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Fleas in NYC: FAQs, Extermination, Prevention and Treatment

August 3, 2020
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An informative list of Flea Extermination FAQs

1)- Is there more than one type of flea?

Yes! In fact, there are thousands of species of fleas thriving in homes and fur coats worldwide. The two most common types of fleas that affect the human species are the cat flea and dog flea. The dog flea, however, seems to have a preference for outdoor hosts as opposed to human hosts.

2)- What do fleas look like?

Fleas are extremely tiny; their small size and dark color make them very difficult to detect. An adult cat and/or dog flea will often be as small as 1/12 of an inch. They are dark-colored (i.e., dark brown), have 3 pairs of legs, and do not have wings. The appearance of a flea will transform from a hairy larva to a folded up version of a flat, dark-brown adult flea. When looking directly at a flea it may appear as it has been flattened.

3)- Are domestic pets always the preferred host of a flea?

Domestic pets are the preferred host of a flea, yes, however they are not ALWAYS the preferred host. Although these house infesting pests have become orally equipped to puncture the skin of an animal, as well as suck their blood (both genders feed on blood), in times of need they will feed on an alternate host. When their preferred host is absent, a population of hungry fleas will accumulate and feed off of almost any warm-blooded host that is present. Due to their preference for the blood of your pets and outdoor rodents, it is possible and common for humans to co-exist with their pets’ pests, with the exception of an occasional bite.

4)- How do I identify a flea bite on myself or another family member?

The most common site of flea bites on a human are generally on their legs and ankles. They will leave 2 or 3 bites in a row that will appear as small red spots. A flea bite is distinctly identified by a light-colored dot in the center of the red bite. This dot is the site where the flea punctured the human’s skin. These bites rarely swell and will only bleed if the mark is being irritated or scratched. However, beware because human reactions to a flea bite will vary by person; some individuals will develop severely irritated spots while other individuals will have no reaction.

5)- How do I know if my loving pet is harvesting an infestation?

Luckily enough, flea infestations on your loving pet can often be easily identified by the pet-owner. Pets will commonly display signs of constant scratching and biting at themselves. The animal’s skin may become irritated and their fur may become roughened. Irritation of the skin, itchiness, and the presence of a rash are believed to be caused by secretions that the pest injects into their host while feeding.

6)- Can these blood-suckers transmit disease?

Due to their lack of host specificity and continual feeding habits, the potential spread of disease-causing organisms increases significantly for these insects. The risk of transmission from animals to human may also be maximized by environments such as parks and wildlife facilities. Some common pathogens that may be transmitted include plague-causing organisms, typhus-causing organisms, and tapeworms. Rodents foster plague-causing organisms that can be passed on to the human species by the oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis). Cats and dogs, on the other hand, are more likely to transmit tapeworms which they acquire by ingesting adult fleas with larval tapeworms (https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g7380).

7)- How do I prevent, protect, and treat my home for an infestation?

There are multiple stages in the life cycle of a flea including egg, larva, pupa, and adult. In order to effectively control fleas it is important to consider all stages of the fleas life cycle, as they may be found on or off of a pet and inside or outside of the home.

Here are some tips on how to prevent and treat your home for a flea infestation…


-Regularly treat your pet with a veterinarian recommended product.


-Regularly wash all bedding, rugs, and material that your pet has frequent access to. Just because your pet has been treated does not mean that the area in which the pet hangs out in is flea free.

-Use a flea comb when grooming your pet.

-Regularly bathe your pet (soap is very effective at killing fleas when it is left on for several minutes).

-Ensure that wild animals are not inhabiting your home or surrounding areas by eliminating food sources and sealing off all attics, holes, and roof entrances to your home.


-Immediately call a licensed pest control company (I recommend: Positive Pest Management) to ensure a thorough identification, inspection, and treatment.

-As hosts move around their residence, fleas fall off. These loose eggs will hatch and develop into new fleas that can re-infest your poor pet. Therefore, it is recommended that you devoutly (meaning once a week!) vacuum your entire residence, particularly your pets’ favorite areas. (However, I WARN you that vacuuming will NOT remove all fleas, this is simply one portion of an integrated treatment program). Also note that vacuum bags should be immediately and tightly sealed and disposed of outside of the home to ensure removal of any pests that may have been removed.

-Larval treatment is key to an effective program! This can often be resolved with the use of spraying and dusting (done by a license professional!). With the use of a chemical treatment that utilizes growth-regulating hormones, a professional will be able to prohibit the larva from turning into a pupa and therefore prohibit the growth of new adult fleas (https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef602).

Hope I was able to answer some of your most important questions and prepare you for any future pest needs…

I suggest you give Positive Pest Management a call at 1(800)294-3130 or visit them at https://www.positivepest.net for more information ad/or an inspection.

Yours Pest-free,


@ positive pest

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