How Did This Happen?
It is possible to have fleas in your home even if you don’t have pets, though it’s not common. If you find your home infested with no pets, there may be a few explanations:
- Stray dogs and cats in the neighborhood may have dropped them off by your door
- Squirrels, raccoons, opossums, rodents and even deer may have spread them to your yard
All of these animals are likely to have fleas. As they cross through your yard they may drop off the adults or eggs that will hatch. Now, when you walk through the yard, they will hitch a ride into your home. To rid your home of these pests, a yard treatment may be necessary as well as an interior treatment.
Flea eggs hatch in approximately 1 to 6 days, depending on the temperature and humidity in the air. Full development from egg to adult may take several weeks or months depending on the weather. A flea can live up to 3 to 4 months without a host. If a stray or a wild animal dropped them off in your yard, they may be patiently waiting for you to walk by.
Bites not only cause discomfort for humans and animals alike, they pose a serious health risk. Fleas are capable of transmitting plague and murine typhus. They can also serve as intermediate hosts for dog tapeworms and rodent tapeworms, which occasionally infect humans, especially young children. Infection can occur when fleas are accidentally ingested. If you do get fleas it is important to eliminate them as soon as possible.
How To Keep Pets Free of Fleas
If you do have four-legged family members (or will in the future) here are some ways to prevent them from getting fleas:
- Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt. Be aware of excessive scratching, licking and nibbling grooming behavior in pets.
- Avoid walking in tall grass where there is a greater chance of encountering fleas and ticks.
- Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing brushy vegetation along the edge of the woods or a trail.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys frequently.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.
- Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle.
- Speak to a veterinarian about flea and tick prevention treatments.
- If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to treat the problem.
With this knowledge hopefully, you will be able to prevent your four-legged friends from getting these unfriendly bugs. If you don’t have pets, but end up with fleas, don’t be surprised. It can happen to anyone, but take action now!