Fleas are no fun, and often if you pets catch them, so will you. For some owners they either keep pets indoors at all costs, and others don’t allow their pets onto furniture. These methods may work, but aren’t necessarily effective. Fleas are very capable of traveling from host to furniture or to a different host, and it doesn’t take any kind of contact from the original host. If you’re interested in learning more about fleas, you are in the right spot!
Fleas live in four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. It isn’t until they are an adult that they become the bloodsuckers we know them as. While they prefer your household pets, they’re also known to feed on birds, reptiles, and us! What’s worse is that they can survive 100 days without a meal, making it hard to starve them out or wait out their life cycle.
On average fleas only live 2 – 3 months (under the right circumstances they can live up to 6 months at most), but a female can lay anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 eggs in it’s adult lifetime. Since they are short lived, there’s also no season for mating. Fleas are capable of mating and laying eggs for the entirety of being an adult, but the female can’t lay eggs until she’s first consumed blood. Silly as that sounds, fleas do not eat blood until they are between the pupa and adult stage, and for females the first blood they consume is a catalyst for their reproductive organs to start functioning.
Their most notable ability is how far they can jump. Fleas are known for jumping up to 8 inches, nearly a foot in distance or height. This is why they don’t require contact of your pet to furniture or yourself, as they’re well equipped for travel on their own.
The number one best thing you can do about fleas on your pet is to visit your local veterinarian. They will be able to get to know you and your pet and determine the solution that is right for both of you. It can be expensive, but once you and your vet have come to an agreement for the best flea solution to use, you don’t need to visit your vet to get preventative flea medication. Many pet stores, veterinary offices, and even some pharmacies will sell flea medication without appointment or prescription.
Fleas are basically a non-issue if you don’t have pets. They actually prefer animals with fur coats for hiding and warmth, so fleas aren’t as attracted to humans as they are to any other mammal with fur. The only way your home could become infested with fleas if you don’t have pets is due to surrounding animals in the area. There’s also the chance that if you recently moved into a home or apartment with previous owners, they may have had pets who had fleas, and then those fleas may have jumped into the carpet before they moved. It’s reaching, but not an impossible scenario for the confused non-pet owner with fleas.
If you are currently dealing with fleas, there are a few steps to take. Pet owners should immediately see a veterinarian for consultation. You can see if fleas are in the fur of your pet with enough searching, so you are either taking them to the vet for preventative care or for treatment. Again, they’ll know whats best for your pet and your home during this time, so take the time to meet with them!
The best prevention against any bug infestation is to call your local pest control company, but there are some things you can do to lessen the situation or identify problem areas. If you allow your pets onto furniture, you should check the furniture like you would for bedbugs: around the headboard, mattress, and sheets. Wash your sheets and blankets ASAP, and when you’re done jump into the shower yourself! You never know if they’ve jumped onto you during that time you were dealing with your furniture. Fleas can also jump into the carpet, as it can seem like the fur of an animal to a flea. Vacuuming your carpets a few times a week will help prevent fleas from lasting in your home before treatment.
If you are a non-pet owner, you may want to survey the area around your house. It could be that you live in a wooded area and fleas have shown up as the result of wild animals living nearby or even within your home! Some pest control companies offer minor wildlife removal services, but for anything larger than a rat you should look into the local wildlife removal services near you.