Can I bring fleas home from someone else’s house?
Yes!, some times with your pets or in rare cases in your clothes. Fleas are external parasites that feed on the blood of birds or mammals. There are about 2000 different species of insects, but the one most often found infecting houses or parasitizing domestic animals is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis).
Fleas are introduced into the home by other animals. Like most insect pests, fleas have a high reproductive capacity. Females can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. A single female can lay up to 2000 eggs in her lifetime, giving these insects an excellent capacity for proliferation if not controlled in time.
They are introduced into homes mainly by other parasitized animals, such as domestic animals, wild animals, or poultry.
Fleas are a very persistent pest
Before becoming adult individuals, the larvae go through a pupal stage by forming a silk cocoon. Inside these cocoons, the fleas are resistant to insecticides, so adult fleas can appear even after treating the house and infected animals.
They also can wait for months inside the cocoon for proper temperature and humidity, or even wait for the presence of guests. The latter is achieved by detecting the vibration generated by the movement of people or pets, by identifying the emission of carbon dioxide produced by respiration, or by detecting pressure on the pupa. Thus, they can wait in a dormant state in an empty house until it is inhabited again.
How to detect a flea infestation in your home
Early detection of a flea infestation in the home is the key to more natural control. To do this, you must be very attentive to the behavior of pets in the house. If they frequently scratch on their legs, back, or belly, they probably have fleas. In that case, it is essential to examine the animals for any trace of these parasites.
It is usually challenging to see fleas on a pet’s body because they hide very quickly in the fur, but traces of their presence can be seen, such as the red fences left by bites on the skin, or bloody feces. The feces are found on the surface of the infected animal, especially on the skin of the neck and the base of the tail, and look like small dark pellets or capsules similar to peppercorns.
It is also useful to examine all areas frequented by pets (carpets, beds or blankets where they sleep, and generally any surface where they usually pass or rest) for eggs, larvae, or adult individuals. Fleas can give from pets to people, so another clue to their presence is the flea bite marks on the skin, especially when they wake up in the morning, characterized by a reddish mark that is very itchy.
How to Prevent a Flea Infection at Home
Prevention measures in households can be applied at two levels: outside and around the house, or inside. The preventive measures outside are based on reducing the possibility of fleas entering the interior of the house. This is achieved by removing weeds or keeping the lawn very short. In this way, we avoid creating environments favorable to the reproduction of fleas that can be a source of entry into the interior of homes.
On the other hand, it is essential to prevent wild animals from entering or nesting inside the house or its surroundings, as they can be carriers of the pest. To prevent this, chimneys, holes, cracks, holes, or ventilation tubes through which animals such as rats, mice, squirrels, or birds can enter can be sealed or covered with mosquito nets.
If you have pets that go outside, you should restrict them to areas that are heavily infested with fleas and prevent them from coming into contact with other infected animals. It is also essential to protect pets by applying veterinary products against external parasites.
Inside houses, a good measure of prevention and control is frequent cleaning, especially in the areas most visited by pets. Vacuuming has been shown to eliminate 95% of flea eggs, as well as some larvae and adults.
Also, it also eliminates the dried blood feces left by the adults, which are the primary source of food for the larvae. However, if, despite all this advice, you are unable to avoid or control a flea infestation at home, the best solution to prevent the problem from becoming uncontrollable is to contact a company specializing in pest control.