Are fleas possible if you don't have a pet?

teetimeSeptember 16, 2008

We have just moved into a home where the previous owners had 2 dogs.

I've been bitten in bed at night and have several small bites on my leg which leads me to believe it might be fleas (we do not have any pets)? Is it possible they are still in the house (we moved in a month ago).

If this is possible, any ideas on how to get rid of them.

If this is not possible, any ideas of what other kind of bites they may be and how to solve (did I mention I hate bugs....have lived in a top floor apartment all my life with no bugs and this is driving me crazy).

Any help/advice would be appreciated.

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Fleas do live in your yard from passing animals too. And you can track them in on your feet and legs.

How long was the house empty? If it was empty for a long time, I would think the fleas would have hatched and died.

I would be suspicious of bugs having crawled into your sheets. Strip the bed and wash the sheets. Sometimes a spider can crawl into your sheets while the bed is made up.

Are the screens in good condition to keep all the bugs out and do you keep the screen doors closed tight?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:51AM
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Hi Sheila and thanks for the quick response (this is the first time I've used this site to post a question).

The previous owners moved out 3 months ago, however have been there several times a week with their dogs until 2 days before we moved in.

The house backs onto a ravine and has a lot of spiders around.

The windows and screens are relatively new (but there are a lot of webs around them).

My husband reluctantly got up with me at 3am when I thought I was bitten last night and changed the sheets.

Any other advice / suggestions are welcome....I'll do everything and (almost) anything.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:45PM
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Fleas can live a very long time in a house. I would either call in an exterminator or buy a DIY indoor fogger kit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Indoor fogger

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 4:05PM
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Flea eggs take about two weeks to hatch. The larvae pupate in about two weeks. This time may be lengthened if the conditions are not right. It is possible that the previous owners had the place sprayed to kill the fleas and now the eggs are hatching. Sprays don't kill eggs.

You could also have bedbugs. They are becoming a huge problem in hotels and hospitals. The bedbugs are now resistant to the only spray that has been used to kill them. Fleas are becoming resistant too.

Check the *Pet Forum* here at GW for lots of flea advice. There are chemicals to use, DE, Borax, and natural herb suggestions. It's going to be a battle.

If you have more bites on your ankles than the rest of your body it is probably fleas. Fleas jump up from carpeting and bite. Bed bugs bite all over while you reside in bed or on your couch as do fleas but fleas tend to prefer low dark places.

Fleas need a blood meal in order to reproduce. Try to keep them from biting you. I used a mixture of rubbing alcohol and tea tree oil in a spray bottle that I would apply to my ankles. It worked better than Off repellent. To check to see if you really do have fleas put on a pair of white socks and walk around the house. If you see little black dots all over them you have fleas.

Spray the house with Raid for instant knockdown, and then try to get an insecticide with *insect growth regulator* to deal with the larve. You can get this type of product online or from a vet's office. But a case of it. Don't forget to spray the basement. Vacuum everything and wash everything. I had to empty every closet and drawer and take down all the curtain and bedding and WASH everything. It was a nightmare. Sprinkle DE and Borax in all the carpets and under the mattresses and don't forget the closets too.

The indoor foggers work but there is a danger of explosion using them. You must turn all pilots lights off and all electrical. I was too fearful to use them. A professional exterminator is going to charge and arm and a leg and the results are not guaranteed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bed Bugs

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 3:11AM
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Yes, fleas are possible if you don't have pets. A number of years ago, we had sand fleas in the house one summer when our weather was extremely dry - and we didn't have any pets at all at that time. Our couch became so infested, we had to throw it out. :-(

After that experience, a friend who does have pets told me of this solution: She said she uses very shiny pie pans (the disposable ones from frozen pies), puts in some water with a drop of Joy dishwashing detergent (I would think other detergents would also work?), and puts them under nightlights around the house at night. The fleas are attracted to the light, jump into the pans, and die. Water alone won't kill them, but the detergent does.

You can also use a fogger, of course. This solution is just less toxic. When we did this, the water in the pans was completely covered with fleas the next morning!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 9:59PM
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Water in a pie tin will only kill fleas that jump into the pan...and it doesn't take many fleas to start a new generation.
Vacuum every day and toss out the bag every day...or vacuum up some borax.
Spray....then vacuum some more....and borrow a dog which has been treated with something like Revolution or Front line....the fleas bite and die!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:58AM
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I heard about an old lady whose poodle died, leaving her with a house full of hungry fleas. In desperation, she invited all the neighborhood children to her house for a "puppy party" and sent home as many fleas as possible, sort of as party favors.

You might as well go at it tooth and claw, because any survivors will repopulate the house. Thorough diligence pays off. If you don't want to toss your vac bag every single day, cut a chemical flea collar in pieces and insert them into the bag.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 8:03AM
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If you have fleas, you will have very tiny pepper-like particles in your bed. Almost like tiny dandruff, but they look black and feel a bit sand-like. If you find these in your bed, spray some water on the particles. It they turn the sheet pink or red, that is dried blood.
You can try a bomb, they do work. But, you shouldn't sleep in the house after you do this for a few days. At least, I wouldn't. I had an infestation a few years ago. My cat got them from outside (she goes out for a few minutes a day, like once a week!). We have several feral and outside cats in the neighborhood, along with possum and raccoon, so I'm sure that's where she picked them up. I bombed all 3 floors in the house, including the basement, and stayed with my parents for the weekend. The fleas were gone, along with the horrid crickets in the basement, thankfully.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 1:49PM
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If you use flea or bug bombs, follow the directions carefully. I have read of people blowing up their houses because they used more bombs than directed. They blew the walls out of their houses. I guess it did get rid of the bugs, but it also got rid of the house!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 2:27PM
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Here's another non-toxic way to tackle fleas--and dustmites, while you're at it. I haven't tried it, but it makes sense.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dustmite And Flea Control by The Ecology Works

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 8:22PM
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It is very very possible for fleas to survive, or recently tracked in for that matter. They would most likely be in your carpets though.

IMO it takes a professional exterminator for fleas. Been there done that with some rental property I own.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 2:23AM
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sorry, but I must disagree with borrowing a dog so it can be bit by the fleas. I would dare anyone to even ask to borrow my dog.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 2:26AM
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Even after bombing, you'll still have survivors. If they're in/under furniture, the foggers don't travel there.

My cat had fleas a few years ago, and nothing but vacuuming worked. I vacuumed everything, several times a day.

I also put a small dish of water with dish soap under a nightlight. It does not have to be a shiny, or a specific soap. The fleas get trapped in the soap.

I used this more as a guide to see IF the fleas were still there. It took 2-3 week to get rid of them.

Sprays and powders don't really do anything but coat your carpet ( which then attracts dirt) and you once you sit on it. I spent a little over $100 and in the end, vacuuming 5-6x daily is what worked.

Remember to dump the vacuum after EVERY use. It's a lot of work, but you have to stay on top of it because they multiply like crazy.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 11:42PM
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If you live near water you can have gnats getting into your home. They tend to become active at night. Yes they can get on your carpeting and you can transfer them to under your sheets.

Use a lint brush on the sheet in the morning and see what you get.

Don't leave the windows open. Sometimes such a pest like a NoSeeum can even get in thru the smallest screen.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Yes you could have fleas from the previous owner. I read recently that frequent, thorough vacuuming is as effective as a chemical approach. The first thing to do is to verify that you have fleas. I doubt that you have a huge infestation because most people treat their pets these days with very effective flea controls. Additionally ,the house hasn't been empty long enough to have them multiplying unchecked - you said the previous owners were in the house right up until recently

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 9:38PM
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Oh yes, you can have fleas from a previous owner and sounds like you do have them.

I have found fleas in motels that allow pets. Got chewed up badly one time and woke up the manager to switch us to another room at 1am.

Many good ideas already given, I second the cutting up a flea collar and putting in the vacumn bag and vacumn, vacumn, vacumn.

I would be cautious with using a bomb, and try less toxic methods first.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 2:22PM
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Flea collars are very toxic and when you put them in the vacuum they disperse the toxins all through the air to breath in.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 2:42PM
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    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 4:38PM
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