Are you scratching yet? It’s amazing how the mind will create an itchy sensation just from reading about fleas. In 10 minutes, you may have forgotten your psychosomatic itching, but if you have real fleas in your home, you’ll be itching for a long time until you do what is necessary to get rid of them. Most times property owners will see a flea infestation when a pet brings them inside. They frantically attempt to treat their pets and homes, hoping that what they do works. Unfortunately most times a homeowner tries to remedy a substantial flea problem in their home, it is only a temporary fix, and the problem gets worse later.
Fleas are small, dark, wingless insects that feed on blood from animals and humans. This pest is a tough insect to deal with for a number of reasons. The female flea will lay approximately 40-50 eggs per day, and they quickly roll to the ground in areas where hosts sleeps or rests. These eggs can hatch in as little as 2 days and the hatching larvae will transform into adult fleas within 2-3 weeks. The goal after adulthood is to find blood for feeding and to reproduce. Completely developed adult fleas can live for several months without a meal. This means just a few fleas can turn into an enormous problem in just a few months. Adult fleas are amazing jumpers. When they detect a host they can jump 200 times their body length. If a human could do this, it would be the equivalent of them jumping 3 football fields!
Flea control requires a comprehensive approach incorporating Integrated Pest Management (IPM):
- Treat the host: Veterinarians can give you recommendations on the latest treatment methods. This can at times require a liquid bath in a flea control material for your pet. It is also highly recommended to perform regular flea treatments on your pet with materials that will proactively control fleas, such as Frontline.
- Address common habitats: Examine areas where pets commonly sleep and/or rest. Wash these bedding areas regularly, especially after signs of flea activity. Vacuum these areas thoroughly and dispose of the debris far away from the home. Some homeowners even put a flea collar into the vacuum bag or canister, clean the area, and then sit the vacuum outside in the hot sun for a couple hours to kill off any fleas in the vacuum to prevent re-infestation.
- Use a professional pest control service (or flea exterminator in old terminology): There are four life stages of a flea; Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. Insecticides are only effective on two out of the four stages (larvae and adult), which is why treating fleas with insecticide alone won’t provide adequate flea control. The pro knows the way to get rid of your flea problems.
Professionals not only lightly mist flea activity areas with a labeled insecticide, but they also treat it with an insect growth regulator (IGR) material. This extremely low toxicity material will inhibit the natural maturation process of the flea, not allowing them to develop into the feeding adult. This is why a professional flea treatment works so much better than the do-it-yourself remedies. Flea control treatments can be offered as a one-time treatment with a limited warranty or often come as one of the pests covered in a proactive quarterly pest control program to prevent fleas and other pests.
If you are having problems with fleas or would like to prevent future issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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