Flea extermination for a healthy home

If your pet is scratching itself incessantly, it may have fleas—if so, you’ll need to move into action fast. Elite Pest Control has the know-how to help you identify the problem and carry out a flea extermination that will keep your home flea-free.

Signs of a flea infestation

The main indicators of a flea problem are:

  • Your dog or cat is compulsively scratching or biting itself
  • Your pet has sores on its skin and/or is losing hair around the affected areas
  • You or members of your family are being bitten on the lower legs, feet and ankles

The next step is to take a closer look at your pet. Part the hairs on its hind end and neck and look for fleas moving around, in the fur or on the skin. Fleas can measure anywhere between 1.5 and 2 mm; they are brown or black, while their eggs are whitish and harder to see.

You might also see tiny black specks on your pet’s skin or on pale surfaces in your home, such as counter tops or linoleum floors. This is called flea dirt; it is, in fact, flea poop. If you sprinkle some water on these specks, they will turn red from blood residues in the flea’s feces.

What kind of fleas are in my home?

Cat fleas and dog fleas are not the same species. Interestingly, dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) do not infect cats, while cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) have evolved to be able to prey on dogs. In Quebec, most household dogs are in fact suffering from these highly adaptive feline fleas.

Canadians may occasionally be exposed to rat fleas (Xenopsylla cheopis), while the species that lives and thrives on human hosts—Pulex irritans—is very rare here.

All types will happily bite humans in the absence of an animal host. If a pet or rat infestation is removed from the home, or if an infected cat or dog enters your house or previously lived there, you could have flea eggs in your carpet or in your bedding and sofas. Although fleas can’t live on humans, hatchlings can jump onto your feet, ankles or lower legs and bite to draw blood.

Are fleas harmful to people and pets?

Beyond the inconvenience of their itchy bites, fleas can transmit pathogens to humans through their saliva. As a flea bites into the skin of your pet or yourself, it can inject harmful bacteria that cause diseases like typhus, the plague and cat scratch fever.

In some cases, the animals carrying the fleas may not themselves get sick with an active form of the disease; when humans are subjected to bites from these same fleas, however, they can become gravely sick and even die.

If you experience any untoward symptoms after receiving flea bites, consult with your doctor immediately. Normal flea-bite reactions can include the following:

  • A small, red, raised bump at the site of the bite
  • Bites on the feet, ankles, lower legs, waist or breasts
  • Itching that can last up to a week

Flea bites on humans can, with time, get bigger or become infected. They can also be confused with other pest bites such as bed bugs or mosquitos. If in doubt, consult your medical doctor.

How to get rid of fleas

The first step is to use a flea product on your cat or dog. We recommend monthly prevention and control treatments such as Advantage or Frontline. These are applied monthly to your pet’s skin, at the back of the neck, where he or she can’t reach with tongue or paw.

Next, dust, sweep, vacuum and wash all surfaces and fabrics that your pet has come into contact with. Use a disinfecting solution for washing, and use your drier’s hottest setting for fabrics. The goal of this is to eradicate eggs that have fallen from the pet as it moves around your home.

An effective prevention program is the strong foundation of any flea-control scenario. Start by keeping your pets free of fleas, and then bring in a professional exterminator to get rid of their eggs.

A professional flea extermination service

For persistent flea problems, a pest-control company is the best solution. Our expert team of technicians will correctly identify the pest problem and take measures to eradicate it in the safest way.

We recommend treating and removing all pets from your home for 4 to 6 hours after the use of insecticides. You should also remove fish and turn off aquarium pumps during this time. Our operators will give you further instructions to follow when you book an extermination.

Call Elite Pest Control today to learn more about our integrated parasite management plans. We offer free assessments and à la carte or turnkey services that include prevention, extermination, decontamination and home sealing.