How to Check If I Have Fleas in My House

Adult fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day on an animal, according to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, and these eggs land on bedding, furniture and other areas of the home when a flea-ridden pet spends time indoors.

Flea bites can irritate humans as well as pets.Flea bites can irritate humans as well as pets.
Although you may have already treated your pet for fleas, 90 percent of the invasion may still reside in your environment, says the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. The larvae and countless adult fleas remain hidden in carpets and floorboard cracks, but you can visibly detect them in your home by searching for common signs of infestation and setting up a flea trap.

Check your pet's indoor bedding and favorite resting areas for white and black specks that resemble salt and pepper. Flea eggs and feces typically accumulate on the fabric or surface on which an infested pet sleeps. If you're unsure of whether the specks are "flea dirt," pat the area with a damp paper towel. Tiny red blotches will appear on the towel if the specs are from fleas, as the feces contain dried blood.

Put on a pair of white socks and walk around your home. Adult fleas, which are brownish-black and about 1/8 inch in length, will sometimes jump onto a person's ankles and are visible against the white color of the socks.

Mix 1 tablespoon of dish-washing detergent in a light-colored pan of water, and set it on the floor beneath a 60-watt or lower lamp, as recommended in the book "Fix It, Clean It, and Make It Last." Shine the light on the pan overnight, and examine the mixture in the morning for dead fleas that jumped or fell in.

Things You Will Need

  • Paper towels
  • White socks
  • Light-colored pan
  • Dish-washing detergent
  • Water
  • Lamp
  • 60-watt or lower light bulb

Tips

  • Small, itchy red bumps around your ankles and on your legs may indicate a flea infestation in the home. Flea bites show a single puncture point and often appear side by side in a row of two or three.
  • Vacuum your home thoroughly and seal and discard the vacuum bag immediately if you notice fleas. Wash all bedding, too. This helps eliminate the infestation.
  • Treat both your pet and the environment to eradicate the problem. Your veterinarian will advise you of the best treatment for your pet. He or an exterminator can also recommend proper environmental control options.

Warning

  • Fleas can transmit pathogens and parasites to both pets and humans, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Wash your hands after handling infested bedding. Instruct children to use caution around infested pets and to wash their hands routinely, too, as accidental ingestion of fleas can lead to tapeworm infection.