Why Fleas Are A Constant Problem In Jacksonville
As you can probably imagine, the climate in Jacksonville has a lot to do with why fleas remain a constant problem all year long. But it isn't the most significant factor to consider. Fleas can be a year-round problem in other areas of the United States with different climates than we experience here in Florida as well. This is because fleas live and feed on warm-blooded animals. In the wild, those fleas do quite nicely in the winter as they rest against the skin of warm-blooded animals. But they do even better when their host animals find a warm place to live during the colder months, like inside our Jacksonville homes. This is what we're going to look at today!
In the winter months, the temperature in Jacksonville can get down into the 60's during the day and the 50's to the mid-40's at night, which can be chilly enough to make mice and rats consider taking advantage of the heat they sense coming out of your home.
As mice explore your foundation walls, they may stop near a crack in the cement where a little heat is escaping and decide to chew on the frame of a basement window or the weather stripping on a basement door to gain access to that heat source. When squirrels and roof rats find their way onto your rooftop, they can find heat escaping through soffits, vents, and gaskets which will encourage them to chew and scratch at your roof to find their way inside. And, while Norway rats prefer to live outdoors, as food sources become more and more scarce in the winter, they may chew their way into our homes through holes in our exterior walls.
Once inside a home, not all animals behave the same. Squirrels don't generally explore common areas. They typically prefer to stay in attic spaces and wall voids. This is true of raccoons as well. They will look for secluded areas inside your home and aren't likely to enter into your common areas or raid your pantry while you're sleeping.
Mice and rats are different. They will explore every room in your home from your basement to your attic and every room in between. And when they do, they'll usually stay close to the walls unless there is clutter in a room that can provide them with a hiding place away from the walls of your home. They may also take advantage of a piece of furniture in your home as a hiding place or a location to establish a nest. When they do, they can bring a flea infestation up close and personal.
So how does where these pests are introduced affect flea infestations, you may ask? Well, if fleas take root in your attic, you may not even notice. Those fleas aren't going to climb down through your walls to get to you, so they’ll likely remain in your attic spaces. But fleas that are deposited onto a piece of furniture in your living room or into the carpets in your home will be able to travel into your common areas and feed on both you and your pets.
In homes that have pets, fleas are given a vehicle to spread their eggs to every corner of your home. Do you have a cat that likes to sleep on your pillow in the daytime? They could easily introduce fleas into your bed! Do you have a dog that likes to lounge on the couch? You are likely to find fleas on your couch if this is the case.
While on the subject of pets, we want to quickly mention that you don’t have to have pets to have a flea infestation. This is a common misconception that we want to clear up. Like we said before, there are many other animals that can carry these pests into our homes besides our pets. So though our pets are known to bring fleas inside, they aren’t the only animals that can do so. Many people also wonder, “If you don’t have any pets, what are those fleas going to feed on?” Well, as fleas develop, they move on from feeding on small mammals like rodents and small birds to larger warm-blooded mammals like us and our pets. So after being introduced into our homes, they will be looking for a larger host to feed on. And though these parasitic pests prefer to use our pets as hosts, if we don’t have any pets, that leaves them one food source. And unfortunately, that source is us! And as they feed on our blood, they leave behind itchy, red bites that can become infected due to excessive scratching.
Dangers Associated With Flea Infestations
Bites are not the only cause for concern when it comes to flea infestations, especially when rodents are part of the equation. Fleas can acquire harmful bacteria and parasitic worms from rodents and spread them to us and our pets. Some of the many illnesses spread by fleas include Murine typhus, tularemia, cat scratch fever, plague, allergy dermatitis, and anemia. Fortunately, the fleas that get into a home do not come in by way of wild animals. They usually come in on our cats and dogs and are less likely to be exposed to harmful diseases and parasites. But this is still a risk you don’t want to take!
In our Jacksonville service area, fleas can be a significant frustration for homeowners. The climate here allows these pests to thrive, making it harder to keep them out of our homes. If you're struggling with a flea infestation in your Jacksonville home, we can help! Check out our flea control page to learn more about our interior and exterior flea treatments. At Lindsey Pest Services, our licensed and certified service professionals know how to control both fleas and the rodents that spread them. We also provide year-round pest control service plans that include treatments for both of these pests, along with over 30 other pest threats in our area including cockroaches, ticks, fire ants, mosquitoes, and termites. Reach out to us today to schedule a free inspection and get started!