Is There a Quick Fix for Flea Control?
Updated: Jan 26
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix but remember your pets are worth it.
Now before we get into how to get fleas under control, wanted to spend just a minute on how to help prevent them from feeding on your pet in the first place. First there are many high-quality flea collars for both your cats and your dogs. They do help but besides that having regular visits to your vet along with updated shots, vaccines are vital to help protect your pet, not just from fleas but ticks and anything else that could cause health issues for our furry friends.
Pets are a benefit to us in so many different ways, but unfortunately, they are also a breeding site for those horrible little pests, fleas. Fleas thrive during the warm and muggy, BC summers.
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If you allow your pet to come and go from the house to the yard, you should understand that fleas may become a problem. Eradicating fleas entirely is only wishful thinking but flea control is possible. The secret lies in understanding the flea’s life cycle and using a good method to control them. And no matter where I went to research the best methods everyone seems to boil down to four steps.
Going back several years the system of control for fleas has remained fairly standard.
A Fleas Life Cycle:
Adult fleas are wingless, brown to black insects. Fleas mate on the pet, and both male and female bite. After they get their fill, the female will usually lay four to eight eggs. Over her lifetime, a female may lay more than 400 eggs. Flea eggs are white, smooth and oval shape.
Depending on temperature and humidity, flea eggs hatch in one to ten days. Newly hatched fleas are small, whitish, wormlike larvae. They avoid light, burrowing down into carpets, cracks, or, if outdoors, soil. There they will feed on small particles of animal or plant debris until they are full grown. Larval development may require as little as five days but may last for up to three to four weeks, depending on food and environmental conditions.
The larvae will spin silken cocoons that help protect them from insecticides. Fleas can stay in the cocoon for short or long periods ranging from less than a week to four months.
An adult flea will emerge from their cocoon after a physical disturbance or in the presence of a warm-blooded animal. This is why families returning from vacation can sometimes find their homes overrun by fleas. The adults will remain in their cocoons when the house is quiet, only emerging hungrily all at once when the family returns. The flea’s ability to stay in its protective cocoon so long is one of the reasons that a scheduled control program is needed.
You should set up a control program you can follow, similar to the one I have outlined below. If at all possible, this four-step program should be completed all in one day.
#1. First you should Check with your veterinarian for the treatment that is best suited for your pet. Combing your pet with a comb designed to collect fleas can get rid of many of these parasites from your pet. Also, a quick 10-minute warm soapy bath will kill most of the fleas on the pet.
If you have used soap and water but it's not working, there are pet shampoos containing insecticides you can try. Remember that Insecticidal shampoos do not provide long term control of fleas.
Sprays are another control alternative. Some sprays made for pets contain a flea-like hormone called Methoprene. What Methoprene does is disrupts the breeding cycle of the adult fleas that are feeding on your pet. There are other worth while pet treatment products including spot applications or oral pills. These new products are for long term treatments can be requested from your veterinarian.
#2. Make sure to completely clean your house. Before any insecticides are sprayed, vacuum the floors, furniture, and any other places your pet has access to. Wash your pets bedding. Light traps can also be used to catch adult fleas. These traps are available at many discount or pet stores. If possible, use a heavy-duty wet-dry vacuum cleaner. In some situations, you may choose to have the carpets professionally cleaned. Vacuuming can also force the fleas to leave their protective cocoons, helps to straighten carpet fibers, allowing insecticides to penetrate easier. After your all done with cleaning, take the vacuum outside remove and get rid of the bag while outdoors because fleas can sometimes crawl out of the vacuum.
#3. Now with all people and pets out of the house and vacuuming completed, an indoor insecticide application can be started. Many products are available. Flea bombs are maybe the easiest method, but not always effective or efficient because they release insecticide all over the room, and not just where the fleas are located. This is why spot treatments with sprays directed to the floor areas are usually more effective, and under furniture near pet areas. It is not necessary to treat entire carpet or all floor areas. If your pet has access to furniture, treat under the cushions, not on top. After treatment, do not touch treated areas until they are completely dry.
#4. Now do yourself a favor and take a breath, it's likely been a long day, good news is there is only one final step. Now what you did inside needs to be repeated, make outdoor spray applications to areas where your pet spends most of their time and where it comes in and out of the house. Of course, be sure to remove your pet’s water and food containers. Now it might be time to consider mowing the grass, and you will want to collect the clippings before spraying. In areas where there you have stacked wood or other debris; you may want to increase the volume of water in a spray without adding extra insecticide. This can help you get the spray into the debris where fleas like to hide. Try to be very careful not to contaminate anything unnecessarily, keep the spray to the area’s your pets frequent the most.
Many insecticides are labeled for use by homeowners. Products can be purchased at the hardware store, grocery and discount stores. Remember to always check the label for special warnings and use the product "ONLY" according to the directions.
It may become necessary to repeat steps after three or four weeks before better control can be achieved. Fleas in cocoons can be very difficult to control with spray insecticides, and several weeks may be required.
Patience is something you are going to need here, if after everything you have done, control attempts have still failed, you may have to call a licensed pest control professional. They are experienced professionals and have access to much better restricted-use insecticides to help combat fleas. And their equipment is much better than we as homeowners can likely get our hands on.
To sum it up, going to take some effort, won't be fun but fleas can be conquered with the right tools and patience. Hope this was helpful in giving you some ideas on how to tackle your flea problem. Hope you visit our blog again for more helpful content.
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