All pet owners expect to find fleas in their house at some point. However, what most people don’t realise is that fleas are not just a pet problem; cats and dogs are not the only animals in and around your house that have fur.
In the absence of a pet, one of the surest signs of a flea problem is if you’ve become the recent victim of flea bites. This may leave you wondering how fleas got into your home in the first place.
How Did I Get Fleas in My House?
Like all parasites, fleas ultimately require a host and continual blood meals in order to survive and mate. Being so tiny, it doesn’t take much to satisfy them. A flea can happily enjoy a full life feasting on a rodent, squirrel, fox or any other animal, including a neighbour’s curious cat, that may use your patch of lawn as a thoroughfare, live among the foliage outdoors or even enter your house unannounced, dropping off a few flea eggs as they go.
Fleas have an impressive vertical leap, being known to jump as far as 30cm or more so it’s pretty easy for fleas to enter your house by catching a ride in on clothing or shoes as you or any guests walk across any flea-infested patch of lawn in your front or back garden or even bring a few home after a walk in a nearby park or wooded area.
Similarly, fleas can just as easily enter your living space if you’ve recently returned from a visit to a friend or family members house that has a flea problem either known or yet to be discovered.
If you have just moved into a new home where the previous owners had pets, flea infestations can occur when adult fleas, having remained in their cocoons for extended periods of time, receive stimulus that a suitable host may be nearby.
Can Fleas in my House Survive Without a Host?
Given that fleas need a host to survive, it may seem counterintuitive that these pesky creatures which thrive on furry animals can live in your carpet, in the gaps of hardwood flooring, in-wall junctures, between baseboards and even under furniture. The short answer, however, is yes, fleas can survive without a host under certain circumstances.
Fleas prefer warmer climates and are most comfortable in temperatures around 18 degrees Celsius which is why you’d generally see any explosions of them in the warmer months. Depending on their life cycle, fleas and flea eggs that have been tracked indoors during warmer weather are able to snuggle deeply into carpets and floorboards to ride out cooler weather far from a host.
It is believed that female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day, and once the eggs fall off a host, the eggs will fall on your carpets, floors, furniture, and then they will wriggle into the shadows where it is dark and cosy for them. Safely out of view they eventually develop into pupae and spin silky cocoons from which they will emerge as fully developed fleas. Pupal development generally takes as little as 10 days but if no host is yet identified, an adult flea will not emerge, and the pupa will remain dormant which can be for periods as long as two years.
Rather like something out of a fictional vampire novel, a dormant flea pupa will only awaken when it senses body heat, movement or carbon dioxide expelled from a potential host’s breath. Once newly emerged, an adult flea will jump onto and attach itself to an identified host to begin feeding. Should the adult flea fall short of the mark and not be able to feed on a host immediately, it will die.
How Can I Get Rid of Fleas in My House?
If you find fleas in your home, it’s important to do a thorough inspection of your exterior and interior walls to find clues of any possible small animal infestations. Look for holes in skirtings boards around your home, including those under cupboards and built-in furniture. Also, inspect your house for tell-tale droppings or signs of nests. Make sure to check inside cellars, attics and roof crawlspaces too as this can be a favourite hiding space for rodents, especially if you have any type of insulation that will make a perfect nesting spot for them.
If it turns out that your house is uninvited furry guest furry free, then those fleas may have instead been using you or your friends and family as a taxi service from the great outdoors.
Keeping fleas infestations at bay on your own can take a fair amount of time, effort and knowledge to be successful at it.
This is when you need pest control for fleas and other critters. A sure fire way to get rid of these pesky parasites and their long-surviving eggs is to call in a professional to assess the situation and advise you on next steps.
Not only will you be assured of a thorough investigation to identify all possibilities of your flea infestation, but a professional service will also be able to eliminate the scourge by treating both the inside of your house as well as any outdoor areas of concern. We’ll also offer the best advice on how to prevent further flea invasions.
Contact us today to return your home to a happy flea-free space.