We love our pets, but we don’t love the parasites that feed on them. Fleas brought in under a dog’s or cat’s fur can jump more than three feet from the dog to carpets, furniture, and humans. While they prefer to feed off the four-legged family member, they do fulfill their dietary needs on humans as well. The results—lots of itching and scratching.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to have a pet to have a flea problem. Fleas can ride in on clothing or exist as remnants of former tenants. Flea larvae can even lie dormant until disturbed coming to life to feast on your family.
One sign that you might have fleas is small red itchy bumps commonly on the feet and ankles as the fleas will often find harbor in carpets. Before assuming that you have fleas, however, you may need to determine that your problem is not a bed bug infestation instead as the signs are similar.
You can test your home for fleas by walking around the carpets in white socks and watch for fleas to land. You can also check for flea stains in flooring and near pet beds. Fleas appear as tiny specks of dust. They range in color from dark brown to black and are about 1/8” long. Even after you have determined that you have a flea infestation, you will need to determine what kind of flea you have as there are over 2,000 flea species. Furthermore, in order to fight fleas, you will have to fight the different life stages. During the cocoon stage, the larvae will weave silken barrier that protects them from insecticides. They can stay in this stage for up to four months.