How Do You Know If Your Apartment Has Fleas?


Fleas are tiny, measuring only 2.5 to 3 mm. They are therefore hard to detect with the naked eye. These parasites have strong legs for jumping and are wingless. Once they feed on blood, they tend to migrate to the couch, carpet, bed, and dark corners of the apartment.

There are several methods that you can use to tell whether or not your apartment has fleas. Since human living spaces are often good hiding and breeding grounds for numerous pests, including fleas, it is important know whether or not your home has a flea infestation. Although fleas do not affect humans much, a house infested by them can be a living nightmare, especially for pet owners.

While flea bites on human beings are infrequent, they still happen. The bites can be painful and cause rashes to appear. They mostly occur on the ankles, legs, and armpit. They are irritating and they cause swelling around the specific bite areas.  Alost always, the bitten areas will end up being red spots because of the sensitive skin reaction.

How to detect flea infestation at home

There are several ways in which an individual can find the presence of fleas in the apartment. The first method is by using a white sock. To do this, place a white sock on your arm and dust or walk around the apartment polishing dark hidden surfaces and carpets.

 If there are adult fleas, they will leap on to the sock. Also, rub your feet on the floor surface; the heat produced will attract the fleas. They will appear as black or brown patches on the sock.

The second technique is by checking for flea dirt. Since the larva of fleas feed on the fecal matter left behind by the adult, the droppings can be seen physically in the infested areas.  These droppings pop up as black specs similar to black pepper. They may be present on the floor or the carpet.  The flea dirt is a positive indication for fleas.

Carpets should also be checked regularly for the presence of fleas since they provide perfect conditions for the adults to lay eggs. The presence of flea dirt and eggs can be recovered by running your hand on the carpet fiber. The eggs can be quite difficult to see without using magnifying lenses but are oval in shape and white in color resembling grains of salt.

Another technique of detecting flea infestation is the use of heat and hot water. Fleas are highly attracted to the heat generated by lamps and electrical appliances.  By using a bowl full of hot water, washing soap, and a lamp placed on the floor, fleas will be lured by the heat and light and will jump from the surface into the soapy solution.  This will be a perfect scenario depicting the presence of these parasites.

Pets can also be ideal in identifying the presence of fleas. When pets are bitten by fleas they tend to be appearing uncomfortable and itchy.  The signs of flea activities can be shown on the neck, head, and groin regions of pets especially dogs. The initial bites cause the pets to bite the infested regions and prolonged infestation can cause the pet to lose their fur.

How do fleas spread?

Since fleas do not have wings, they require a host to move them from one place to another. This host can be our pets which interact with infected ones.  The pets can also be carrying the fleas when they play on grass and dirt infiltrated by fleas.

The fleas, in turn, lay eggs on the fur of pets and they may fall off to surfaces such as carpets and beddings. Fleas can also be present on the underbelly of pets hence easily transferred to household items and cracked apartment floors.

Remedies of getting rid of fleas

Pets being the main carrier of fleas should be treated closely to avert an infestation. There are several ways to prevent pets from being infested by fleas. One way is by using essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint oil spray. A mixture of water and these oils should be sprayed on pets since they deter off fleas.

A solution of lemon water should be used to bath pets regularly. This bath not only makes the pets smelling fresh and clean but also makes them free of fleas.  The solution should be made by mixing lemon juice and water with a pet-friendly detergent or soap.

Organic pet shampoos also work wonders in killing fleas.  A lather bath should be made by using the shampoo and rubbed on the pet. The lather should, therefore, be left on the pet for several minutes to work. Ensure no chemicals have been used in the manufacturing of the shampoo since this may hinder the killing of fleas.

Aromatherapy spray is also a perfect way of killing fleas found on pets.  This spray does both the killing and prevention of a future infestation.  The main components of the aromatherapy spray are almond tree oil, lavender oil, and also atlas cedar oil.

Special collars can also be used on pets to get rid of fleas. The collars can be a simple bandana soaked in lavender oil. The collars can also be made by soaking them in vodka (unflavored to be precise). This way the pet is well prevented from fleas.

Flea comb used to get rid of fleas. The comb is specifically made to remove adult fleas and also eggs found on the fur. This method is primarily used when the pet has already been infested. Normal pet combs can also be a good remedy. The comb should be first submerged in lemon water which prevents and repels fleas. This is a harmless method and also helps in soothing the pet.

In a situation where pets dislike the use of spray and baths, flea sachets can be used to resolve lea infestation, especially around the pet’s sleeping area. The sachets can easily be made by using a soft fabric filled with dried lavender buds. The sachet is then placed in the sleeping area. Since this remedy works in the short term, the lavender buds can be replaced often.

When it comes to cleaning the apartment, the use of the vacuum is highly effective in removing fleas. Areas that are frequently visited by pets or rather places where pets spend most of their time in the apartment should be thoroughly vacuumed.  After this process, the vacuum bag should be properly disposed of to avoid reinfestation.

In the presence of full infestation, insecticides can be used to solve this puzzle. Places in the apartment with cracks and perforations should be regularly sprayed with insecticide containing pyrethrum. These products are safe to use, do not stain surfaces and also have insect growth regulators.

The spray technique should be applied in phases ranging from ten to twelve days. This is done to ensure zero infestation because once the spray is applied, eggs and larva survive and can lead to an uprise of fleas. The second phase ensures the destruction of both the larva and the eggs.

Items such as pillows, blankets, mats, and towels should be washed frequently by using a washing machine. Furniture surfaces should also be cleaned by using a mixture of washing detergent and lemon water to get rid of fleas and also ensures that breeding grounds are destroyed.

Baking powder can also be used by sprinkling on the carpet fibers and spreading the powder by using a broom. This solution works by dehydrating flea eggs and larva. Baking powder should also be swept under the carpet where fleas tend to infest.  Salt can also be used instead since it works under the same principle. The baking powder or salt is used before vacuuming the carpet.

A simple flea trap can be made by using a bowl filled with a blend of hot water and a detergent. The trap is placed in an infested area overnight. The fleas are generally attracted to heat from the hot water and the solution will work as glue trapping the parasites. The bowl should be properly cleaned after use.

To prevent a future infestation, a solution of rosemary water can be used. It is quite an easy method since rosemary is finely crushed using pestle and mortar and then mixed with peppermint oil or wormwood that is later sprayed all over the apartment.

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, fleas have left their mark on the world. The bubonic plague is still with us today because of them. The good news though is that scientists now have a good understanding of its origins and cure.

The bubonic plague almost wiped out the entire planet. Today we know it is a bacterial infection transmitted by infected fleas that in turn infect animals such rats. The disease then gets to humans through contact with these infected animals. You can get infected with the bubonic plague today in the same way, which is why it is common among people who regularly dispose of dead rats or squirrels.

While it is still a serious disease if left untreated, with some over-the-counter antibiotics, it can be treated within 7 to 14 days.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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