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Fleas are a common problem in homes especially if you have pets. Many times homeowners find fleas left behind in homes and apartments recently vacated by those with pets. 

While fleas can transmit disease, in Canada it is very rare. Instead, the primary concern is the distress that flea bites cause to people and pets.

Understanding fleas

There are many species of fleas, but most are 2-3mm long and red or brown in colour.

  • Adult fleas pierce the skin of mammals or birds to feed on blood.
  • Flea larvae feed on organic matter in carpets or bedding, so high hygiene standards can slow the life-cycle.
  • Flea cocoons can remain dormant for two years or more and are awoken by the vibration of footsteps.
  • It is very common for a flea infestation to remain dormant in an empty home and awaken once new people enter the home.

If you need help with a flea problem in your home contact the experts at Rentokil at 877-690-2115 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.

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Treating flea bites

Flea bites are marked by a tiny dark spot surrounded by a reddened area, but the swelling is less pronounced than with other insect bites. A single flea will often bite two or three times in the same area in search of blood.

The flea bite is usually felt immediately, but it does not particularly hurt. It is the itchiness that results from the body’s reaction that causes discomfort.

Flea bites usually disappear on their own and do not require any vigorous treatment. However, keeping the bites clean and avoiding scratching are key.

Infants are at higher risk from being bitten by fleas particularly when playing on the floor. They also tend to be more sensitive than adults to flea bites.

After several flea bites, some people develop an allergic sensitivity to being bitten, leading to an itchy rash or eczema. Consult a pharmacist for advice and treatment.

While fleas cause humans distress, pets are often much more affected by flea bites. Often one of the first signs you’ll see that there could be a flea problem are pets scratching or biting at the fleas in their fur.

Pet flea prevention

Even with the best care, it is difficult to protect fully against the risk of your dog or cat catching fleas.

When your pet has fleas, it is likely that it will scratch more often or try to bite the fleas in its fur. A flea comb and frequent grooming may be sufficient to prevent fleas establishing themselves, but your vet or pet shop will offer treatments to protect your pet from fleas.

Consult your vet if there are signs of irritation such as reddening of the skin or if there are thin patches in the coat of your pet.

How to get rid of fleas

If your pets are showing signs of a flea infestation it’s important to take quick action to remove fleas and their larvae. Some steps you can take immediately include:

  • Vacuum carpets and furnishings where pets sleep to remove fleas and eggs. Use the strongest suction that will not damage the fabric. Take care emptying the vacuum cleaner as fleas will still be alive.
  • Shake or beat rugs and pet bedding outdoors so that fleas and eggs fall off
  • Wash pet bedding every week, ideally at temperatures above 49℃ to kill fleas
  • Take care when transferring bedding, rugs, etc, to avoid spreading flea eggs
  • Consider placing pet beds in areas without carpets such as on wooden floors

Minor flea infestations can be treated by spraying the affected areas with insect killer or flea killer sprays. Established flea infestations will have spread around the home and may require professional treatment.

Rentokil offers a call-out service to treat fleas and other pest problems in the home. Our service is fast, effective and offers the highest level of safety for your family and pets.

If you think you have fleas in your home, call Rentokil at 877-690-2115 or by using our online contact form to schedule a free estimate and to discuss possible treatments.

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