What Are the Signs of a Flea Problem?

Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards
Cat with fleas.
Cat with fleas.

Households with pets are often at risk of developing a flea problem. One of the main signs of a flea problem is intense itching and flea bites. Fleas themselves may also be spotted, along with flea droppings, eggs, and larvae. Walking around a house in white socks can also help identify a flea problem.

One of the first signs of a flea problem is itching. Many types of fleas will feed on both humans and animals, so humans as well as animals may feel itchy. Dogs or cats being fed on by fleas will also scratch themselves frequently.

Flea bites may also be visible on the skin. These bites are usually red, and sometimes welted. The skin may also be flaky or scaly.

A flea.
A flea.

Spotting the fleas themselves is an obvious sign of a flea problem. Fleas are very small, but they are visible to the naked eye. They are usually no longer than one-eighth of an inch (3.2 millimeters), and their bodies are dark brown and flat. These parasites also have six strong legs that help them leap long distances. Fleas also have a hard exoskeleton, which makes it nearly impossible to squish them.

Spoting fleas may be an obvious sign of a flea problem.
Spoting fleas may be an obvious sign of a flea problem.

People may be able to spot an occasional stray flea on their skin, but they are more commonly found on their pet's skin. By parting the fur, these tiny parasites can usually be seen. Common places to look on a pet for evidence of a flea problem include the neck, head, and hindquarters.

Besides the actual fleas, other evidence may also be found on an animal's skin. Flea droppings, which typically resemble tiny black dots, can often be found on a pet's skin as well. Eggs and larvae may also be found, but these are usually very pale, which can make then very difficult to spot.

Oddly enough, white socks can also be used to find evidence of a flea problem. An individual testing for a flea infestation can wear white socks and walk around his home. It is commonly believed that the color white attracts fleas, and when the fleas jump on the socks they can be seen easily.

Getting rid of fleas can be difficult, but it is possible. Animals should first be treated with a flea remedy, like flea shampoo or flea spray. Any pet bedding should also be washed in hot soapy water. A flea trap can also be placed in each room of the house. For a serious flea problem, however, a flea bomb may be necessary.

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    • Cat with fleas.
      Cat with fleas.
    • A flea.
      A flea.
    • Spoting fleas may be an obvious sign of a flea problem.
      Spoting fleas may be an obvious sign of a flea problem.