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QUESTION: About 2 years ago my daughter had a friend spend the night. Unbeknownst to me, her family was bombing their house which is why they wanted her to spend the night. They had just moved into a house with a severe infestation. That 1st summer we had no pets. (well a fish) I treated our hair daily with rubbing alcohol and bombed the house several times. I thought the problem was taken care of. (didn't realize that it was just because it had turned colder# Last summer I didn't notice the fleas till July. We had a dog by then, but the dog seemed very unaffected. Still we treated him, the yard, the house, ourselves, bedding etc. I tried everything google offered. Salt, vinegar, specific sprays. Someone suggested using the dog shampoo on ourselves. That didn't help. I bombed with Adams flea foggers and when I went to air out the house I still saw fleas on my bed. I tried Kerosene.. it worked for the rest of the summer, of course I continued to bomb every 2-3 weeks. I really thought that it was finally over. They are back!!! Worse than ever. Rubbing alcohol kills whatever is alive but within a few hours my head is crawling again. I have washed our bedding so much that we now have fleas coming up out of our drain. #washing machine and kitchen sink use the same drain# So now I can't figure out how to get them out of my hair. #My daughter seems to be spared so far this go around) I have again treated the dog who again seems largely unaffected, I have treated the yard. My head, my bed and now the drain are the only places I find them. Please help! (Western Nebraska)

ANSWER: Steph,

Have you tried to capture any and get them identified? Use a damp cotton swab (Q-tip) to catch a few and your local county Extension office (extension.org) should be able to help you get them identified. These don't sound like normal fleas, see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/fleas.html for pictures and flea control info. Also, take a look at http://www.livingwithbugs.com/unknown_bug_bites.html for a list of insects and mites that bite plus some things that can be mistaken for bug bites such as allergies. Post a follow up if you can get the id confirmed and we can discuss control options.

Jack DeAngelis


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Flea
Flea  
QUESTION: I will see if there is anyone nearby that may be able to identify them. We live in a pretty small town though. I know they both jump and bite though. They are really too small to take a pic with my phone which is the only camera I have.

I looked at the site you posted. While they are small, they are definitely bugs. They don't seem small enough to be mites. The bites are on my scalp so I can't really see them. However I think I can safely rule out allergies, toxins and such. The only medication I'm on is Armour thyroid which is not known for causing reactions. They do not have wings so the black flies, midges and the pictures that I saw of various mites are out. They are black (maybe dark brown?) so lice is out. Of course I know what mosquitos look like. The picture of the flea is a cat flea. they don't quite look like that, but very similar. I googled flea images and found a pic that I think looks like them. It isn't a picture I took, just a pic I found.

Thank you for answering so quickly. I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. I had family in town and couldn't get to a real computer. As per the other link you listed I ordered some pills for my dog that have methoprene from Ebay. It has come in and he has had his 1st dose. I also ordered some spray but that has not come in yet. I'm really looking forward to any suggestions you have. The boxes of flea bombs say not to bomb more than every 2 weeks, however in 2 weeks time I'm back at square 1. Within a week my head and my bed are covered. I just want this to end. :(

Answer
The best way to get something identified is through Extension in your county, you may have to drive to another city depending on where the Extension office is located. Once we know for sure what it is, control will be fairly easy.

Jack DeAngelis  

Pest Control

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.

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I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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