Fleas, Bedbugs and Mites: What You Need to Know
Pet owners will all know the struggles of fleas. You’re cuddling your lovely dog when suddenly your arms start itching. You’re covered in little bites and your poor dog must be as well. What people are sometimes less aware of is the bedbugs and mites that may be living in your house causing bites and allergies for you and your family. Where do you even start? Here’s our advice on finding out if you have a flea, bedbug, or mite problem, as well as some home cleaning advice which can help you handle them if you do.
1. What are the differences between bedbugs, mites and fleas?
Bedbugs are small parasites that feed on human blood. As the name suggests, they are often found in beds and mattresses.
There are loads of species of mites, but the most common are probably dust mites. Dust mites don’t bite humans, and they are too small to be seen with the naked eye. However, they feed on dead human skin – which is why they are often also found in beds, as well as carpets and furniture that has been upholstered, like your favourite couch. They’re actually a type of tiny arachnid, like spiders.
Fleas? Well, we’re probably all quite familiar with fleas. Just in case though, they’re also parasites that feed on blood. Humans can be the host (gross!) but they’re often found in homes with pet, particularly if your pet hygiene isn’t perfect.
3. How do I get rid of them?
If fleas are a problem and you suspect your pet is the major contributing factor, it’s important to bath them regularly. You should also brush them with a special flea comb to get fleas out of their hair, and regularly treat them with a product designed to provide flea and tick protection. After this, it’s important to wash and vacuum the floors and throw away the bag each time for a few weeks.
Remember, fleas love to feed on your pets, so you will find a high concentration of them on your pets’ beds and blankets. Wash and vacuum these thoroughly to eliminate any fleas, and continue to do so at least every month.
4. Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they’ve taken hold of your home. You’ll have to be very thorough and clean all of your clothes, linen, curtains, upholstery and even rugs. Wash them on a hot setting with a few drops of tea tree oil added, and then dry them on a hot setting too. You can also use a steam device for further protection, as this will kill off bedbugs. Use the steam for your mattress (you can attach a tube to a kettle) by pointing the steam at all areas, especially the seams and corners.
The process of removing dust mites from your home is largely the same as that for bedbugs. It is important to wash everything, and consider throwing away items that are heavily infested such as old pillowcases. Vacuuming and discarding the bag is also effective, as is buying a dehumidifier to reduce humidity – mites thrive in warm, moist areas, so removing some of the moisture is an effective way to make your home a less attractive prospect.