If you are like most people, you probably don’t have much experience with fleas. Even if you have had minor troubles with them in your home, caused by a dog or cat, you most likely took steps to remove them quickly before they became a problem. But when a property owner simply gives up on any semblance of personal hygiene, or a property is left vacant for a long time, a minor problem can snowball into something huge.
Such was the case when I went into a run-down short-sale building in South St. Louis this afternoon. This property was occupied, the owner had a dog, and the place was filthy. I did a quick walkthrough and got out as fast as I could. Only, when I stepped outside, I noticed the wonderful gift of fleas all over my ankles. Disgusting? Of course, but I wish I could say this is the first time I have had this happen. Still, this summer has been especially bad for this problem, with a good number of foreclosures seeming to have a flea problem. Between REO companies not fighting these infestations once known, and former property owners that are clearly beyond lazy, the problem is likely to be stopping anytime soon.
So what can you do? The best method is to make sure you have a can of OFF or similar bug spray with you when entering such buildings. I don’t often spray myself beforehand, but if I find fleas on my legs while in a building I will immediately go to the car and spray. Most of this stuff does not kill the fleas, but they will certainly jump off (pun intended) you. Other than that, it’s something that is pretty much just a hazard of the business. Just be prepared so that you can nip the problem in the bud should you encounter it.