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“Did I Bring Fleas Back to My Apartment?”

By Chris Williams on December 3, 2014.

I’ve recently been helping my dad move. He has a dog that has a flea problem. When I came home from helping dad move, I found a flea on my arm that jumped off. My boyfriend found a flea that night, too. We don’t have any pets but I’m wondering if having just ONE flea in our apartment can start an infestation. I’m worried to death and I keep thinking I feel a flea on me but I haven’t found any others yet. R. L., Clinton MA

fleas in apartmentIt’s not likely that a flea from your father’s dog would hitch a ride on you all the way back to your apartment. Fleas don’t leave their host animal unless they absolutely have to – for example, if the pet dies or a flea treatment is applied to the pet. Sometimes if there are more fleas than the pet can sustain, fleas may look for a new host and could end up on a person briefly.

There’s a slight possibility that some of the items you were moving contained flea pupal cocoons. When mature flea larvae pupate, they spin a cocoon and can remain in this cocoon for an extended period of time if there are no host animals around to feed on. Fleas inside a cocoon are stimulated to emerge largely by vibrations that could indicate an animal is near. So the simple act of moving a rolled-up rug, for example, could have caused some new adult fleas to “hatch-out.” Still, I wouldn’t expect a flea to remain on your person for that much time.

Has Fido Visited Your Apartment?

All of this is leading to the suggestion that the fleas might have come from inside your apartment. Does your dad’s dog ever visit your apartment? Even though the fleas remain on the visiting dog, eggs laid by female fleas fall off of the dog and end up in your carpeting or in the couch, or wherever. When the eggs hatch, the flea larvae remain hidden in carpeting or bedding where they feed on feces that falls from the adult fleas.

If there were enough eggs and enough flea feces present to feed them, the larvae could develop into adult fleas. But if there are no pets in a home, a flea infestation won’t get very far. Fleas are not designed to feed on people. They need a hairy cat or dog host. So one or two adult fleas that accidentally get into your apartment, or accidentally hatch out in your apartment, may cause you some annoyance, but aren’t likely to start an infestation.

Dad’s New Place and Fido Both Need Flea Treatments

Your dad’s new place (and maybe your apartment) need to have a flea treatment done by a professional exterminator. And your dad’s dog needs to be treated for fleas at the same time. Your father has, no doubt, introduced fleas into his new home. Now is the time to eliminate that infestation before fleas are widespread. As for you, for now you should do a thorough vacuuming around your apartment, especially any areas where the dog spent time, to pick up eggs and larvae. If you see any more adult fleas in your apartment, you might want to schedule a flea treatment, just for your own peace of mind. Give Colonial a call.

Our website has lots of information on the biology and control of fleas. These are just a few blogs that might help in your situation:

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

 

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