What do fleas look like?

Fleas are tiny reddish-brown insects with six legs and a thin body. If you find one on your dog or cat, it will likely disappear quickly into the fur. They have comb-like legs designed for gripping hairs. You don't need to know how to identify fleas because they provide many easily recognizable warning signs. These include leaving flea dirt in pet fur and on bedding, jumping up from the floor to get onto you, and causing itchy bites on your skin.

up close look at a flea on a person

When are fleas most active?

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What do fleas eat?

Fleas survive on a range of food sources, though you probably won't consider any of these to be food.

  • Fleas prefer the blood of domesticated cats.
  • Fleas eat the blood of dogs and also wildlife.
  • Fleas feed on the blood of humans if needed.
  • Flea larvae eat the fecal matter of adult fleas.
  • Fleas may eat animal or human waste if needed.
  • Fleas eat decomposing organic matter.

Are fleas dangerous?

Not typically, but there is a risk. Fleas can spread diseases to humans and animals, such as typhus and cat scratch disease, which is a form of Bartonella. Most flea bites do not result in sickness. They're just itchy and numerous.

Where are fleas found?

 The most common place you'll find fleas is in the bedding of cats and dogs. Flea development is somewhat dependent on baby fleas having access to food, which they get from adult fleas. The larvae and the adults are most abundant in areas where animals lie down.

What is flea dirt?

When you comb your pet and find black specks in your pet's hair, what you've found is flea dirt. It is called dirt because it looks like dirt, but what is it? Flea dirt is the fecal matter of adult fleas, and it is a helpful sign to tell that your dog or cat has fleas. The material is also food for flea larvae. Baby fleas can’t bite animals or humans to draw blood. They must draw their sustenance from waste created by adult fleas.

How did I get fleas?

Fleas are often carried into homes on dogs and cats. For this reason, they are typically found in homes with pets. But they can also be found in homes that don't have dogs or cats. If you don't have a pet and you find fleas, what is going on? It is likely that another animal has brought the fleas into your home. The most likely culprits to bring fleas into the common areas of your home are mice, rats, and wildlife. It’s also possible fleas jumped through an open door.   

What do flea bites look like?

Flea bites on humans are small, red raised bumps. They often appear on feet, ankles, behind knees, arms, and other exposed skin. They are often incredibly itchy. You may not be able to see bites on pets, but you’ll probably see them scratching.

Why are fleas so hard to kill?

There are a few reasons why fleas are hard to kill, including:

  • They’re hard to see.
  • They have strong exoskeletons that are hard to crush.
  • They’re great at jumping.
  • Their flattened bodies allow them to move through fur easily.

How do I get rid of fleas?

If you suspect a flea infestation, contact Anti-Pest to find out how our trusted professionals can help. Offering pest control services in Shreveport, Bossier City, and throughout our Northwest Louisiana service area, our locally owned and family-operated company is ready to take care of fleas.

How can I prevent fleas?

There are many ways to prevent a flea infestation in your home. The secret is to consider how fleas enter your yard and find their way into your home.

  • Take steps to remove food sources that attract wildlife because wildlife can bring fleas onto your property.
  • Protect hiding places where wildlife may create a nest, such as the void underneath your deck.
  • Trim vegetation to reduce the humidity that is needed for developing fleas.
  • Speak with your vet about a flea preventative.Don’t let your pets sleep in your bed.
  • Wash pet bedding regularly.
  • Frequently vacuum areas where your pets rest or visit.
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