Fleas are tiny insects with hind legs modified for jumping.
Fleas can attack pets and people. Bites, which turn red and itch, are mostly on the lower legs. Most adult fleas live on the animal host (pets or other animals in the area). Eggs, larva and pupae are found in carpets and areas where pets spend time resting or sleeping and in shady, moist soil in the yard.
An effective program to eliminate fleas must include controlling the fleas on pets and removing eggs and larva from the living area. Keep your house well vacuumed and steam clean carpets. Shampoo your pet regularly with a gentle shampoo. Any soapy water will kill fleas. Wash pet bed regularly with hot water. Some pesticides such as those containing d-limonene (from citrus) kill fleas on contact and maybe applied in or out of doors (cats may display sensitivity to the citrus oil products).
The treatments you give to your pets and living areas will be made more effective by treating the outdoor areas. Home garden stores carry a variety of products that can be used. Just be sure to read the directions and apply correctly. For more information, search for the following online publications from Texas A&M – “Safer Flea Control” (ENT-3001), and “Controlling Fleas” (E-433).
Betty Hicks, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service