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Fleas Are Very Tricky

american cockroach in west palm beach home

Have you ever bought trick candles for a birthday cake and watched giddily as your family member tries to blow them out? Getting rid of a flea infestation is a lot like trying to blow out a cake full of trick candles. Just when you think the infestation has been conquered, it suddenly springs up again, starting in one area and then spreading throughout to the rest of the house. And then the cycle repeats itself. You vacuum all the rugs again. You wash all the bedding again. You wash any clothes you think those fleas could be hiding in. You clean the couch. You clean the recliner. You give your pets yet another flea bath. You do everything you did before in hopes to eliminate those biting pests. And, once you’ve finally finished all of these tasks for the second time, you notice a tiny flea spring through the air and land on your foot while you're brushing your teeth in the bathroom, and the never-ending cycle begins once again. It's enough to send you over the edge! But that isn't even as bad as it can get. On top of all doing all that cleaning, treating your pets, and dealing with itchy flea bites, you could become sick with a fever, stomach cramps, body aches, or worse from those fleas. These biting pests are able to spread parasites and pathogens to humans as well as cats and dogs. If you think it is no fun dealing with a flea infestation when you're well, imagine doing it when you're sick! Here's what you need to know about flea-related illness:

Fleas aren't born with diseases or parasites. The tiny fleas we see springing around inside our homes aren't larvae that have hatched from their eggs; they are adult fleas that have hatched from their cocoons. There is a big difference between the two. Newly hatched larvae do not carry diseases or parasites but newly hatched adults can be infected.

When fleas hatch from their eggs, they look like small worms. In this stage, they will wiggle around in carpets, furniture, pet beds, and other birthplaces in search of a blood meal. However, since their mouthparts aren't powerful enough to feed on the blood of cats, dogs, humans, or other animals, they must rely on the generosity of adult fleas. As adult fleas move throughout the home seeking blood meals and feeding, they leave behind droppings called flea dirt; their larvae then feed on that flea dirt to get the blood meal they need. Though the droppings of adult fleas are their primary food source, flea larvae can also feed on the feces of other animals such as rodents. If you have a rodent living in your home that is infected with disease-causing bacteria or a parasite, the flea larvae in your home could become infected before they enter their cocoon stage. The results of this is infected adult fleas emerging from cocoons that could spread illnesses to you, your family members, and your pets. For this reason, it is vital to have a rodent infestation properly addressed by a professional as soon as you detect it.

This transfer of disease can also occur when an infected flea feeds on your pet and, in turn, infects them with an illness or bacterium. This can make your pet a reservoir for illness as the feces of the fleas feeding on your pet can then spread the infection to developing flea larvae as they feed.

Some of the illnesses that can make us sick do not affect our pets in the same way. If your cat contracts the bacterium that causes cat scratch disease, they may only experience a slight fever for a couple of days. However, if you become infected with this illness from a cat scratch or bite, you could become very sick.

Human illnesses spread by fleas are primarily tapeworms, murine typhus, and several forms of Bartonella. Pet-related illnesses spread by fleas include tapeworm, flea allergy dermatitis, bartonellosis, and anemia.

When Should You Call A Professional For A Flea Infestation?

If you catch fleas early and take action immediately to arrest the infestation, you may be able to fix your flea problem on your own, though this is often not the case. Here are three reasons to call a professional at the first sign of a flea infestation:

  • If you have a flea AND rodent infestation, it is time to call a professional.

  • If you have children under the age of 6 or an individual with a compromised immune system living in your home, it is best to contact a professional to resolve the issue quickly.

  • If you want to know for sure that your infestation is gone, professional treatment is the way to go.

If you live in South Florida, start here for fast relief from a flea infestation! Our professionals at Nozzle Nolen Pest Solutions would be happy to help!

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