Summer Heat Driving Up Flea Activity

Aug 26, 2015, 10:56 AM by Fred Speer

The severe drought California has endured the last three or four years has impacted homeowners on everything from food prices to when they can or can’t water their lawns. To top it off the extreme dry conditions and searing heat are now impacting pest activity and not for the better.

In previous posts the Clark Man shared how rodents, ants and other pests are more aggressively seeking food and water inside homes since the naturally produced sources they rely on are no longer available due to the drought. Another pest that is benefiting from the drought is the pesky flea that seeks to irritate both pets and homeowners.

The most commonly encountered flea specie threatening household pets in California is the cat flea.

Research veterinarians at the University of California Davis said this past winter’s mild temperatures and dry weather allowed the fleas to not just survive, but thrive because there were no cold temperatures or wet weather to eliminate fleas naturally.

Fleas can be a problem for homeowners even if they do not own a pet. Urban wildlife including feral cats, opossums, raccoons or rodents are well-known flea transporters and with wildlife populations on the rise the flea threat is greater.

These annoying, tiny insects – cat fleas only measure 1/8 inch in length – prefer living in areas frequented by pets and other animals while they are on the prowl for their next meal. Fleas are typically brownish-black in color but red when full of blood after feeding.

Fleas are also quite the little athlete possessing the ability to jump 6 inches straight up thus giving them the ability to leap from the ground on to an animal or even the pant leg or shoe of an unsuspecting human.

What can homeowners do to help prevent fleas from becoming an unwanted problem for their pets and family? The Clark Man offers the following suggestions: 

  • Regularly clean all surfaces that your pet frequents and vacuum carpets (especially under furniture), upholstered furniture, under cushions and in crevices.
  • Seal vacuum bags in a plastic bag and discard it immediately after use.
  • Wash pet bedding and throw rugs regularly in warm water.
  • On the exterior of your home focus your efforts on areas when your pets spend time including lawns and shaded areas under landscape bushes. Keep your grass cut, and trim weeds and overgrown shrubbery that give fleas shelter.
  • Talk with your veterinarian or animal groomer for recommendations on on-animal prevention and treatment options. 

If you have questions on how to protect your pet and family from fleas, call 800/WE-NEED-YOU or drop me an e-mail


Until next time, I’m the Clark Man and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.