Tips on how to protect your pets from fleas.
Facts to Help Protect Your Pet
Fleas and ticks usually do the most damage in spring, so you should prepare yourself by learning some of the most common flea facts that could help save your pets from a possible infestation. Acquiring this knowledge would help you choose the right treatment for the different stages of the flea’s life cycle which are as follows:
Adult fleas get onto your pet.
Female lays eggs, she can lay up to 50 per day.
As your pets move around eggs are dropping off.
When the eggs hatch into larvae, the larvae hide from light by going under furniture and down into the carpet or between floorboards etc.
Larvae turn into pupae; the adults develop inside the pupa casing.
The adult flea inside the pupa casing will emerge from the casing when it detects CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) given off by your pet, Body heat or any vibration made by the movement.
Once the adult flea has hatched out of the pupa casing it will attach itself onto your pet and the whole cycle starts again
In warm conditions, the life cycle usually happens over a 2-week period. If such factors like environment, humidity, temperature, and availability of food are not good, then the life cycle can take longer to complete.
As stated above, the life cycle develops best during the warmer summer months, so during hot weather, you should be extra vigilant.
Fleas feed off the blood of birds and mammals that they infest. Some dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva, which is passed into their bloodstream when the flea is ingesting their blood, causing an allergic reaction that later on causes a rash or loss of fur.
The most obvious sign that your pet has fleas is when they are frequently scratching or biting at themselves, because, as I have previously said, when a flea bites, it leaves its saliva (and allergens) under the skin of the host (your cat or dog) and the area becomes swollen and severely itchy, this is a condition known as Flea Bite Dermatitis. Also, if you are suffering from bites around your ankles this is another indication of flea infestation. To confirm whether or not your pet does in fact have fleas, try to locate fleas on their skin by using a fine-toothed pet comb specially designed for flea removal, and drop any fleas into soapy water to drown them, although they are small if you look closely you should be able to see any if they are present.
Fleas not only cause itching or allergies to your pets, but fleas may also be carriers of other things such as tapeworm. Tapeworm is transmitted to an animal by fleas as the flea can carry tapeworm eggs onto the animal’s fur. So, when your pet starts itching and they bite at their fur to relieve the itch, they can ingest the tapeworm eggs in their fur and become infected with tapeworm.
Fleas spread very easily and any sign of fleas must not be taken lightly. As soon as a flea infestation has started, you have to take immediate action to treat it. Making sure you choose the correct flea treatment appropriate for the stage in the flea life cycle.
Fleas can be found on various parts of the body of your pet such as the lower back, base of tail, abdomen, flanks, and neck. In the most severe cases flea infestation will have managed to spread to all parts the animal’s body, you cannot let this happen! So, when your pet first shows signs of itching or scratching, better take them to the vet right away for proper examination.
If you have multiple pets at home and one gets infected with fleas, you have to assume that the others have fleas as well, that’s when you start looking for ways to treat and stop any further infestation.
There are many home remedies, including spraying with insecticide. The insecticide is able to penetrate your pet’s coat where fleas hide and are difficult to be seen. Once in contact with the insecticidal flea treatment, the fleas will die, this may take several minutes. This flea treatment is not instantaneous.
Treating adult fleas can be done fairly easily, however, the developing fleas are harder to control. Therefore, you have to continue treating your entire house to completely eradicate any existing flea larvae, pupae or eggs within your house, thus preventing those developing ones from continuing to reproduce.
Only applying the treatment to your pet alone only works when you were able to detect flea infestation while still at its early stage. When it has been more widely spread, it is best to have your entire house undergo complete flea control procedures.
Methods for Controlling Flea Pupae
This is the hardest part of the flea life cycle to control and is the reason why you need to understand that the dormant (pupae) stage of the flea life cycle is so important from a pest management point of view. People assume that as soon as a home or lawn has been given flea treatment, they will not see any more fleas. Insecticidal flea treatment sprays only kill adult fleas that are in contact with the spray and insect growth regulators only affect flea eggs and flea larvae, by preventing them from becoming adult fleas. Flea Stoppers kills flea eggs and flea larvae. None of the aforementioned will kill fleas that are in their protected pupal casing. The pupal case or cocoon is watertight and therefore not affected by Insecticidal flea treatment sprays.
Always read directions carefully. Following package directions is essential when using over the counter products and medications.
“This is the hardest part of the flea life cycle to deal with”.
So, what does this mean?
This means that the treatment of flea pupae has to involve removing them mechanically (cleaning, vacuuming) and encouraging them to hatch.
This means that your vacuum cleaner is your best friend and your most important tool in the control of the pupae stage of the flea life cycle in and around your home. During the flea’s development there are only three possible stages that occur on the inside of the pupae: –
1) a larva that has been deformed by the application of an insect growth regulator (IGR) that will not live.
2) a maturing flea
3) a fully developed adult flea.
After your home has been treated with a product that destroys the eggs and larvae, the next stage is for you to get rid of as many pupae as possible. Using your vacuum cleaner on carpets, rugs, floors and furniture accomplishes two important jobs: –
It picks up pupae that can then be disposed of in a sealed vacuum bag in a garbage receptacle outdoors. Taking great care that the vacuum bag is securely sealed to prevent any adult fleas escaping.
The vibration caused by the vacuum cleaner will entice adult fleas to hatch from the pupae and in doing so will come into contact with the areas treated with Insecticidal flea treatment spray.
Pupae are trapped because unlike adult fleas and flea larvae, the pupae are not able to move to avoid being picked up by a vacuum cleaner. With potentially thousands of pupae lying around in your home, each one of them that you can remove mechanically represents an adult flea that you don’t have to put up with or kill.
(The removal of pupae obviously reduces the numbers of hatching adult fleas.)
To summarize the control methods for flea pupae:
Remember that the mechanical removal of flea pupae is a great form of pest control.
Vacuuming carpets thoroughly and rugs and furniture on a regular basis.
Dispose of the vacuum bags containing fleas into a sealed container, outdoors.
The vibrations of your vacuum cleaner will encourage any remaining fleas to hatch out of their casing and once they have hatched, the adult fleas will be exposed to your insecticidal flea treatment. Therefore, you should continue treating your whole house with insecticidal flea treatment to get rid of any existing fleas completely from your house, as well as preventing those developing ones from continuing to re