Can I get fleas if I have no pets?

Here's a question e-mailed in by Paul and Gail:

"We do not have pets.  But we have found 2 fleas on our clothes.  And now we are having bites.  We live in the San Francisco Bay area and are experiencing a drouth -- do fleas have peak periods in the summer when it's dry -- could they be jumping on us from the yard and being carried in?  Will this problem go away on its own, or do we have to be concerned?"

   

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Yes, you can easily get fleas without having pets. They often sneak rides in people's socks or pants, or can hop into your shoe. If you've got them in your yard, they could be doing that, or they could be getting into the house through tiny cracks or passages that let insects through even if you can't see them. Often this is because either your neighbors have pets or wild animals are bringing them into the yard. One other common way people can get them without pets is if they have mice nesting in their houses.

Because you've got no pets, getting rid of them will likely be less expensive. Their only food source is you. So I would do the following:

1) Start wearing socks around the house.

2) Vacuum every day for the next few weeks. This will cause their eggs to hatch prematurely. You want this because it will get rid of the infestation sooner.

3) Wash all your bedding. You might do this every few days.

4) You might consider getting some diatomaceous earth and sprinkling it out in the yard. If that's the source, then this will cut down on that dramatically.

As far as the season, fleas tend to peak in July through September in the United States. By December, they have mostly died off outdoors - however, they can still live inside because your home is heated. That's a long time to wait. But indoor infestations will usually go away in a month or so on their own once you cut of the food source (here, it's you). There are other things you can do if that's too long - flea traps, spreading the diatomaceous earth in your house, etc.

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