What has infested our deck?
July 28, 2006 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Could this be fleas? My Hubby and I went out on our deck (wood if that matters) sat on our deck furniture (metal - no fabric) to eat dinner. With in two minutes, he looks at his legs where dozens of tiny little black jumpy bugs were crawling around that looked like fleas and exhibited very 'flea like' behavior.

I looked down at my legs - same thing. Very weird and disturbing. I didn't think fleas infested like this. There is a stray cat that likes to hang around, but he wasn't anywhere around at that time (One morbid thought I had - did he crawl under the deck to die? he did look kind of sickly).

What else could the little bugs be, if not fleas?
posted by delladlux to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)

sometimes they're kinda jumpy
posted by unSane at 10:53 AM on July 28, 2006

If rats or other wild animals nest under there, then the fleas will definitely travel up through the cracks (wish I didn't know from experience).
posted by hermitosis at 10:58 AM on July 28, 2006

There's tons of little bugs that they could be. If you saw them crawling, though ... in my experience, fleas don't *crawl*. They can only jump from place to place.
posted by SpecialK at 10:59 AM on July 28, 2006

Where do you live? Did the bugs bite? What was the weather like cool, humid, hot? My initial guess is gnats if there were no bites.
posted by Xurando at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2006

Sounds like fleas. Did you get bitten? Regardless, laying down some toxins under the boards should make whatever kind of bugs these are go away.
posted by caddis at 11:22 AM on July 28, 2006

also, fleas do crawl as well as jump.
posted by caddis at 11:23 AM on July 28, 2006

In my experience with fleas on house pets, the fleas are pretty recognizable as such -- that is, they are small, but not so small that you can`t visibly make out their form. Also, the ones I`ve seen are reddish brown, not black. Maybe due to ingesting blood?

Sounds to me like something other than fleas. Gnat-like flies or something?
posted by penchant at 11:24 AM on July 28, 2006

The fleas I have seen looked black. Gnats don't jump, they fly.

To test whether you have fleas hang a light bulb (it's the warmth you are seeking so no fluorescent bulbs) over a bowl of water with a bit of dish soap in it. The fleas, if present, will be attracted to the warmth of the bulb and will fall into the water and drown. You can then examine one of the drowned bugs to see if it is indeed a flea.
posted by caddis at 11:49 AM on July 28, 2006

I'd check under the deck, just in case (provided that this is possible).
posted by ArbiterOne at 3:44 PM on July 28, 2006

caddis's suggestion will also work to eliminate the infestation, if you dont want to spend money on poison,the little buggers cannot resist the warmth.
posted by hortense at 7:56 PM on July 28, 2006

Could be Flea beetles. They like to sun themselves on the flat wooden planks that flower boxes and decks are made of.
posted by cardboard at 11:06 PM on July 28, 2006

The dead giveaway with fleas is they form a bite, which looks like it heals, and a day or so later, they break down all over again. It'll be around the ankles. If these things don't bite, it's probably not fleas.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 12:00 PM on July 29, 2006

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