Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals and people. One of pet owners biggest expense is controlling fleas. Americans spend an estimate of about $9 billion a year controlling fleas. Fortunately, fleas need not be a serious problem because there are many effective treatments.
Fleas are brownish-black, flattened looking, and without wings. They have backward pointing bristles to help them move through hair or feathers of animals. They have six legs. The hind legs are longer and adapted for jumping. Flea larvae are less than 1/4 inch long and are a dirty white color. The most likely place to find larvae is in infested pet bedding.
During their life cycle fleas pass through four stages – egg, larvae, pupa and adult. Although they jump, adult fleas do not travel long distance without a host. They prefer to wait and jump onto a passing animal. They will remain there until dislodged from the animal. Without a host, adult fleas live only a few days to 2 weeks. On short haired cats and dogs a fleas will survive about 8 days; they will live longer on long haired animals.
A good flea control program includes good sanitation and treatment of the pets and environment. You can eliminate fleas from your home with proper treatment, but it may take time, especially if the infestation is heavy.Sanitation – Change pet bedding and vacuum regularly. Vacuum under furniture, cushions, chairs, beds and along walls.Treating Pets – a good bath is the first line of defense. Dips or spot treatments may be needed in some cases.Treating Homes – Pet living areas should be treated at the same time the pet is treated.
Prepare the inside of your home by picking up items off the floor such as clothes or toys.Vacuum rug and any pet bedding. After vacuuming, dispose of the bag.Wash bed coverings.Mopping floors should be done the day before your service. After treatment, you should wait a week before mopping floors.Cut the grass. Your treatment will be more effective with a shorter lawn.You and your pets will need to stay off treated areas for 2 to 3 hours to allow the application to dry.
A second outbreak is not uncommon to notice after about 10 days to 2 weeks after being treated. Flea eggs will hatch causing this outbreak, but after 2 or 3 days they will die off. When your home was treated a growth regulator was also applied to treat for hatching fleas. So don’t panic, this is normal.