At some point or another when you own a pet, you encounter a flea problem. Fleas are an unwelcome pests and can be a great pain to get rid of. There are numerous flea products on the market all claiming to kill fleas and some work better than others.
What is important is to break the life cycle of fleas. Many pet owners see their beloved pet scratching and go to the store to buy the animal a flea collar or shampoo. Fleas on your pet is only a small part of the problem.
The Life Cycle of the Flea
There are 4 stages to the life cycle of the flea - egg, larva, pupa and then the adult.
Under normal conditions, the entire life cycle of a flea can be completed in as little as 20 to 35 days. The cycle is influenced by moisture conditions and temperature. Ideal temperature is 85 degrees. Less favorable temperatures inhibit flea development. Although flea reproduction takes place all year round for indoor pets, outdoor reproduction is limited to the warmer months.
On your Pets-
Because your pet is the primary source of flea infestations, attention should be given in this area first. Whenever possible, you should establish one sleeping area for your pet that can be cleaned easily and regularly. You should regularly wash all bedding and rugs. When grooming your pets, always use a flea comb and bathe them regularly. Flea shampoos and soaps are very effective at killing fleas so make sure to follow directions and try to leave them on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing them off.
Flea Collars- collars are good in preventing an infestation from developing, but are really no use to eliminate an existing one. Flea collars work in one of two ways- first by emitting a toxic (only to fleas) gas and then by being absorbed into the animal's skin. Another great use for flea collars is in your vacuum cleaner bag to kill fleas when you vacuum!
Flea Dust- Dust formulations are usually more effective than sprays. When you decide to dust your pet, make sure to wear rubber gloves or use a shaker and gently rub the dust into the hair. Make sure the dust is applied thoroughly around the ears, the tail and between the legs. Be sure when you apply the dust to keep it out of your pets' eyes, nose and mouth.
Spot-on Flea Treatments- These products are formulated to be absorbed into the bloodstream of your pet and kill the adult fleas when the bite your pet. Some products contain an ingredient called an IGR (or Insect Growth Regulator) that disrupts the reproduction of the female fleas and the growth and developemnt of the immature fleas. Spot-on treatments uaully last for about a month.
Fleas Shampoos/dips - Shampoos are a good 'first attack' on fleas if your pet has a large number of visible fleas on its body. It is important to realize that a flea shampoo is not intended for lasting control and must be paired with a dust or collar. Shampoos are only effective for a day or two and leave little residual chemical.
Flea Powders/Sprays - Powders and sprays offer short term protection, usually only 2-3 days. Most flea powders and sprays are only effective on adult fleas and like Spot-on treatments some contain IGR's.
In your home:
Flea control doesn't stop once you've bathed and treated your pets. Did you know, only about 10% of the flea population (manily the adults) is actually even on your pet? The flea eggs, larvae, pupa and a few adults reside in your carpeting, pet beds, and your living areas will make up the other 90%. If you neglect the inside and outside of your home, your flea problem will continue to get worse over time.
Flea Foggers- We offer a great fogger from the Bonide company. They are easy to use and are a cost effective way to kill fleas.
Carpet Powders/Sprays- Products that you can directly apply to your carpet include powders and sprays.
Important to Remember-
Daily Vacuuming- This is a very important step in ridding your house of fleas. You will be picking up any adults, eggs, larvae and pupae before they develop. As mentioned before, by simply placing a flea collar into your vacuum cleaners bag is a huge step in killing fleas. You should also change your bag frequently, otherwise the fleas will simply hatch, develop and leave the bag to re-infest your home.
Wash your bedding- and don't forget your pets' bedding and any favorite rugs they like laying on.
Using Insecticides- foggers work great for killing fleas. Follow the directions on the label for safety precautions.
In your yard:
To prevent fleas from invading your home or your pet, you will need to treat your yard as well. There are different pesticides you can use as well as organic methods that work equally well. Failing to treat a large flea population in your yard can easily undo all of the hard work you've done inside.
Sprays- We strongly recommend using Bifen I/T and adding an I.G. Regulator to the concentrate to break the cycle.
Granules - Its good to use a granule on your yard instead of trying to spray the entire area. Most of our insecticide granules kill all types of insects including fleas.
Orgainc - Diatomaceous Earth is a great organic alternative for flea control. Its safe to use on and around your pets.
Important Tips to Remember-
Fleas do not just disappear after one treatment. You can expect to see another hatching several days after treatment begins. If you have a severe infestation, it could take as long as 6 to 8 weeks to bring it under control.
The I.G.Regulator, Nylar, is perfect for outdoor use and provides about 4 weeks of residual action. Spraying everyday will not 'kill' fleas any quicker, The fleas that hatch out right after your treatment will die. You should always wait at least 14 days between treatments to allow the second round to hatch out.