What is a flea's life cycle?
Eggs are laid on the pet and fall to the ground where they hatch into larvae. The larvae stages feed on organic material in the environment. They live deep in the carpet or lawn. The pupae develop when the larvae for, cocoons. They quickly emerge as adult fleas when ideal temperature (above 70 degree F) and humidity (above 70%) exist. The adult flea has a least 30 days to find a host before it will die. After the female's first blood meal, the reproductive cycle begins and within 48 hours she starts laying her eggs. From this point on, the adult flea normally does not leave the pet except by death from insecticide, preening by the pet, or old age.
How do I treat fleas?
Follow label directions and repeat at two-week intervals until the problem is under control. Have all pets treated at the same time and be sure premises are dry before the animals are allowed back. Regular vacuuming is important for removing eggs and larvae. House sprays are excellent, especially for concentrating on problem areas such as the pet's sleeping quarters, along baseboards and under furniture. Bombs and foggers are easy to use and best used in conjunction with sprays. We recommend products that contain the insect growth regulator fenoxycarb which, in effect, kills eggs and larvae. In your yard, sandy and grassy areas should be treated at two-week intervals until the problem is controlled.
What can fleas do to my pet and me?
Warm, humid months provide perfect breeding, feeding & hatching conditions for fleas. When conditions are right, the insect can go through its entire life cycle (from egg to adult) in as few as 10-14 days. The adult's life span on the pet can extend several weeks. THIS APPLIES ONLY TO AN UNTREATED ANIMAL. Even in cool or cold weather months, the fight against the flea may not end. Outside conditions may prevent or limit flea development, but inside the home, temperature conditions still permit growth. The picture is dynamic as all stages are taking place at the same time. As the female lays eggs, others are hatching out and proressing to adulthood. Untreated animals can carry and support a colony of 60-100 female fleas per WEEK. Each female in a colony lays an average of 20 eggs per day and can produce as many as 600 eggs each month. A pet carrying approximately 60 female fleas may yield as many as 36,000 eggs in a month.
Successful flea control involves concurrent treatment of both pet and environment. The program must be long-range, consistent, and persistent. Severe flea infestation does not begin overnight, and eradication requires time and effort. The ideal time to start or intensify the flea control effort is early in the season when you have your dog examined for heartworms. In some areas, year-round treatment is necessary. Some fleas may be seen after treatment. They will die after biting the pet, but new fleas will replace them until fleas are controlled in the environment. Killing fleas on the pet eliminates generations of new fleas, because the female must feed (bite) before she can lay eggs.
Remember, fleas cause more than just irritation to you and your pet. Fleas cause anemia, result in flea-bite dermatitis and are involved in the transmission of tapeworms. So, as you can see, fleas can be a medical problem as well as a nuisance. We can never repeat too often that the key to successful flea control is to treat the pet and the pet's surroundings thoroughly and regularly.
How can I prevent flea problems?
Additional steps to help control more difficult problems:
- Bathe and/or dip the pet to cleanse the skin and kill fleas.
- Use a pesticide on pet (or internally) to kill fleas that get on the pet. Fleas die after they bite the treated pet.
- Use your vacuum sweeper daily throughout the home to remove flea eggs and other pre-adult stages. Dispose of the vacuum bag.
- Use foggers every two weeks to kill fleas that hatch out or that have been brought in from the outside & have not yet found your pet. Limit or eliminate your pet's contact with these areas for several hours.
- Use a premise spray. Limit or eliminate your pet's contact with these areas for several hours. This treatment can be used both inside and outside the home. When retreating the environment, the magnitude of the problem and the climatic conditions must be considered.
Good flea control requires planning ahead because of the large number of unseen immature fleas in the environment waiting to develop to adults and attack your pet.DO NOT USE COMBINATIONS OF INSECTICIDES WITHOUT YOUR VETERINARIAN'S ADVICE. IMPROPER MIXTURES CAN BE MANY TIMES MORE TOXIC THAN ANY ONE USED ALONE.
Again, the secret to flea control is to treat the pet and the inside and outside surroundings thoroughly and regularly. Ask your veterinarian about the new once a month flea products such as Program, Advantage, Frontline.