flea traps regularly, and clean or replace sticky trap surfaces.
To control fleas, you need to apply both flea treatment and probably an insect growth regulator to interrupt flea lifecycle and stop larval fleas from developing too.
Dead fleas can cause allergic reactions, so if you can not handle flea control or trap fleas yourself, call a pest control company.