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Pavement Ants

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Pavement ants, also known as Tetramoriam Caespitum, are common pests. These aggressive ants are found in all fifty states, though they are more prevalent throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and throughout the upper Midwest.  They are native to Europe, and have been present in the United States since being introduced sometime during the 18th century.

Identifying Pavement Ants

Identifying pavement ants is not at all difficult. The worker ants that can often be seen foraging are approximately 1/8th inch long, with dark brown to black coloration. Inside their colonies, winged queen pavement ants which are approximately two times the size of the workers spend their time laying eggs, which are then tended by younger worker ants. Drone pavement ants are about the same size as queens; they are winged also and typically take nuptial flights during the spring and summer months, during which they mate with flying queens.

These ants come by their name honestly – they create massive colonies in pavement, particularly under sidewalks and driveways, and around building foundations. One of the best ways to tell if you’ve got a pavement ant infestation is to watch for little heaps of dirt and debris on paved surfaces. If there are boards, logs, large rocks, or other items sitting on top of the ground on your property, it’s likely that you may find pavement ants beneath them as this ant species will nest in all kinds of places – even those that seem to be fairly impenetrable.

Pavement ants are not picky eaters. They will consume almost anything, including seeds, nuts, insects, and all kinds of human food including sweets and greasy items. From fruit to meat, nothing is off the pavement ant’s menu! Foraging pavement ants will travel as far as 30 feet from their colonies in search of food; they are well-known for setting up permanent trails to and from sources of abundant food.  Often, the first sign of an infestation is a trail of ants marching through your home or another building where food is present.

Controlling Pavement Ants

The first step in controlling pavement ants is to locate the colony. To do this, watch where the ants are coming from, and once you reach a wall, go to the other side of it to see if you can determine how the ants are getting into your living or work space. Often, minuscule cracks allow these tiny invaders to enter unchecked, so once you’ve discovered how the ants are getting in, use silicone sealer or a similar substance to eliminate the gaps.

Next, look for any other gaps or cracks in exterior walls where pavement ants might be able to enter. Seal any cracks that look like potential entry points, and look for any areas where drainage problems or leaks might exist since these problems can lead to more cracks by undermining the foundation’s supportive structure.

If you find anthills you’d like to eliminate, you can use an insecticide labeled for use against outdoor ants all around the anthills. You can also lay down a barrier of this same insecticide outside your home. If you discover that colonies of pavement ants are living beneath sidewalks or driveways, you can use a granulated insecticide to treat the area. Sprinkle it on; then, use a broom to push the granulated insecticide down into the cracks and crevices where ants are present. You can also flood the area with liquid insecticide.

In the event you discover a colony of pavement ants living inside a floor void or wall, use household insecticide to eliminate them. Get as close to the nest area as you can, and either push granulated insecticide into the general area or inject liquid insecticide directly into the nest area. Be sure to keep pets and curious children away.

If you have a pavement ant infestation and cannot find the colony, you can use insecticide sprays on ants you find, or you can use ant baits to begin controlling the colony’s population from a distance. Again, keep kids and pets away from ant baits as they are poisonous.

Pavement ants are fairly easy to eliminate on your own. Be tenacious in your efforts and soon enough, you’ll discover that ants are no longer making their way into your home.

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Swarming Termites

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Why Do Termites Swarm?            

Springtime usually brings chirping birds and warm fragrant air with it, but for many unlucky property owners, this time of year brings swarming termites, too. Just like other members of the animal family, nature calls termites to mate. Some animals are happy to stay where they’re at and simply rear their young in a comfortable place they’ve occupied for a long time; termites, though, are different. These destructive insects swarm out of a need to expand their territory.

Once a termite colony achieves maturity, aletes begin to grow. These aletes are in a caste by themselves. Unlike workers and soldiers, their lives are all about mating and expanding the termite gene pool. Once they grow to maturity and develop wings, they wait for outside conditions to be right, then they swarm out in search of a new place to call home.

Different termite species swarm at different times; but in all cases, three distinct factors need to be present:

  • The originating colony must be mature. This typically takes between 3 to 4 years to occur.
  • Termite aletes must be fully mature and ready to leave the colony.
  • Outside conditions must be ideal. Most termites like to swarm on warm, humid evenings, though this is not a hard and fast rule. As long as it’s warm enough for flight to occur, swarming termites may leave their originating colony.

What Does it Mean if You See Swarming Termites?

If you see swarming termites, there’s definitely a potential problem. First, if you see swarming termites leaving your home, it’s a certain sign that there is a mature colony inside, chewing away at inner structures and potentially causing significant damage. If this is the case, it’s vital that you inspect your home immediately, determine the extent of damage, and then create a plan for combating the colony inside.

Second, if you see swarming termites approaching your home, it’s a sign that these invasive insects are eyeing up your property as a potential nesting site. Your best line of defense is to be prepared before you notice the termites; keep firewood, mulch, and other food sources away from foundations, and ensure cracks and other entry points are sealed as soon as you notice them. Termite control is not difficult so long as it’s based on prevention. Learn more with our useful guide to controlling termites. With the right measures in place, you may never need to call an exterminator.

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Pubic Lice

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Pthirus Pubis is a type of louse more commonly known as pubic lice, crab lice, or colloquially, crabs, which inhabits pubic hair though it can also live on eyelashes. Like all other lice that affect humans, pubic lice live on and between hairs on their hosts and feed by sucking blood. Crab lice are spread almost exclusively through intimate sexual contact though it is possible to contract an infestation through shared use of towels, bedding, or clothing.

Pthirus Pubis are known as crab lice because their appearance is similar to that of a very small crab. Crab lice are between one to two millimeters long, flat, and have six legs. The lice’s back legs are clawed and longer than their other legs and the lice are nearly round in shape. Pubic lice live and lay their eggs (nits) on the relatively tough and coarse hairs found in the pubic region. They are also able to live in areas with similar hairs such as in moustaches, beards, armpits, or eyelashes, but this is significantly less common.

Having pubic lice is a disease that is known as Pediculosis pubis or ‘crabs.’ The primary symptom of crabs is severe itching, which is caused by hypersensitivity of the body to the crab louse’s saliva. The skin around bites may or may not become gray-blue, but this passes within a few days of treatment. Repeated scratching can cause open sores. Though crab lice are small, they and their eggs may be visible to the naked eye.

Pubic Lice Treatment

Getting rid of pubic lice is a simple process. The first step is diagnosis. Hair should be combed through with a nit comb to look for nits and live lice. If live lice are found they can be removed with tweezers and examined under a magnifying glass. Once a live infestation is identified, every other member in the household needs to be examined for an infestation. In addition, as crabs is a sexually transmitted disease, every person with whom the infested person has had sexual contact with over the past month should be notified and examined as well.

Getting rid of crabs is much the same process as getting rid of head lice. You will need to purchase a specialized pediculicide (lice insecticide) and a nit comb at your local pharmacy. Follow the instructions on the package carefully. Wash the area with water but without shampoo or conditioner. Using shampoo or conditioner will make it harder for the medicine to stick and thus less effective. Apply the treatment and rinse according to instructions. Do not wash the area with shampoo or conditioner for at least two days as it may wash out the medicine. Retreatment is not always needed but is recommended after three to seven days to prevent reinfestation. After treating, comb through the hair with a nit comb once a day and remove live and dead lice and nits. Do not use home remedies concurrently as they may wash out the treatment rendering it less effective.

Most over-the-counter creams for pubic lice use permethrin as the active ingredient. If after treatment you are seeing no improvement, you may have drug-resistant lice. See a doctor and ask for a prescription medication. Prescription medications are not necessarily more powerful but use different ingredients which the lice may not be resistant to. During the treatment you must avoid sexual contact. In addition, do not share towels, clothing or bedding with other people. Wash and dry clothing you have worn and items you have come in contact with in a machine on the hottest setting.

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Flea Products

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

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How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

All stinging red ants are generally referred to as fire ants, and all are much more aggressive than other red ant species. Not only do they sting and bite, they are capable of killing small animals, which they carry back to their nests for later consumption; in addition, they harm plants. Though human deaths from fire ant bites are rare, they have occurred in the past; never step on a fire ant nest, since this will put them into a frenzied attack mode and leave you covered in painful bites.

Fire ants are terribly resilient, and they move into new habitats quickly. They are capable of surviving in below-zero weather as well as in very hot weather, and queens are capable of living for as long as seven years. Some methods for getting rid of ants, such as pouring boiling liquid into the colony entrance, do not work on fire ants; some methods will kill workers, but won’t completely eradicate the colony – the queen and any remaining workers will simply move to a new location.

Fire ants tunnel underground and create several interconnected mounds, so it’s vital that you locate all mounds before waging war against the ants.

There are several ways to eradicate fire ants. While some take just a few hours, others can take as long as a few months, depending on how many fire ant mounds have sprung up around your property. Ask your neighbors to look for fire ants on their property as well, and get as many people involved in the eradication effort as possible; this will greatly increase your chances of getting to the queen and stopping the infestation once and for all.

The first and most important step in getting rid of fire ants is to choose a product that is designed to kill only fire ants and to leave the remainder of the indigenous ants alive. Though this may seem counterintuitive, indigenous ant populations are pollinators, they often aid in controlling garden pests, and they slow the spread of fire ants. Perhaps worst of all, if you kill the indigenous ants along with some of the fire ants, the remaining fire ants will be able to feast on the carcasses of their enemies, ultimately adding strength to their own colonies. Commercial baits should only be used as a last resort unless they are specifically labeled for use against fire ants only.

The second step in eliminating fire ants is to begin targeting them directly, using care to treat each mound. You can mark mounds with small landscaping flag-type markers from a DIY store to ensure you are methodical in your approach, and to ensure that you don’t miss any of the ants. Wearing rubber boots that have been lightly coated in Vaseline or other grease will help keep the ants from crawling up your legs and biting you while you are working. The following baits have been proven effective against fire ants:

  • Splenda – Splenda has a similar molecular structure to that of DDT, and fire ants love to eat it. Sprinkle the Splenda around the entrance to the mound, and as the ants consume it, they will die rapidly. Keep re-applying until there is no more ant activity. As Splenda is lightweight, apply it when no wind is present.
  • Borax and sweetener – Borax (boric acid) can be mixed with corn syrup, granulated sugar, peanut butter, or another sweet, sticky substance. Dab small amounts of the mixture inside several jar lids, and place the lids around the mounds, leaving plenty of space between each lid. If you pack these non-toxic homemade baits too closely together, the fire ants will be repelled rather than attracted.
  • Fire ant dust, Orthene fire ant killer, and other commercial fire ant preparations designed for fire ants only are also effective. If you decide to apply these poisons, be sure to keep children and pets away from the area until the ants are eradicated and until the area has been watered with a sprinkler or rain has dissipated the poison. To prevent the ants from attacking you while using a commercial spray product, grease the wand to keep them from crawling up it and biting your hand.
  • To kill fire ants inside your home without exposing yourself and others to toxins, make a thick mixture of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent and a little water. Spray it directly on the ants. If you can see where they entered, apply a line of straight laundry or dish soap to the area, sealing it off so others will not be able to enter. Re-apply periodically until the fire ants no longer attempt to enter.

Now that you know how to get rid of fire ants, you can also take action to prevent them from entering your home in the future. An easy but effective way to do this is to place laundry detergent or dish soap into a bucket and add a little water so that it will be easy to pour, but not completely diluted. Pour this mixture around the outside of the house, around the foundation. Pay special attention to any cracks.

In cases of severe fire ant infestation, it may be best to contact an exterminator, particularly if the ants are aggressively attacking you, your family, pets, or livestock. If you do decide to work with an exterminator, get bids from a few companies before deciding which to choose.

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Ants

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Ants are ‘social insects’ making up any of nearly 22,000 species within the family ‘Formicidae.’ Ants are both pesky and hard to get rid of in the house and, at the same time are truly amazing creatures. This page will give only the briefest of overviews of Formicidae, mainly touching on points that are important to know when dealing with an ant infestation. For anyone interested in learning about a truly unique creature, we highly suggest a reading of ‘The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies’.

With an estimated 1,000 to 10,000 trillion (one to ten quadrillion) of them around the world, ants are by far the most common species on the planet. Most ants are not able to survive on their own, but in a colony, they become a very strong, capable, adaptable, and hard to get rid of unit. Ants thrive in colonies in which every member in the colony has a role. A handful of ants are tasked with reproducing while others are tasked with, depending on the species, everything from construction, to raising larvae, hunting, building, and even farming other insects. Ants’ methods of survival and gathering food are extremely diverse.

Ants are widely different in appearance, ranging in size from less than three hundredths of an inch to two and a half inches and in color from red and black to brown, grey, and even green. All ants, however, have a number of defining features. All ants have a head with two antennae and compound eyes (though some ants are nearly blind) and six legs attached to their thorax. Most queens in a colony have wings. Even within a colony, the difference between ants can be significant. The ant life cycle has four stages – egg, larvae, pupae, and adult.

Ants communicate through many methods, the primary being through the release of pheromones. For instance, a crushed ant releases a pheromone that causes nearby ants to go into a frenzied ‘attack mode.’ An ant that finds food releases a trail of pheromones on its way back to the colony. This signals to other ants that there is a food source and signals to them to follow the pheromone trail to the food source.

Most people will never see the vast majority of ant species that exist around the world and, indeed, over half the estimated existing species of ants have not yet even been discovered. The species of ants that are most widely seen by people are, not coincidentally, the ones considered to be pests. These ants include, but are not limited to, the pavement ant (the most common household pest ant), sugar ants, fire ants, and carpenter ants. Due to the resilience and adaptability of ants, getting rid of colonies can be extremely difficult.

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Termite Extermination

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Although there are methods for eliminating termites on your own, a large, out of control termite population is best handled by a professional termite exterminator. Though there may be many pest control companies in your area, selecting the right one can be a somewhat daunting task. Here, we share some tips for selecting a competent exterminator who can eliminate your termite infestation once and for all.

Reputation

As you begin your search for a qualified termite exterminator, look beyond fancy vehicles and catchy advertisements. While these are nice and while they are often indicators that an extermination business is successful, they are not true indicators of reputation.

Begin by checking to ensure that the extermination company you’re considering is licensed, and be sure that employees are properly trained and certified in accordance with your state’s regulations. These qualifications are not just business licenses! They are typically specific licenses that allow companies to perform extermination services, and they’re normally issued by state or local pest control agencies or by state or local agriculture departments. In Canada, licensure is provided by provincial pest control regulatory authorities.

Do not hesitate to ask potential candidates for proof of licensure or certification. In addition, ensure the company you’re considering carries liability insurance – most states require it. Ask to see the declarations portion of the company’s policy and if a large company is self-insured, find out about their financial responsibility policies.

While you’re in the process of vetting pest control companies, find out how long the companies you are considering have been in business. Stability does matter!

Once you have narrowed your list of candidates down to a manageable size, go check reputation sites like Angie’s list, Home Advisor, or another similar site where people have left details about their personal experience with the termite extermination companies you’re considering.

In addition, consider working with a member of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). To verify that a company is a member, go to www.pestworld.org. There are also state and local pest control organizations; if the company you’re considering is a member of one of these, they may or may not have chosen to be an NPMA member. Membership in pest management associations boosts credibility. It’s up to you to decide whether that is important or not.

Price

Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential termite exterminators down further, it’s time to conduct price checks if you have not done so already. Avoid working with a company that won’t give you a menu of services or provide you with a quality estimate up-front. At the same time, recognize that exterminators can’t provide exact prices until they have determined the extent of your problem. Some companies do provide free termite evaluations and cost-free inspections. Consider having a few of these companies look into your termite problem and then compare the detailed estimates these companies provide. If you have questions about procedures or what is included, now is the time to ask.

Warranty

Some extermination companies offer guarantees or warranties, while others do not. Termite re-infestation is a real problem, and getting a warranty is one of the best ways to ensure that your property remains termite-free in the future. While you’re looking into guarantees, see if the warranties offered by the companies you’re considering are renewable or not. With a renewable warranty, you can choose to update the warranty at a much lower rate than you’d pay to start the termite extermination process all over again in the event termites do return.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to find a qualified, reputable termite exterminator you can trust – and in a short time, your property will be termite free.

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Termites

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

While termites are commonly referred to as “white ants,” particularly throughout Australia, they are not related to ants – instead, they are part of the cockroach family Blattodea. Termites prefer to feed on dead plant material known as cellulose, usually in the form of leaf litter, soil, or wood. There are 2,600 taxonomically known termite species, but scientists estimate that the actual number of species is closer to 4,000. As pests, termites are of great economic significance since they harm crops and forests, and as they are capable of causing serious structural damage to wooden buildings.

Like ants and bees, termites are eusocial insects. They participate in cooperative care of their young, they employ division of labor tactics, and one generation overlaps with the next. These are very busy insects – the problem is that rather than making honey like bees do, they’re often busy damaging valuable property.

The Termite Life Cycle

Almost all termites have similar life cycles. Each colony has only two active reproductive members; the king and queen. King and queen termites are fed by other members of the colony, and some have been known to live for more than 20 years. In laboratory conditions, queens have been shown to live up to 50 years, making them one of the longest-living known insects. Their sole purpose is to breed new termites, which they do at a rapid rate. A single mature queen is capable of laying thousands of eggs annually.

Termite eggs have a two-week incubation period. During this time, worker termites tend the eggs carefully until nymphs emerge. The termite nymphs are then fed by attendants, which regurgitate food for them for a period of two weeks. After molting, the nymphs are transformed to workers, soldiers, or supplementary reproductives, or primary reproductive destined to become queens and kings.

  • Reproductive termites are most physically advanced. They possess functional eyes, wings twice the length of their bodies, and either male or female reproductive organs. These termites remain within the colony for a time, eventually swarming out en masse. Termite swarms normally occur during the spring months, though they do sometimes swarm out in the autumn.
  • Soldier termites are tasked with protecting the colony from ants and other enemies. They are easily identified by their stout armored heads and their menacing jaws. Some soldier termites have eyes; others are eyeless. Soldier termites are not capable of reproduction.
  • Worker termites have the simplest body design. They are wingless, with a round yellowish-brown head and a white to greyish body. Worker termites have no eyes and like soldier termites, are sterile.

How to Identify Termites

How can you tell if you have a termite problem? One of the first methods for determining whether a termite infestation is present is to simply watch for termites. These insects are easy to identify, but it can be difficult to actually lay eyes on them since they rarely emerge from a food source once they begin tunneling through it.

  • Subterranean Termites – There are three different castes within a Subterranean Termite colony. The workers are approximately six millimeters long. They have no wings and are light colored. The soldiers have long dark-colored heads equipped with sharp pincers, and like the workers, they have light colored abdomens. Reproductive Subterranean Termites have dark-colored bodies and are equipped with two pairs of wings.
  • Drywood Termites – Drywood Termites are among the most destructive, usually causing serious damage before being detected, since established colonies can contain thousands of members. These termites are almost all two-toned, with white abdomens and dark colored heads with pincer-like mandibles. In their reproductive form, Drywood Termites have dark colored bodies and long wings that extend beyond the end of the abdomen. These termites live up to their name – they need very little moisture to thrive, and are most often found in areas where wood does not come into contact with the ground or receive moisture. Attic spaces are common Drywood Termite targets.
  • Flying Termites – Flying Termites have a close resemblance to Flying Ants, however you can identify them by their waists, which are thicker and straighter than an ants’ waists are. You can also identify them by looking for two pairs of large, translucent, equal-sized wings. While ants have bent antennae, termites hold their antennae straight out from their heads. Flying termites are normally on the lookout for a new place to build a colony; once their mating flights have ended and they’ve settled into a new home, they shed their wings and start working to rear the next generation.

There are many different signs of termites, and there are also a number of methods for preventing them and exterminating them. Termites cause billions of dollars-worth of damage in the United States every year. These insects are capable of destroying buildings at a surprisingly rapid rate – in fact, a colony with about 50,000 workers is capable of consuming a twelve-inch long two-by-four in the span of eight to nine weeks. In homes that are left untreated, total destruction occurs in an average of ten to fifteen years. If you believe you have a termite infestation, be sure to take it seriously.

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Types of Mice

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

There are a few dozen known species within the Mus genus. The following are some of the more common types of mice.

House Mouse

The House Mouse (Mus Musculus) is the most common mouse in the world and is generally found where there are humans. House mice are pests and can cause significant damage to food and crops. The species have been domesticated and bred as a very related but separate species known as the ‘Fancy Mouse.’ House mice are seven to ten centimeters long and their tails are roughly the same length. They come in many colors varying from white and gray to brown and black. House Mice’s ears have almost no hair on their ears or tails. The mice are omnivores and generally survive by scavenging food found near human populations.

Field Mouse

Field Mouse is a catchall name that may refer to any of several species of mice in the genus Apodemus. As suggested by the name field mice like to live in fields, though different species of field mouse can be found in several other environments as well. Field mice vary greatly in appearance depending on the species. They are generally adapted to their specific environment, using their appearance to camouflage themselves with their surroundings. Field mice are curious creatures and adept scavengers that can cause serious damage to agricultural fields. In addition, they are known to carry various diseases. Due to a very large number of predators, field mice do not often survive more than a year.

Deer Mouse

The deer mouse is a species in the Peromyscus genus. Deer mice are small, fast, and agile mice. This speed and agility are what got them the name ‘deer mouse.’ Deer mice are seven to ten centimeters in length (eighteen centimeters on average including the tail), have soft grey fur, white feet, and tails that are white underneath and gray on the top. Deer mice have sharp teeth and use them to eat anything from seeds to beetles and snails. Deer mice are skittish and will generally run from humans but are considered pests, as they are known carriers of multiple diseases including Hantavirus, Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis.

White-Footed Mouse

The white-footed mouse is another species in the Peromyscus genus. It is tremendously similar to the deer mouse in appearance. It differs in that its fur can be brown or reddish as opposed to the gray of the deer mouse. White-footed mice generally live next to woods and marches. They are agile creatures, adept at climbing and swimming. White-footed mice eat a tremendous variety of foods including plants, nuts, fruits, seeds, caterpillars, beetles, snails, and grasshoppers. The may occasionally eat small mammals. Like the deer mouse, the white-footed mouse may carry Hantavirus or Lyme disease.

Fancy Mouse

The ‘Fancy Mouse’ is a term for a domesticated House Mouse (see above). The fancy mouse was bred over many years to be a pet. They are bred and sold as pets or as food for other pets (mostly snakes). Fancy mice have been bred for exhibition as well. Since the fancy mouse is bred, it varies greatly in size and appearance. It is estimated that mice have been kept as pets since as early as the 12th century C.E. They are small, inexpensive, and very low-maintenance pets. Females are much more popular than males as they cohabitate well.

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Dog Fleas

Last Updated: December 30, 2016

Dog fleas (also known as ‘the troll’) are a species of flea that feed primarily on the blood of dogs, though they will also feed on cats and occasionally humans. One of the main worries with dog fleas is that they can spread a parasitic tapeworm called ‘Dipylidium Caninum.’ Dogs with fleas easily transfer their fleas to other pets or can cause infestations in homes. Dog fleas are found mostly in Europe. It is important to note that, if your dog has fleas, they are very likely to be cat fleas. Cat fleas are not picky about their hosts and are found around the world. Both dog and cat fleas are agile creatures and can easily spread between dogs.

If your dog has fleas, one of the easiest ways to tell is by looking for flea feces. These small dark brown spots that look much like dirt will often be found on your dog’s skin (particularly in the stomach area). If you mix one of these spots with water and crush it and it becomes red (make sure to do this with protective gloves), then you can be mostly sure that your dog has fleas. This occurs because flea feces contains dried blood inside of it. In addition, you can use a flea comb to search your dog’s skin and hair for fleas and flea dirt. If your dog is showing symptoms of flea bites, but you cannot find fleas, one of the simplest methods of diagnosis is simply to treat for fleas and see if the symptoms stop. One method that has been suggested to find out if your dog has fleas is to place it over a white sheet or piece of paper and comb it with a very fine comb. If fleas or little black (flea feces) or white (flea eggs) specks fall onto the paper, then your dog likely has fleas.

Dog Flea Bites

If your dog has fleas, they will feed on him, and your dog will likely become symptomatic. Fleas can be uncomfortable and dangerous for dogs by causing serious itching, inflammation, and skin infection. Dog Flea bites leave small red bumps that can cause multiple forms of irritation. These bumps are often raw and bloody. They can also have puss oozing out of them. Your dog will most likely begin chewing and scratching non-stop. Dogs have very sensitive skin and can feel fleas on them. The fleas feed extremely often, and your dog may become obsessed with cleaning itself. This can lead to allergies and hair loss. This behavior can in turn lead to rashes and infections. It is therefore important to treat dog fleas as soon as you have identified them.

In serious cases, due to frequent feeding, dog flea bites can cause anemia; particularly in puppies and small dogs. In addition, as previously mentioned, fleas can pass tapeworm to dogs and their owners. Dog fleas tend to bite around the tail, neck, and head. Dogs that are allergic to the fleas’ saliva (flea allergic dermatitis) will have more exaggerated effects.

Dog Flea Treatment

There are several methods of treatment for dog flea bites. It should be noted though that, no matter the form of treatment for the bites, the most important thing to do is to get rid of the dog fleas. So long as the fleas are there, they will continue to bite the dog. It is important to treat a dog with fleas not only when he has them, but also when they do not have fleas as part of a prevention methodology. In addition, if the dog has spent much time in the house or, if you or other members of the household have noticed flea bites, it may well be necessary to get rid of fleas in your house as well. With that being said, the following are methods for treating dog flea bites and getting rid of dog fleas:

  • Flea Collars are available in most pet stores and, though not fail-proof, are fairly effective at keeping fleas off of your dog’s coat. These collars release chemicals that deter fleas. Be sure to consult both the packaging and a veterinarian, as the wrong flea collar can be dangerous for your dog.
  • There are many topical treatments than can be applied to your dog and are available from most local pet stores or from your veterinarian. Frontline and Advantage are two of the primary brands of topical flea treatment. The treatment should be placed according to the instructions on the packet in between your dog’s shoulder blades. This is done to keep the dog from licking the medication. Powders are also available and work in much the same way however can cause skin irritation in many dogs. Topical ointments are preferred.
  • Your veterinarian can also offer you oral medications for your dog. These are useful in situations that have are more developed. Oral medications stop flea larvae from being able to grow and stop the fleas’ life cycle.
  • A good method both for treating your dogs’ fleas and for easing his symptoms is bathing him with a specialized flea shampoo. Make sure when you get the shampoo that it is designed to kill fleas, not just help remove them. Scrub your dog in the shower with the shampoo. Make sure to remove all fleas that you see. Make sure to kill any fleas that drop into the water as they can easily make it back onto your dog. Work systematically along your dogs’ body as well as a flea comb and make sure to be thorough.
  • Flea Combs are good at removing fleas but will by no means constitute a complete treatment. They should be used along with other treatments such as those meant before.
  • A cool bath will not get rid of all of the fleas, but will offer your dog relief from the itching and can reduce swelling. Hot baths can cause more inflammation and itching. Adding cornstarch to the bath can further help relieve itching. In addition, it has been suggested that sprinkling baking soda directly onto flea bites, or applying a paste of water and baking soda to the bites can help relieve itching as well.
  • Dogs who develop hypersensitivity to flea bites may need to be taken to the veterinarian and prescribed antihistamines or steroids to treat their symptoms. The same goes for dogs that have developed infections from open wounds after too much scratching or biting.
  • Keeping a dog’s environment clean and flea-free is important in preventing infestations. If your dog has fleas and spends time inside the house or, if you or other members of the house have fleas, it may well be necessary to get rid of the fleas in your house. The most basic method to keep a dog’s living area clean is to regularly thoroughly vacuum their sleeping area (cage, pen, dog bed, etc.).
  • Regular grooming and inspection of your dog’s skin for small white (eggs) or black (feces) spots as well as bites can help detect fleas early on.