Closeup of a flea under a microscope.

Fleas can cause great discomfort to our pets and leave us with small itchy bites, often on our legs. Their bites can cause allergic reactions and scratching can lead to infection. Fleas are capable of picking up plague from wild rodents and transmitting the bacterial disease to people.

Prevention and Control

Effective flea control depends on removing fleas from both indoor and outdoor environments, and from your pets, and keeping fleas away.

  • Vacuum carpet, rugs, and furniture thoroughly and frequently - pay special attention to areas where pets rest and sleep. Throw away the vacuum's contents in a sealed plastic bag and put the bag in the outdoor garbage can.
  • Wash pet's bedding in hot water every week.
  • Comb pets with a flea comb. Rinse the comb in soapy water to remove the fleas from the comb.
  • Ask your veterinarian about products, such as spot-on treatments or oral treatments, to keep fleas from infesting your pet.
  • Consider using hand-spray flea control products that contain an insect growth regulator. These products are sprayed on carpets or other areas where fleas have been found and will prevent flea larvae from becoming adults. Follow the label instructions carefully.
  • Keep wild and stray animals from your pets and property.
  • Practice rodent control around your home.
  • Keep lawns trimmed and avoid piling sand and gravel for long periods around your home.
  • Consider hiring a professional pest control company if you need help controlling fleas or rodents.


Bug Bombs (Foggers)

Insect Bites and Stings, Medline Plus

Pestsense, see "Stinging and Biting," WSU Extension


Content Source: Zoonotic Disease Program, Pesticide Program