The Pacific Northwest is known for its lush landscapes and coastal climates. Many residents love the outdoors and our temperate climate. However, pests – one in particular – enjoy it, too! We’re talking about fleas – tiny insects that survive by feeding on animal or human blood. These parasitic pests are active all year round and pose problems for you, your pets, your home, or your business. As local pest control experts, we want to share insights, practical tips, and tailored solutions to ensure a comfortable and flea-free environment for your furry companions and family.
Common fleas in the Pacific Northwest
There are over 2,500 flea species globally, with more than 300 found in the U.S. The most common type of flea that bothers people living in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon is the cat flea. Even though they’re called “cat fleas,” these little buggers are the go-to troublemakers on all sorts of pets, not just cats but dogs and other furry pals.
Though they are small, here are some key characteristics that can help you identify fleas:
- Size: Up to ⅙”
- Color: Brown or brown with a reddish or yellow-brown tint
- Body Characteristics: Flat bodies with a head, thorax, and abdomen, along with six legs, two eyes, and short antennae. Their bodies are covered with hard scales and tiny hairs that help them grip their host. Fleas have a unique mouth structure with three parts, allowing them to pierce the host’s skin and feed on blood. Their hind legs are longer than the front ones, helping them move fast and leap up to 13 inches horizontally and 7 inches vertically!
Are fleas dangerous?
While flea bites themselves may not cause lasting harm, they can bring some unwelcome irritation. The bigger concern, however, lies in the fact that these tiny creatures are more than just annoying biters – they can carry some serious health risks. Fleas are known to transmit various diseases, posing potential health issues, especially for pets. From parasites to bacteria, these pests can bring more than just itchiness. Diseases like typhus and even the infamous bubonic plague are in their repertoire. So, keeping those fleas under control isn’t just about comfort; it’s a vital step in ensuring the health and well-being of everyone involved.
How to prevent fleas in your home
Preventing fleas is much simpler than evicting them once they’ve settled into your home. These sneaky pests can make themselves at home in carpets, bedding, and other surfaces frequented by your pets. To ward off a potential flea infestation, make sweeping and vacuuming a routine. Ensure that carpets, rugs, and even cushions on chairs and sofas get some vacuum love, and remember to empty that vacuum bag outside when you’re done. Additionally, stay on top of your laundry game, especially when it comes to pet bedding – a regular wash with soap and water works wonders in keeping fleas from making themselves too comfortable in your home.
How to prevent fleas in your yard
To keep fleas away from your yard, make it less appealing to them. Regular mowing not only keeps your lawn tidy but also exposes the soil to sunlight, making it less appealing to fleas. Avoid over-watering to prevent the creation of a humid environment ideal for fleas. Treat your dog runs with insecticides to create a less hospitable environment for fleas. Keep your lawn raked to remove debris. Lastly, take steps to keep rodents and other animals, like opossums, away from your home, reducing the risk of flea infestations. Check out Guide to Oregon Pest Wildlife for more wildlife prevention tips.
How to prevent fleas on your pets
It’s hard to limit the amount of time your pets spend outdoors, but try to limit contact with wild and stray animals. Take care of your pets by brushing and bathing them regularly and checking them for fleas and teas. But remember, we’re pest control experts and not veterinarians. If you want to prevent fleas on your cats, dogs, or other furry friends, have a conversation with your veterinarian about the right flea control products for your pet.
How to detect a flea infestation
The best way to avoid a flea infestation is to practice flea prevention. But unfortunately, fleas are persistent. Check for the following signs of a flea infestation:
- Frequent Scratching: If your pets are scratching excessively.
- Flea bites on humans: Red, itchy bumps or rashes, typically found on ankles and lower legs.
- Visible Fleas: Spotted on your pet’s fur or jumping around your home.
- Changes in Pet Behavior: Includes signs of restlessness, agitation, or discomfort.
- Flea Eggs or Larvae: Found in your pet’s bedding, carpets, or other areas they frequent.
- Hot Spots and Flea Dirt on Pets: Look out for small black specks or irritated and inflamed areas on a pet’s skin
How to get rid of fleas
You can get rid of fleas on your own, but this can be difficult and time-consuming because fleas multiply quickly. Consider the following actions to manage fleas on your own:
- Regularly vacuuming your living spaces.
- Wash all bedding and linens.
- Seeking advice from your veterinarian for safe pet flea treatments.
- Maintaining your lawn with short grass and well-kept landscaping.
Although these methods contribute to flea control, it’s worth noting that professional pest control services often yield more efficient and enduring results. This is mainly because dealing with a flea infestation involves a thorough strategy that encompasses not just adult fleas but also their eggs and larvae.
Safe, pet-friendly flea control near you
An integrated pest management (IPM) approach is the best way to get rid of fleas and keep them from coming back. This means a non-chemical management solution is your first choice and chemical management is your next option. A local, professional pest control company like Interstate Pest Management is well-versed in the unique challenges posed by fleas in our region. Our step-by-step flea control process includes the following:
- Inspection and Identification: A technician will thoroughly inspect your property, identifying the extent of the flea infestation and pinpointing prevalent areas.
- Targeted Treatment Application: Using pet-safe and eco-friendly adulticide and insect growth regulator treatments, our technician will focus on flea hotspots, disrupting their life cycle. We recommend vacuuming all floors twice daily for fourteen days post-treatment.
- Ongoing Monitoring and Prevention: Scheduled follow-up visits by your technician will assess treatment effectiveness, make adjustments as needed, provide homeowner recommendations for preventing future infestations, and offer ongoing support for maintaining a flea-free environment and residual control.
We serve the following locations in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon and their surrounding areas:
- Flea Control in Kelso, WA
- Flea Control in Olympia, WA
- Flea Control in Vancouver, WA
- Flea Control in Portland, OR
If you’re interested in affordable, safe flea control, get in touch with us here or call us at (503)-832-4997.