The bane of every pet owner, fleas are one of the worst pests going. They cause severe itching for our pets and us, as well as carry diseases. Suffice to say, they’re very unwelcome guests in any home.
It’s helpful to know the signs of fleas in your home, so you can get ahead of the problem before you get a severe infestation. To help you identify them, we’ll be looking at the 9 signs of a flea infestation to watch out for in this article.
1. Itchy Pets
The first place to start on your hunt for fleas is with your pets. Though fleas can live off of other sources, domestic pets are their favorite host.
If you’ve noticed excessive scratching from your pet, this could be a sign of fleas. This is especially true if it is flea season.
Flea season runs throughout Spring and Summer. However, for warmer southern states, fleas and ticks are prevalent all year round.
When fleas live on pets, they tend to cling onto areas pets can’t easily reach. This is most often around the back of the head and neck. However, breeds with thick fur have a huge amount of hiding spots for fleas to infest.
Some scratching for your pets is normal, but if you notice your pet scratching for long periods of time or biting themselves, this is worth a closer look.
The itching from flea bites is enough to drive anyone crazy, including your pet!
As well as scratching and biting, your pet is likely to be restless too. This looks different for every pet, but lots of moving around and struggling to settle are common.
For some pets, restlessness manifests as irritability. So if your usually friendly buddy is snappy, fleas are a possible culprit.
3. Hair Loss
Severe flea infestation causes hair loss in pets. This is sometimes a result of excessive scratching or biting that has gone unchecked.
However, some pets are also allergic to fleas. So for some animals, even a small amount of fleas can trigger sudden alopecia due to an allergic reaction. If you notice sudden hair loss in your pet, you should seek veterinary advice, as well as dealing with the fleas.
4. Irritated Skin
If you notice many small red bumps on your skin or your pet’s skin, it’s well worth checking for fleas. For pets, check their armpit and groin areas first as this is where the least hair is.
Again, for pets who have an allergic reaction to fleas, this sign of fleas can be more severe. Instead of minor skin irritations, you’ll see larger red welts and sores. Like above, your pet needs to visit a vet if this is the case.
If your pet has a severe flea infestation, they’re at risk of anemia. This is because fleas feed on blood. Enough of them and your pet will have a reduced amount of red blood cells, causing anemia.
One of the first signs of anemia is if your pet is lethargic or has pale gums. A decreased appetite, weight loss, and dark stools are other common signs. Your pet should see a vet as soon as possible.
6. Ankle Bites
If your flea infestation is getting out of hand, you’ll start to look like a tasty meal to the pests too.
Fleas don’t only live on pets. They tend to live wherever pets sleep too. For many owners, this is on the floor on a pet bed.
Flea eggs and larvae will fall off your pet and end up on the carpet. Though they jump pretty high, your ankle is a much easier target. So if you’re starting to notice bites on your ankles, this is a common sign of flea infestation.
You can distinguish flea bites from other pests quite easily. They shouldn’t swell much like a mosquito bite and have one small puncture hole in the center of the bite site.
7. Flea Eggs
Your floor is a great hiding space for flea eggs. It’s safe and cozy for them.
You can check your carpet for flea eggs by running your fingers through the carpet and looking for small, white dots. It is helpful to use a magnifying glass for this as they are very small. We’d also recommend wearing gloves so they don’t get onto your hands.
Though carpet is a nicer home for fleas, don’t think because you have hardwood floors you’re safe. Hardwood floors that have cracks and crevices in them build up debris and dust, which fleas also live on.
If you do see flea eggs on your floors, this is a sign of a severe flea infestation and it is wise to contact a professional pest control service.
8. Flea Dirt
Fleas create dirt through their feces.
Flea dirt looks like small black or red-brown specks around your home, as well as on your pet. The red hue comes from the digested blood.
Of course, specks of dirt around your home appear regardless of fleas. To tell the difference, collect the dirt onto a piece of white paper and spray it with water. If you see red and brown hues coming out of the dirt, chances are it is flea dirt.
9. White Sock Test
This isn’t a sign of fleas in itself, but it’s a great way to spot them and very easy to do. Just put on a pair of white socks and walk around your home for around 15 minutes. The longer the sock the better as you have less chance of being bitten.
Make sure to shuffle your feet around different rooms as this will stir up the fleas. After, take your socks off and look for any fleas, dirt, or eggs. They should be easy to see on the white sock.
Do You Have Signs of Fleas?
There are many different signs of fleas of which you may have all or only some. If fleas are only on your pets so far, speak to your vet. However, if you have a flea infestation within your home, it is time to speak to a professional as they are tricky pests to remove.
Mountaineer Pest Control can help you with any pest problem, including fleas. Our work is guaranteed, so we’ll always come back free of charge until you’re 100% satisfied the pests are gone. Get in touch for a free quote.