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Answering Portland's Most Commonly Asked Flea Questions
flea crawling on skin

Whether you have a cat or a dog or an itch that just won't go away, it’s time to get answers to your most pressing questions about fleas. Let’s start with the basics.

What Are Fleas And How Will I Know If I Have Them?

Fleas are small parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. They are under a quarter-inch long and dark brown in color. They have no wings and are narrow, making it easy for them to travel through our pet’s fur. The most common way to discover a flea infestation is by noticing excessive scratching in pets. You may also see the fleas themselves in your pet’s coat. They are most likely to be noticed near a pet’s ears, groin, inner thighs, or base of the tail. You may see “flea dirt,” tiny black crumbs that look like pepper when combed out of the coat. If an infestation is advanced, you may see fleas hopping on curtains, carpets, or furniture.

Can Humans Get Fleas And Are They Dangerous?

Fleas will bite any warm-blooded animal they can find, which means if fleas are in your home, it could be said that you have fleas. The danger in this reality varies by circumstance. At best, flea bites can be irritating, at their worst they can cause allergic reactions and transmit dangerous diseases. Some humans have an allergic reaction to flea bites that can cause anaphylaxis (intense itching, hives, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, hands, and mouth, and even death). Fleas are also known to transmit bubonic plague, murine typhus, tungiasis, and tularemia.

Why Are Fleas So Hard To Kill And Do DIY Methods Work?

Fleas are hardy and they breed at a rapid rate. There are many ways pet owners have discovered to combat fleas. Some of the most common include shampoos and dusts containing insecticides. The drawback to these solutions is that they only kill adult fleas. Eggs and larva continue to develop and once they mature, females can lay up to 50 eggs of their own each day. Some people feel that Dawn dish soap is the solution to their flea woes. While this soap does compromise the flea’s exoskeleton and makes adult fleas sink and therefore drown, it doesn’t repel them or prevent infestations. Additionally, only a small percentage of fleas are on a pet at any given time and other fleas in the environment will simply hop back on and restart the infestation cycle. Oral systematic treatments for pets have shown promise in keeping fleas at bay as have spot-on liquid insecticides. These methods kill adult biting fleas and stay effective for up to a month.

How Can I Get Rid Of Fleas Or Will They Go Away On Their Own?

Waiting for fleas to go away on their own is bound to be a fruitless (and itchy) endeavor. True flea control comes from a combined effect of good housekeeping, support from your pet’s veterinarian, and professional pest control. Keeping your home clean can be just as important in flea control as keeping your pet clean. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae spend as much as 90% of their time off of pets on carpets or in furniture. It’s important to vacuum often and steam clean carpets and rugs to kill eggs and larval fleas. Make sure to think about outside as well. Keeping a well-groomed lawn can help you to avoid rodent infestations and the fleas they bring with them.

What If I Try Everything And I Can’t Get Rid Of Fleas?

Once fleas get a foothold in your home, they can be nearly impossible to get rid of. If all else fails, call the professionals at Big Blue Bug Solutions for a leg up. We have over 80 years of experience providing effective, responsible solutions to flea problems in the Portland area. See where you stand by calling today for a free inspection.