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Fighting the Flea: Infestations and what to do about them



Did you know that Georgia’s flea and tick “season” isn’t a season at all? In fact, Georgia sits in the middle of a line of states in the South that have year-round flea seasons. Although this might be upsetting to hear if you live in a state like Georgia, there are many ways to rid your home of these tiny pests.


What are fleas?

Fleas are small, wingless insects that survive by ingesting the blood of mammals. Although fleas typically inhabit fur, fleas can also survive on the blood of human hosts and birds. There are over 2,000 species of fleas estimated to inhabit communities across the globe. The flea’s life cycle can be broken down into four stages:

  1. Egg

  2. Larva

  3. Pupa

  4. Adult

Flea treatments can often vary depending on which life stage is targeted. Some treatments kill fleas in their egg/larva stage while others may work to kill adult fleas.


These insects enjoy warm, tropical climates, but have been known to survive in colder, polar temperatures as well. In addition, dog fleas and cat fleas are actually classified as different species of fleas. Dog fleas tend to be reddish-brown in color with a sharply curved head while cat fleas are reddish-brown with a shallowly curved head. Cat fleas can infect more hosts than dog fleas. Surprisingly, the most common flea found on dogs, cats and humans is actually the cat flea.


Getting started

Ultimately, the goal is to make your home as unwelcoming to fleas as possible. You may think that starting inside your home where the infestation is may be more effective. But, getting rid of fleas starts by ridding them from your yard.


They may be difficult or impossible to spot in the grass, but fleas can infest a yard much like they can a home. The CDC recommends five steps when it comes to ridding your yard of fleas.


  1. Keep grass short and trimmed: Fleas hate sunlight and tall grass can provide too much shade allowing the pests to take over your yard

  2. Avoid overwatering your lawn: Fleas also love humid environments and a wet lawn can provide space for the insects to survive and reproduce faster

  3. Consider an insecticide: It may be necessary to apply flea-killing chemicals to your grass to keep bugs at bay

  4. Remove leaves and debris: Leaves and debris allow fleas to hide from sunlight and avoid exposure to insecticide

  5. Keep wild animals away: One of the most common ways fleas get into your yard is through other animals so ensuring trash cans are secured can be an easy way to lower the number of fleas in your yard


Tackling an indoor infestation

An indoor infestation of dog fleas is not only a nuisance, but can also affect the health of the people and animals inside your home. Fleas can leave you and your pets’ skin itchy and irritated. One of the first steps to take is washing high-contact areas like dog beds, blankets, and toys that could serve as a hiding spots. Bathe pets as well washing fur with unscented flea shampoo or Dawn soap and brushing through the fur with a flea comb.


If your pet does not take regular flea and tick prevention, it’s also suggested that they take either oral or topical flea treatment. Regular monthly preventatives are an important part of your pet’s healthcare and can reduce the number of infestations you experience. In addition, there are also emergency oral medications that can rapidly kill fleas within 24 hours. Talk to your vet before giving your pet new medications or treatments.


If you choose to treat your home by yourself using a fogger or a bug bomb, be sure to read the label to see if pets must be removed before applying the treatment to any part of your home. Keep in mind that home treatments will not kill the fleas on your pets. Dogs and cats must be treated individually. Also, consider calling a pest control professional, especially if you have multiple pets inside the home, to treat your house for fleas. That way, flea control products can be applied professionally to ensure everyone in the house avoid dangerous or harmful chemicals.


A more natural way to get rid of fleas is to consider making a flea trap.


You’ll need a few things:

  • Shallow bowl or pie dish

  • Dish soap

  • Water

  • Light source

Fill a shallow dish with one part dish soap and three parts water. Place your light source near the bowl. The fleas will be attracted to the light source and suffocate in the trap. For maximum effectiveness, place the trap near your pet’s bed until the fleas are gone.


Fleas can be tricky. Often, it takes more than one treatment to totally eradicate the pests from your home. But with time and patience, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the number of fleas on your beloved pets.


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