Signs of Fleas in a House

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A dog scratching is a possible sign of fleas in your home.
A dog scratching is a possible sign of fleas in your home. (Image: Ronja 5 image by Nadine Wendt from Fotolia.com)

Even if you do not have pets in your home, flea infestations happen. These parasites jump onto hosts, such as pets or human family members and find their way into your home. A single flea is capable of laying up to 1,000 eggs before it dies. Knowing the signs of fleas in your home helps you know when to start fighting to prevent a single flea from turning into thousands.

Scratching Pets

Your four-legged friends let you know when fleas are on them. A typical fleabite causes mild itching, resulting in your cat or dog scratching. The more fleas your pet has, the more it will scratch. Some pets have an allergy to fleas known as flea allergy dermatitis, in which a single flea bite causes pain. They tend to scratch more intently, even with fewer fleas. Pets also develop sores over their body.

Flea Tracks

Another telltale sign of fleas is flea tracks. These look like little specks of black dirt and tend to be comma shaped. Flea tracks, also known as flea dirt, are dried blood after it passes through the digestive tract of the flea. A way to test flea tracks is by placing it on a moist paper towel. If the area around the flea tracks turns reddish in color, it is flea tracks.

Flea Bites

Flea bites are another sign of a flea infestation. Fleas prefer to live on animals like cats, dogs, rabbits or guinea pigs. Fleas will feed on humans, especially if there are no pets in a home. Flea bites range from very small, red spots on your ankles to larger red spots and open sores on your entire body, depending on how widespread the infestation is and your sensitivity to the bites.

Visual Confirmation

Despite all the other signs, the only way to be 100 percent sure your home has fleas is to visually spot one. Fleas may jump onto you or your family, making their presence known. If you don't visibly spot a flea and you still wonder, you have a few options. For your pets, brush them with a flea comb over a white sheet to make it easier to see fleas that fall off. If you do not have pets, walk through your home wearing white socks. Fleas are attracted to the lighter color. A third option is to set up a flea trap. Fill a shallow dish with 1 to 2 inches of water and a squirt of dish soap. Place the dish in the center of a carpeted room. Place a desk lamp 4 to 6 inches above the dish. Turn off all the other lights in the room and leave the setup overnight. Fleas are attracted to the light and jump to reach it, landing in the dish of water.

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