FACTS ABOUT FLEAS
- If you see 5 fleas on your pet there are 95 immature fleas (eggs, larvae and pupae) in the house and yard.
- Adult fleas live 10 to 60 days: 1 female flea can lay 150,000 eggs in her lifetime.
- Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common animal skin condition in the world.
- There is a difference between fleas on a pet and flea allergy. Flea allergy is an allergic reaction to flea saliva. 1 flea can set off intense itching. If a pet is not allergic it may have many fleas but only mild scratching. Flea allergy dermatitis is characterized by intense itching, redness and hair loss along the back, thighs, tail, head and under the tummy. Scratching, biting and licking may remove the fleas making it harder to diagnose their presence.
- Fleas suck blood. 72 fleas can consume 1 ml of blood in a day. Kittens and pups can die of flea anemia.
- Fleas are intermediate hosts for tapeworms and are carriers of several infectious diseases.
- YOU CANNOT GET RID OF FLEAS UNLESS YOU TREAT ALL PETS IN THE HOUSEHOLD AND ALL ASPECTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT.
- Neighbor’s pets and wildlife can bring flea eggs into your yard. If your neighbor’s pets have fleas they can end up at your house, too.
- Dog parks or any other place where pets come together are a potential hot spot for fleas. You can also have fleas in your vehicle if your pet rides with you.
- Immature fleas thrive in cool shady places (under decks, shaded landscaping, crawl spaces, tall vegetation uncut fields, woodlands). They die in areas mostly exposed to full sun.
- Immature fleas survive a long time in pet bedding, people bedding, carpet, baseboard areas, upholstered furniture, cushions and under furniture.
OUTSIDE FLEA CONTROL
- Bar access by the pet to potential outside trouble spots. Allow exercise only in short-cut exposed fields/lawns.
- Clean up organic debris in outside “hot spots”.
- Treat outside problem areas (see #3 above) with a pesticide registered for outside use. Microencapsulated formulas have a longer residual. Powders and granular forms last longer than liquids. FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS!
INSIDE FLEA CONTROL
- Nontraditional pesticides: the only compound that works is sodium borate (borax). It kills eggs and larvae by drying them out. Owner-applied and professionally- applied products (Rx for Fleas, Inc) are available. They must be thoroughly worked into all the environmental flea sources in the house.
- Traditional pesticides are available as sprays and foggers. They contain an adult insecticide such as pyrethrin or permethrin plus an insect growth regulator such as methoprene or fenoxycarb. They are labeled as effective against both adult and pre-adult fleas. Area sprays are more effective than foggers because they can be applied under furniture and onto hallways.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO TREAT FLEAS YOURSELF
- Thoroughly vacuum with a powerful machine everywhere in the house, paying special attention to furniture, cushions, pet bedding, baseboards, carpets and places where pets rest. Throw away the vacuum bag.
- Steam clean carpets. Be sure to treat with a pesticide after.
- Wash all bedding and dry in the hot sun or in a dryer on the hottest setting.
- Use a pesticide labeled for indoor use and for both adult and pre-adult fleas. Area sprays work better than foggers. FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS!
- Re-treat in 14 days, then every 30 to 90 days.
REMEMBER!—IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE, LONG-TERM OR RECURRING FLEA PROBLEM IT MAY COST LESS IN THE LONG RUN TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL EXTERMINATOR. MOST FAILURES OF FLEA CONTROL ARE DUE TO POOR APPLICATION PROCEDURES AND NOT PRODUCT FAILURE.
A GUIDE TO FLEA PRODUCTS USED ON PETS
Monthly products are available from your veterinarian. They have a high level of safety, effectiveness and quite low potential for toxicity. Most will stand up to weekly bathing;
1. Frontline Plus kills fleas, ticks and keeps new flea eggs from hatching in the environment.
2. Advantage kills fleas
3. Advantage Multi prevents fleas, heartworms and some intestinal parasites
4. Seresto collar prevents fleas and ticks for 8 months
5. Promeris kills fleas: for cats only. New product. Time will tell!
Products used weekly or so are generally available over the counter. They have a fair safety profile, fair effectiveness and some increased potential for toxicity. It is extremely important to follow label directions on these products They usually include pyrethrins, permethrins,or carbaryl plus a potentiator such as piperonyl butoxide.
Most 0TC sprays, powders, shampoos, collars and spot-on type products contain these products. They last 1- 2 weeks.