Cat Fleas

Asked August 17, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

Hello there: Our son, wife and grandson live in Florida and are struggling with treating their Florida home & cats that have extreme cat flea infestation. They are flying from Florida to Denver and will be staying with us in Colorado springs for a week without their cats. We do not have any pets and our home is free of fleas. Should I be worried that their cat fleas will attach to their clothing, shoes & luggage and then carry them into my home in Colorado Springs to cause an infestation in my home. I have read if they do not have a pet to latch onto then they will bite humans. I am extremely anxious about this and I am wondering if there is something that I can have them do before they enter our home - spray their clothes, wash all their clothes anything to avoid this awful problem. The more I read about cat fleas - the more I wish they weren't staying at my house. It sounds terrible but I don't want to deal with an infestation. Can you shed some light on the topic? Thanks.

El Paso County Colorado insects

1 Response

I don't think there is much risk of your becoming infested from a visit of folks that live in a cat flea area, for several reasons.

For one, it is unlikely that many, if any, fleas will be carried to your home. The fleas normally rest in areas where the pet rests and, although they sometimes can bite people, they do not stay attached to a person for any longer than it takes to feed (minutes).

Immature stages of the fleas and the eggs are normally also associated with areas where the pet rests. So, unless they are bringing along material associated with resting areas of the pet (pet blankets, other material from area of the resting pet) they are unlikely to bring any of these stages of fleas with them.

Assuming that they are packing normal clothing and items not intimately associated with the pets, it is doubtful they will carry any fleas. (Furthermore any clothing that has been washed and put through a drier would kill everything.) So I don't think there is any reason to spray clothes, shoes, etc.

Furthermore cat fleas generally do very poorly in Colorado and reproduce poorly if at all - it is too dry. So even in the remote possibility that they brought a few fleas - and you had a cat or dog on which they could reproduce, in actuality it is unlikely they would reproduce and would instead just die out.

And this happens all the time. Coloradoans are constantly visited by people who live in areas where cat fleas are very common - essentially all of the southern US and much of the east. Yet I have never heard of a serious problem of fleas developing from humans that live with cat fleas (as tens of millions of Americans do) introducing a cat flea problem with their visit.

Were they to bring the pet and the kennel/carrying case, some fleas might be brought in. But even in this case they would be expected to die out fairly quickly because of our climate.