Flea season is in full swing. Is your pet itchy and scratchy? Here are some great tips for keeping the flea population under control.
Fleas are a pesky external parasite that causes irritating bites and skin conditions on our pets. They can also harbor other parasites such as tapeworms. Fleas are one of the most common causes for an itchy pet. Many owners claim they don’t have fleas but most of the time fleas are the underlying problem. Fleas are incredibly difficult to see and can be removed by your pet grooming and itching itself, making detection harder. Even indoor only pets are at risk for flea infestations as they can hitch rides on clothing and enter your home.
Once a flea infestation begins, it can be very difficult to get it under control
Understanding the flea life cycle is key in removal and control. Fleas aren’t just outside. A home is the perfect environment for fleas to live all year long.
One flea can lay 50 eggs a day and up to 2000 in her lifetime. A flea produces eggs which fall off to develop into larva in your bed, carpet, or other areas your pet tends to rest.
Once larva develop into the pupae stage, they can remain dormant here for up to 6 months prior to hatching. Nothing can kill the flea when it is in this stage. That is why getting an infestation under control can take so long.
With good flea control implemented it, it still takes a approximately 4 weeks to see a good decrease in the flea population and up to 6 months to rid of the infestation.
The first place to start when fighting fleas is a product to kill the adult fleas on the pet. This will provide your pet relief and help stop the source of new eggs. Many products are available that work very well and have long lasting effects. Some products can last up to three months after one application. There are many products you can choose that come in topical and oral formulations.
It is very important to treat all pets in the household. Flea shampoos, collars, and dips do not provide any benefit when compared to modern oral and spot on medications. Many over the counter products do not work as effectively as they use to thanks to the fleas building up resistance.
The next part is controlling the eggs and larval stages of the flea. This is done with good environmental cleaning and products containing and insect growth regulator. Vacuum daily and wash your pet’s bedding weekly. Use an insecticide with an insect growth regulator like KNOCKOUT in your home. Target places that are dark and where your pet likes to rest.
Using a product that contains an IGR like Sentinel will further decrease the flea population. This product causes the shell of the flea egg to essentially melt. It is also passed in the fleas’ fecal matter that larva in your carpet digest, causing them to “melt” as well.
The outdoor environment must be managed. Keep the yard mowed and limbs and weeds under control. Developing fleas love shady, moist areas and will die when exposed to prolonged light and heat. If you need to use sprays or other outdoor products, consult with an exterminator to choose the best and safest product for your yard and family.