Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Fleas?
- 2 What Do Fleas Look Like?
- 3 What Do They Eat?
- 4 How Do They Breed?
- 5 Are Fleas Really That Bad?
- 6 Types of Disease that Fleas can Bring
- 7 How Can I Tell if I Have a Flea Infestation?
- 8 Can Fleas Travel from House to House? + Other Methods of Getting Fleas
- 9 How Do I Get Rid of Fleas?
- 10 Conclusion
It’s summer and you’ve just begun to enjoy the lazy, hot season. You’re lounging outside in the yard watching your dog play with your kids but then they stop for a moment and start scratching… then they keep stratching…and scratching. A slight ping of panic hits you for a moment, but you tell yourself to relax. It’s nothing, maybe they just touched something that irritated their skin. You go back to sipping on your lemonade and browsing through your phone while your family has their fun. But then you glance over at the neighbors’ yard and you see their dog scratching too. Oh no – is it fleas? Can fleas travel from house to house? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes, they can.
Fleas are annoying pests that can really get on your nerves. They bite not only their animal hosts, but the humans in the area too. Just like mosquitoes, these nefarious little jumping bugs can spread a host of blood-borne diseases that you would never want to come into contact with. People normally don’t spare much thought for fleas until they end up experiencing having them – and then they do their best to never come across them again. Fleas are certainly incredibly pesky little creatures. Who would ever want them around?
What Are Fleas?
Today, we’re here to help you answer some questions like what are fleas? Can fleas travel from house to house? What are the signs of a flea invasion? How do you get rid of fleas? We’ll even offer up a couple of suggestions for products that can truly help you keep the jumping insects at bay. And so without further ado, let’s talk about these little annoying pests.
First of all, before we can even answer the question ‘can fleas travel from house to house’, we must first take a look at fleas. Getting a better understanding of these tiny pests will certainly help in dealing with them. It will also help when it comes to keeping them away later on, so that you don’t end up having to deal with them repeatedly. Trust us when we say that repeated flea infestations suck – literally. These little insects will suck your pet’s blood as well as your blood. And they’ll make a mess too! If you let the population of these bugs grow out of hand, you’ll be in for a nightmare.
They are parasites
Fleas are insects that are considered to be pests and parasites in probably all parts of the world. They’re extremely resilient little bugs, and it is due to this that they survive almost anything. For pets and their humans, fleas are a problem that can be super easy to acquire, but certainly tricky to eradicate completely. That’s why when it comes to fleas, people will say that it is better to prevent than to have to get rid of them when they are already there.
For those who are unfamiliar with fleas, fleas are basically tiny, wingless insects that feed off blood. They are parasites that stay on hosts. They prefer hairy animals, and they certainly don’t care if the animal is domesticated or wild. These pets will stay on cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, raccoons, deer, and more. If it’s got fur, fleas will probably make a home in it – and the hairier, the better.
What Do Fleas Look Like?
Fleas are extremely small little insects, but they are well designed not just for survival, but also for feeding on blood. A flea’s head has sharp spikes surrounding it, and their mouths are made to pierce through skin. Due to this, the fleas are really good at feeding and sucking out blood.
Generally, fleas grow to less than an eighth of an inch in size at their largest. Despite this fact, they still have the amazing ability to make life miserable not just for their animal host, but for that animal’s human too.
Fleas are wingless creatures, which is why you so often see them jumping around instead. They have really strong legs that allow them to jump long distances, sometimes up to few feet at a time. Flea bodies are usually reddish brown in color, and they are shiny as well. Their bodies are also covered in tiny, microscopic hairs. To allow them to move more easily through animal fur, the fleas’ bodies are compressed.
What Do They Eat?
As we have mentioned above, fleas usually feed off of blood. Adult fleas, that is. These insects don’t care where the blood comes from, as long as it’s from a live host. So if you get flea bitten too, that’s basically the reason. Although adult fleas will seek out and feed on blood, the larvae and pupae of this species will not. Instead, they will often feed off of organic debris found around their environment. Usually, this consists of or at the very least includes the droppings of adult fleas. They eat this for the reason that adult flea droppings will contain some undigested blood.
How Do They Breed?
A flea’s life cycle is similar to that of a butterflies – but the similarities between these two creatures ends there. Females of the species will lay eggs on their host. Often, these eggs will fall off the animal host and end up in some tiny nooks and crannies until they hatch. Upon hatching, they become larvae that are similar to worms. The larvae will eventually begin to spin their cocoons and turn into pupae. It is after this point that they become the adult fleas that terrorize your and your family.
Fleas can reproduce rather quickly and multiply in number explosively, so if you do not nip an infestation in the bud you could have some very big problems. Can fleas travel from house to house? Definitely – if the population of the fleas in your home has grown too large for the available hosts inside to realistically sustain, they will begin looking for other possible hosts nearby. So if you have fleas, your neighbors may get it too – and vice versa. It can be quite frustrating to deal with, but in the end once you know how to get rid of them, you can share the techniques with your neighbors so that they can eradicate their fleas too.
Are Fleas Really That Bad?
Now we all know that fleas are annoying and can cause a world of itching and pain. But are they really that bad, or do they just have a bad rap? Should we really be worried about the question of can fleas travel from house to house, or is it something that people have just sensationalized? After all, fleas are merely pests similar to mosquitoes, right?
Well, even mosquitoes have a really bad reputation. This is due to the fact that mosquitoes can be the bearer of all sorts of serious blood borne diseases. Yes, mosquitoes can bring diseases that can, at times, be fatal to the victim. Other diseases can never be cured forever, lying dormant in the victim’s blood until another flare up is somehow triggered later on.
The Bad News
We hate to bring you more bad news here, but fleas will likewise bring diseases if they have taken a blood meal from a sick host. When these infected fleas bite you or your dog, you are then at risk for catching these diseases. But it doesn’t end there! Fleas can also transmit these diseases through their droppings and feces – especially since their feces contains some blood that remains undigested. Imagine your baby or young toddler playing in the living room, picking up toys and putting them in his mouth. The same toys that have been on the floor where all of the flea droppings are.
Yes – fleas really are that bad. And you really do want to avoid them.
Types of Disease that Fleas can Bring
Can fleas travel from house to house and bring diseases along with them? Absolutely. In fact, fleas remain as one of the major causes of sickness worldwide. As a result, we want to inform you about some of the possible diseases that you can get from these tiny pests. We hope that letting you know about them will help you to become more vigilant in keeping the fleas at bay. Remember, fleas can bring both humans and their pets diseases – so it’s certainly best to keep your pets safe from them too. Let’s talk about these diseases, shall we?
Murine typhus, also known as flea-borne typhus or even endemic typhus, is transmitted by infected cat fleas. It is most commonly transmitted by the bacteria-infested flea droppings. Infections are transmitted when a flea bites you, or when you scratch at a flea bite thereby making microscopic abrasions through which the bacteria can enter. This is because fleas will defecate while they feed (gross, we know). It can take anywhere from six to fourteen days from the moment of infection for any symptoms to begin showing.
Symptoms of murine typhus include but are not limited to: chills, headaches, fevers, and also body aches and pains. Rashes may also appear on the back, chest, arms, and sometimes even the legs. This disease can easily be mistaken for another, which is why it is important to ask for a blood test so that the proper diagnosis is given. Most cases of murine typhus will require hospitalization and an antibiotic therapy to be cured. Thankfully, this disease is on the rarer side of the spectrum in the United States.
Another more serious disease that you can get from fleas is the plague. Yes, the very same plague that decimated nearly half of the population centuries ago. Unfortunately, this disease still does exist, but it seems like these days it is thankfully no longer as fatal due to all of the advances we have made in the realm of medicine. The plague is transmitted by a rat flea of oriental origin.
These days, the plague is probably completely eliminated in the United States. If there are cases, they are extremely rare. However, if you have recently had fleas and you begin feeling shock, extreme weakness, vomiting and nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding, and your skin turning black from gangrene… you better get to the hospital immediately! We don’t mean to be fearmongers – we just wish to keep you informed.
Tapeworms are common enough that everybody knows to do what they can to avoid them. Unfortunately, it is possible for children to end up with flea tapeworm due to coming into contact with infected fleas or their feces. Yes, some children might actually accidentally ingest infected fleas – another reason why you don’t want these bugs in your household.
You can also develop tungiasis transmitted by fleas. In this case, tungiasis is essentially a skin disease that is inflammatory. Thankfully, you likely do not have to worry about this illness because the fleas that carry it are not endemic to the United States. Still, tungiasis can be irritating and difficult to cure. The fact that most infections, almost 99% of them in fact, occur in the feet consequently makes it even more annoying.
Bartonellosis sounds scary probably because not a lot of people have actually heard about it. But in truth, bartonellosis is also known as catch scratch disease, probably something more commonly heard of. It’s transmitted to humans from the bites of fleas, despite it being called cat scratch disease. Symptoms from this disease can be either mild or severe. In most cases, bartonellosis will resolve itself spontaneously within the period of 2-4 months if no treatment is given. In some cases, left untreated the disease can last up to a year. However, in people who are immunosuppressed, it is important to get antibiotics otherwise severe. Complications may occur.
Bartonellosis will cause lymph nodes to swell. Pus may develop as well. Other common symptoms of this illness is overall malaise and achiness, headache, fatigue, and in some cases fever.
How Can I Tell if I Have a Flea Infestation?
Generally, if you have fleas, they can be relatively easy to spot for the reason that these little monsters love to jump up and around. These jumpers are certainly obvious the the human eye. However, there are many other different ways in which you can confirm whether or not you have an invasion on your hands. Can fleas travel from house to house and not be spotted? Certainly. But hopefully, with the information below it can be easier for you to tell.
Scratching and Constant Grooming from Pets
If you have cats or dogs that have become infested with fleas, chances are you will see them scratching often. You will also see them frequently grooming (i.e. licking themselves) in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort that these pests bring. It’s possible that you could be facing other pests such as ticks, because they do present similarly. Therefore, to confirm whether you have fleas or otherwise, you will need to step up and check. Examine your dog for jumping fleas. If you feel like you must, disturb their fur to make the fleas move or jump, consequently making them much easier to spot. Be sure to wash your hands after you do so. Once you confirm a flea problem, you should immediately plan your next steps.
Droppings All Over
Another good clue that you may have a flea invasion on your hands is when you see droppings all over the place. Unfortunately, it won’t always be easy to spot. Due to this, you need to be on the look out for what appears to be coarse, ground up black pepper granules. You will often find this in your pets’ beddings, on carpeting, on rugs, and even on the couch if your pets love to hang out on it. The best way to look for the droppings is probably to just closely scan everywhere that your pets like to hang out on.
This may be a harder thing to do if you suspect a flea infestation but you do not have any pets. Can fleas travel from house to house in your clothing? Certainly, yes. If this is the case, you will have to check your clothes, your bed, the carpet, and even the couch. Do not touch the droppings, as it may carry disease like we have mentioned above.
Itchy Welts on Humans
If you find yourself suddenly getting itchy spots all over, you might just have a flea infestation. Another possible reason is bed bugs – and due to this reason, you should check your bed for the possibility of these pests too. If you’re getting itchy red bumps all over your body, you may want to get checked out by a doctor. After all, these itchy red welts can be just about anything.
However, if you notice that most of the bites are on the lower half of your body and you see adult fleas or droppings around your home, it’s probably fleas. In that case, all you need to do is plan your next steps in getting rid of them.
Spotting The Young
Are you wondering whether you can see the eggs, larvae, and pupae of these bugs? The answer is yes, you probably can – probably with a magnifying glass. The fact is that these insects are tiny, and as a result their eggs and larvae are tiny too. Because of this, they can be really hard to spot. However, eggs, larvae, and pupae are usually found in certain areas. Look for them in carpets, in furniture, behind furniture, under furniture, in pet bedding, and even in holes and cracks around your home. They won’t really get up high, so you can look on the lower half of the room. You may find them in cracks in flooring, or in baseboards for example.
Can Fleas Travel from House to House? + Other Methods of Getting Fleas
Finally, we have arrived at our main question: can fleas travel from house to house? We’ve already answered this question multiple times, and the answer is yes. On their own, fleas are able to jump far enough to be able to make the distance between one house and the next (assuming it’s not miles away, of course). But are there even more methods of transmitting fleas? The answer is certainly yes – it seems like there are a myriad of ways in which fleas can get into your home. Let’s talk about some of them.
There is a small chance that fleas can hitch a ride home with you. They do this by clinging onto your shoes or on your clothes. As humans, we don’t tend to pay too close attention to our clothing, especially if nothing really seems like it’s amiss. And so, it’s easy for these bugs to use us as their vehicles for finding their next hosts. Unfortunately, because the tendency for us is not really obsessing about our clothing, the best way to deal with this problem is by simply using natural repellents. There are many products available (or you can make your own from herbs and the like) for purchase that can help you to keep these insects away. An effective way of preventing hitchhiking!
It’s truly quite obvious that the most probable way of fleas being transmitted is through animals. And it’s not necessarily by the adult fleas hopping from one animal to the next, either. In fact, your dog can bring home fleas by simply rolling around on the ground. If he rolled onto eggs, he can bring them home and cause an irritating invasion. As we have mentioned previously, eggs of fleas are smooth and will fall off of the hosts. As a result, fleas propagate rather effectively.
When infested animals (wild or domestic) visit your home, chances are they dropped off some eggs so you can expect an incoming invasion. Once you start spotting some fleas, make sure you do something about it immediately. After all, these insects multiply so quickly that you can have a population in the thousands in as short as one month.
As we have mentioned above, it can be truly difficult to spot eggs and larvae of fleas. As a result, they may be hiding inside or even on furniture and you would not even know about it. If you purchase a piece of furniture from a yard sale or a flea market (ironic) and it turns out that there are flea eggs on it, you might just end up with an infestation as well. And so, if you plan to buy some furniture from sources that are not exactly on the beaten path, be ready to call for a steam clean before you take the furniture into your home. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle some borax or some diatomaceous earth all over it instead. Wait a day or two, vacuum everything up, then finally take the furniture inside.
How Do I Get Rid of Fleas?
We’ve come to the part of the article where we can finally talk about how to get rid of fleas. We’ve armed you with all of the necessary knowledge you need to understand these parasites better. Now, it’s time for us to arm you with the ‘weapons’ with which you can get rid of them. It’s no longer a question of “can fleas travel from house to house” – now, it’s what’s the best way to get rid of them?
Identify and Treat The Hosts
If you notice that you have fleas around your home, chances are they are on your pet too. Therefore the first step in eradicating these critters is to check your animals. If you confirm that your pet(s) has fleas, you can then purchase some flea treatment products you can use to kill them off. If you catch the infestation early enough, something as simple as a medicated shampoo might already be enough. However, if the population of these bugs has grown significantly and there are now eggs all over your home, chances for reinfection are high. In this case, you may need to get other products, on top of getting your entire home treated.
Going to the veterinary clinic is the best and fastest way to eliminate fleas from your beloved pet. This is because vets will usually recommend a product suitable to your pet that will completely kill the fleas off and make your pet an uninhabitable host. We don’t recommend that you simply purchase these products without the advice of a vet – after all, you may be putting your pet’s life in danger if the product is not suitable to them. Take this opportunity to also get the veterinarian to give your pet a physical to see if there are any other issues that may need to be taken care of.
A good way to eliminate pests and keep them away is to make sure that your pets are regularly groomed. Use anti-flea shampoos or soaps at least once a week in order to kill off any insects that may have decided to make your pet a home. If your dog also has very long fur that requires regular brushing but you do not have the time to commit to it, consider getting your dog’s hair cut shorter. Unbrushed, knotted, and matted fur makes an even more inviting home for fleas – so disinvite them.
There are many products available online to help you get rid of fleas and keep them away. There are products such as flea traps, anti flea/tick sprays, flea collars, shampoos, soaps, spot treatments, and more. Most of these products use chemicals to kill fleas and prevent their normal cycle of development into adulthood. As a result, the entire infestation is stopped in its tracks. Products like Frontline Plus https://www.amazon.com/Frontline-Medium-23-44-pounds-Treatment/dp/B0002J1FN0, for example, are spot treatments that you can apply on your dog once a month. This will protect your dog for the entire month, at the end of which you will have to reapply it again. Products like these are available in different variants for different sized dogs.
Once you’ve identified the hosts of the fleas and treated them it’s time to break out the vacuum. We suggest a vacuum with a disposable dust bag so you can simply throw the bag out when you’re done. If this is not possible, then we suggest you clean out the dust bag very carefully when you are done (we even suggest using an anti-flea spray or something similar to treat it with). Use your vacuum to very thoroughly suck up all of the larvae, pupae, eggs, and droppings that you can find. Really give your home a thorough vacuuming so that you can be sure no reinfections will occur.
Clean Pet Beddings Regularly
If your pet goes outside a lot, we suggest cleaning their bedding more often. However, cleaning your pets’ beddings at least once or twice a week is recommended regardless, to remove any possible flea eggs or droppings. As an added bonus, you also clean off any dust or dander from your pets, so you can help keep your home even cleaner. Don’t forget to also regularly inspect you’re your pet and your pet’s beddings and regular hangouts for any signs of fleas so that you can immediately cut off an incoming invasion if you see any!
Fleas are certainly very annoying creatures that can cause many different problems. In some rare cases, they can cause diseases that may bring severe symptoms. However, the most noteworthy and most irritating thing about fleas is the fact that they can grow to thousands within a month if left alone. Therefore, it’s even more important to make sure you take the above steps to get rid of fleas as soon as you notice them. We hope that we’ve answered the question of can fleas travel from house to house, and that we’ve given you everything you need to fight off any flea invasions!