Flea infestations are so common, it is easy to start thinking that they're not a big deal. But it is important that you understand the danger fleas can present to your pets, and also to you. If conditions are right, you could be in serious danger.

flea on pet
flea on arm

The Nature Of Flea-Borne Diseases

When fleas hatch from their eggs, they do not have diseases. They get diseases by feeding on infected animals. If your cat goes outside and picks up an adult flea, that flea can be infected if it has been exposed to a diseased animal. When fleas hatch inside your home, they are far less likely to have diseases because they only feed on you, your family, and your pets, not dirty rats, mice, and wild animals that get into trash and move around in sewers. Do you see how it works? This is why you may have gotten lots of flea bites and never had a flea-borne disease. The fleas that bit you were not exposed to disease.

Flea-Borne Diseases Recognized By The CDC

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention track pest-borne disease in the United States. The diseases they link to fleas are Murine typhus, tularemia, bartonellosis, bubonic plague, and tapeworm. All of these vary in symptoms and transmission. Here are a few facts you should know:

  • Murine typhus is spread by exposure to flea dirt in an open wound.

  • Bartonellosis, which has many forms and goes by many names, such as cat scratch disease, can be contracted from the saliva of an infected pet. It can also be contracted by a scratch from an infected pet, hence the name cat scratch disease.

  • Tapeworm is a parasite that enters the body by consuming food that a flea has accidentally jumped into.

  • Tularemia is contracted by being bitten by an infected animal or by handling an animal that is infected.

  • Like bartonella bacteria, it can be passed through fluid exchange.

  • Black plague is spread by flea bite. While there is now a cure for this disease and you aren't likely to die, it is still not pleasant to contract it.

Rodent Connection

There is a link between rodents and flea-borne diseases. This is likely due to the things mice and rats eat, such as animal feces and rotting organic matter. If you have a flea infestation and you believe that rodents are getting into your home, it is a good reason for concern. It is vital that you have both infestations addressed by a licensed professional for the health and safety of your pets and your family.

Early Detection

A flea infestation can sneak up on you. It is best that you don't allow this to happen. Early detection of a flea infestation or rodent activity can prevent illness.

  • Watch your pets. If they start to scratch, use a comb to check their hair or fur for flea dirt or the presence of fleas.

  • If your pet begins to act strangely, keep in mind that they can smell and hear rodents that are moving about in the hidden places of your home.

  • Do a routine inspection for rodent droppings. Look in the cabinet under your kitchen sink, behind appliances, in storage rooms, and in your attic. These droppings will be black and squishy if they are fresh. Refrain from handling rodent feces, (like we need to tell you this).

Flea Prevention

There are ways to prevent a flea infestation inside your home. The key is to reduce fleas around the outside of your home and prevent your pets, or rodents, from bringing fleas inside.

  • Remove clutter from your yard to make it less inviting to rodents. Mice and rats use clutter as hiding places.

  • Trim the vegetation in your landscaping. Mice and rats will hide in these places.

  • Install fencing to keep wild animals from finding harborage under your deck, stairs, and other external structures.

  • Keep your trash in covered containers that cannot be tipped over.

  • Move bird feeders to at least 20 feet from your exterior. Seeds are a strong attractant for rodents.

  • Reduce moisture in your landscaping. This will make it more difficult for fleas to develop into adults.

Flea And Rodent Control

If you live in Opelika, Alabama, remember that Prewett Pest Control is always available to help you with your pest control problems. We use industry-leading strategies and EPA approved products to get control of dangerous pests, like fleas and rodents. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance.


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