Many of us allow our pets to roam outside for a healthy dose of exercise, but this also puts them at risk for fleas. These pests do more than make our furry friends scratch like there’s no tomorrow; they can pass on 4 surprising flea diseases that affect the health of humans and pets alike. Knowing how to tell how bad a flea infestation is can help you get a handle on the situation before it gets out of hand, and save you from having to bomb the entire house.
Look for Flea Dirt
Flea dirt, or excrement, is a good indicator of how severe your flea problem is. You can find this on the carpeting or in nooks and crannies where your pet spends time. Run your hands over carpeting and furniture and if you see a dark substance or red smears, that’s flea dirt. This is caused by the insect digesting and processing animal blood.
Try the White Sock Test
If you want to perform a more thorough test of your home, put on a pair of knee-high white socks and walk around the house. Your body heat should attract fleas, which will jump onto the socks and are easier to see due to the white fabric.
You can also do a more comprehensive outdoors test by going outside in the morning. This is when the most number of adult fleas are active. You can also spot their droppings, or feces, which are black and sticky and will often look like coffee grounds. You can also spread cedar chips around the yard, or use sulphur powder or liquid, to repel fleas and prevent them from hatching.