Fleas-Public Enemy Number 1!
Fleas! Public Enemy #1
Summertime through fall...sunny days and hot weather lead to the inevitable arrival of FLEAS!
Fleas are one of the things that make summer days miserable for your pets, and if they get into your house, they can make you uncomfortable too! Scratching is only part of the issue. Some pets are actually allergic to flea bites and with a single flea will develop skin issues such as infections and hair loss.
Fleas live to eat, and their favorite restaurant is your happy, healthy pet. However, in a pinch, fleas are quite happy to use human family members for a quick bite. Like vampires fleas live exclusively on a diet of blood and sometimes the only sign that you see of their existence in your environment is little 'squiggles' of black material which is called flea dirt that you may find on your own or your pet's bedding. Flea dirt is what is excreted after the fleas have made a meal of your pet. It is basically dried blood that the fleas leave behind after dining. If you dribble a little water on this dark 'sqiggles' you will find that they will stain the area around them a blood red.
Fleas use your pet as a meal and a travel agent, traveling on your pet until they find a cozy place to call their own, which is normally a nice quiet sofa, bed, closet, thick plushy rug..... you get the picture. Once nicely settled a single flea can lead to thousands.
Getting fleas is easy, ANYONE can get fleas! Getting rid of them is the hard part!
Fleas have a four stage lifespan, first comes the egg! Fleas lay thousands of eggs! These eggs lay dormant in your carpets, furniture, and other cozy, warm places until they get the urge to hatch. Flea eggs are impossible to kill (unless you are using a good flea control product that causes fleas to leave eggs that are not viable). They will stay in your carpet for months at a time waiting for the most 'inconvenient' time of the year which, if you've ever dealt with fleas, is any time.
Once flea eggs hatch, they go through a larval stage where they feed on the 'squiggles' (flea dirt) left behind by their full grown relatives.
The next stage is called the pupae, and this is where the larvae develops a very hard shell and cannot be destroyed.
The last stage is when the pupae hatches and releases the full grown flea who is very hungry and ready to hop all over to find a convenient blood meal whether it be your pet or yourself. Once they eat, they excrete flea dirt, and it all starts all over again.
Now, how do you kill them?!!!
The first step is to treat your pet with a good flea and tick treatment like Vectra, Frontline, Advantix, or Advantage for cats and you want to apply the product monthly from spring until deep winter.
The second step is to treat your surroundings. Your best friend in this endeavor is your vacuum cleaner. However you must vacuum daily and dispose of the bag or the canister's contents outside each time that you vacuum. Vacuuming triggers the flea eggs to hatch and allows you to collect living fleas, larva and pupae, so you want to make sure that you don't let your vacuum cleaner become a hatching ground for the next round of fleas. If your problem is intense enough you may need to use a premise spray to actually kill the bugs that may be living and breeding in your house.
You may also find that you need to use a yard treatment product to control fleas being imported by other animals in the area, such as stray dogs or cats, raccoons, or foxes. Some cats react badly to Permethrins, so you want to choose a product that does not contain this chemical.
You can win this battle. Just choose the right products and use them properly.