Shoo, flea! How to rid your pet of parasitic pests

Eradicating fleas is often easier said than done. Anything less than due diligence can trigger a re-infestation in a matter of days, on your pets, at your home or in your yard.

Professional extermination is an option, but there are a number of less expensive solutions that homeowners can try themselves. Here are some easy-to-manage ways to eliminate fleas.

Why are fleas so hard to eradicate?‌

Numbers are on the side of the fleas. Adult fleas make up only 5% of an infestation, and the rest are microscopic eggs, larvae or treatment-resistant cocoons. There can be thousands of flea eggs, larvae, cocoons and adult fleas living on pets, carpeting, upholstery, flooring, clothing and grass at any given moment.

A single insecticide application or a thorough vacuuming session can’t possibly remove all of them, and surviving fleas reproduce quickly.

What are the health risks?

Fleas present a health risk to both pets and humans. Some pets and humans are allergic to the enzymes produced during a flea bite, giving them an irritating skin rash. Fleas also carry disease-causing bacteria or viruses, and pets can accidentally ingest infected fleas through routine grooming.

Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.