Second Columbia building closes because of fleas

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COLUMBIA - The Boone County Government Center reopened Thursday morning after being shut down to spray for fleas. 

This is the second building in less than a week that has had a flea problem. 

Last Wednesday the Columbia Public Library was shut down due to fleas. 

Mitch Clevenger, owner of Bugs Fear Us, said the warm weather in Columbia could be what has lead to multiple flea outbreaks.

"Heat and humidity is a flea's best friend and right now we've had both," Clevenger said. "It's late in the year, they've been building up their population."

Female fleas drop their eggs which live in the floor until something triggers it to hatch- usually something they can latch onto and feed off of.

They can stay in this egg or cocoon for up to a year if they need to and usually only hatch when it's warm out.  

"They prefer a pet with fur," Clevenger said. "They'll follow them into the house and drop on the floor and then they'll get on people. 

He also said fleas don't usually like to hang out on people but they do tend to get in clothing and spread around in that way. 

"I suspect the recent infestations in different buildings- I believe they're cooling stations," Clevenger said. "They get a lot of different people coming in that spend a lot of time getting cool from outside." 

Clevenger said he suspects since so many people use these buildings, the fleas latch on from outside and they are brought in that way. 

He also said it's much more common for residential buildings than public buildings since there are less pets in a commercial setting. 

Clevenger has treated between 50 and 60 homes this year and says he is 'deep into flea season.'

However, during the winter, Clevenger sees next to zero flea cases. 

"Occasionally there will be some outbreaks if the fleas have been inside during the summer and nothing was really done with them," Cleavenger said.

He also said in the winter time that if there are fleas, they're living in the cocoon stage and there aren't any adult fleas. 

"The vacuum cleaner is your best friend when you're controlling fleas," Clevenger said. "Whether it's heavy or light- the vacuum will bring fleas to the surface, encourages it to hatch from the cocoon stage and crawl around and die." 

Clevenger said if you have a flea problem, it's best to call a professional rather than buy cleaning products on your own. 

He said the stuff exterminators use is stronger and is more likely to prevent more infestations even if new fleas are introduced.