How Fleas Get Into Virginia Yards and Homes

flea on skin

In Virginia, the fleas that most commonly plague homeowners are cat fleas. But don't let their name fool you. Cat fleas can affect dogs too and are also more than happy to bite humans to get the blood meals they need if there are no pets around to feed on. Let's take a look at a few of the ways these fleas might find their way into your Virginia home to plague you and your pets.

Some Ways Are Obvious, Others Are Not!

It seems appropriate to start with the most obvious way cat flea can get in, and that is on your cat. If you have a cat that goes outside, your cat can pick cat fleas up in your yard and carry them back into your home. So preventing flea infestations in your home has a lot to do with understanding how those fleas are introduced into your yard in the first place.

Though fleas can jump an impressive distance for their tiny size, that’s not how they find their way into our yards. Instead, they use that ability to jump onto passing mammals which then carry those fleas right into your yard. Therefore, everything you do to prevent wildlife traffic in your yard will reduce the flea populations on your property. Here are a few ways you can accomplish this:

  • Keep exterior trash stored in plastic bags and place those bags in sealed, plastic receptacles. This will keep the smell of garbage from luring wildlife animals to your home.
  • Keep your grass trimmed and the weeds on your property to a minimum. This will make your yard less inviting to wildlife.
  • Keep lawn clutter picked up; wildlife pests, especially rodents, will use clutter as hiding places as they skittishly explore your yard for food and harborage sources.
  • Use fencing to keep wildlife from getting under your deck and other external structures or from feeding on outdoor food sources such as garden vegetables, berry bushes, and fruit that has fallen from trees.
  • Trim bushes around your foundation perimeter to make it harder for animals to hide in them.

Cat owners often get flea collars for their cats and then consider both their pet and their home to be protected from fleas, but this is actually not the case. While it is certainly a good idea to get a flea collar for your cat, it isn't the end-all for flea problems. You are still at risk for a flea infestation. In fact, you can get a flea infestation even if you are using a combined regiment of veterinarian-prescribed flea products. Those fleas are resilient pests and won’t go down without a fight!

The next, slightly less obvious way that fleas can get into your home is on your dog, if you have one. Dogs pick fleas up in the same way cats do. The dog owners who create fenced-in areas for their dog(s) to play in give their pet the best chance of avoiding fleas when they're outside. And, of course, it is important to treat them with veterinarian-prescribed flea products.

While cats and dogs can and do bring fleas into homes, they are actually not the most common animals that do this. Can you guess which animal is? If you said the common house mouse, then you are exactly correct. But to be fair, Norway rats do a pretty good job of it too. So don't be surprised if you have an indoor pet and still have flea problems. In fact, don't be surprised if you don't have any pets at all and you still end up with a flea infestation as rodents are likely the culprits.

It is vital to understand the link between fleas and rodents because, when these two pests work together, they can create the perfect storm for an ongoing infestation. What do we mean? Consider this example:

A husband and wife discover that their dog has fleas. In response, they wash their dog's bedding, vacuum all the carpets in their home, bathe their dog and treat it with flea products, and spray store-bought insecticides in strategic locations around their home. This seems like it should be enough to stop those fleas from invading, yet they keep experiencing itchy flea bites and keep finding tiny, black specks crawling around in their dogs' fur. This drives them to take all the steps they took before all over again and throw in some other treatment ideas for good measure. But they are still experiencing flea problems in their home. Why? Because everything they're doing has no effect on the fleas that are on the rodents hiding within their walls. And this scenario plays out a lot more than you might think.

When dealing with a flea infestation, it is essential to address problems with mice and rats as well. Those fleas are hard enough to get rid of when you don't have rodents bringing them in or carrying them into protected locations within your walls.

Wildlife 

However, mice and rats aren't the only wild animals that can bring fleas into your home. Squirrels, raccoons, and other invading wildlife pests can too. The good news is that these other animals won't explore every inch of your home like mice and rats will. This keeps the fleas infestations they cause isolated to attic spaces, wall voids, and other secluded areas of the home. But, when pets or even people go into these places, they can pick up those fleas and bring them into the common areas of your home. This is another reason you should not be surprised if you have an indoor pet and end up with a flea infestation.

Flea Control

Homeowners may have success resolving a flea infestation on their own but here are a few reasons you may want to have a service professional from American Pest come to your home to deal with those fleas:

  • If you use the wrong control products, you can throw a lot of hard-earned money right out the window and still continue experiencing problems with fleas. However, your American Pest technician will use the appropriate EPA-approved products and modern Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods to effectively resolve your problem.

  • Even if you do everything right, getting rid of fleas can be a lot of work. When you have us take care of those fleas, we do all the hard work for you.

  • The team here at American Pest have the training and experience to deal with rodent problems too. That means you'll get a complete solution, not just a temporary fix.

If you live in Northern Virginia, reach out to us about your pest problem. Our QualityPro-Certified team is one of the best in the industry. We'll help you resolve your pest problem the first time!

 
 

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Mosquitoes and ticks thrive from spring to fall, which is why our Seasonal Mosquito Control plan is guaranteed to eliminate these yard pests during their peak. During the initial service, we will walk your property to identify where mosquitoes and ticks reside and breed and perform treatment to problem areas using a specialized misting system. Ongoing services continue once a month, typically March to October.

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