With Warmer Weather, Fleas Reemerge as a Pest Threat

Thursday, April 28, 2011

By NPMA Staff

 

When temperatures rise, families - including pets - flock outdoors to enjoy the spring weather. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that fleas can cause significant health and property threats for homeowners and their pets. 

Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded bodies and have an extraordinary ability to jump, allowing them to move easily once inside a property. 

Although closely associated with pets, as flea saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and transfer tapeworms, these pests can cause significant problems for homeowners as well. Fleas often infest blankets, furniture and even clothing, while also reproducing quickly, especially when warm-blooded hosts are present. Even more, the presence of fleas - if not brought in from the outdoors - can be indicative of a secondary pest problem as these pests frequently transport themselves on rodents.   

"Fleas can pose serious threats to both health and property and as such, it is imperative that homeowners - and pet owners - be vigilant of these pests," says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. "These parasites have the keen ability to infest and reproduce quickly, which makes them difficult to eradicate. If you experience a flea infestation, it is essential to address the problem in a timely, professional manner." 

The NPMA offers homeowners the following tips to help protect their pets from flea infestations during the spring season: 

  • Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt, especially after being outdoors. Be aware of any excessive scratching, licking or grooming behavior.
  • Avoid walking pets in tall grass where fleas often gather.
  • Treat your pet's environment: Wash pet bedding, plush toys, and vacuum frequently.
  • Check your pet (and yourself) thoroughly after you have been in known/potential flea-infested areas.
  • If you suspect a flea infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to rid your property of these unwanted pests and prevent future infestations.