1. How do flea infestations happen?
Flea infestations usually begin by bringing a single flea into your home. Fleas can come inside on pets or on you. Infestations do not happen overnight. Usually they begin quietly and 6-8 weeks pass before you may ever notice a flea.
2. HELP! I’m having a flea problem! What do I do?
We hear a frustrated sigh every time we tell clients fleas are not easy to get rid of. It’s best to take care of the problem at the first sign of a single flea; prevention is ideal. Fleas can multiply at an extremely rapid rate once they find a home; laying eggs everywhere, even in carpet.
The life cycle of the flea lasts for 6 months, but that’s not the worst of it. When fleas are in the pupae stage they can remain in that stage as long as they wish and they are VERY hardy! This is why reoccurring flea infestations happen. Fall is a popular time for infestations to occur since that’s when fleas head inside looking for some place warm before it gets too cold out.
Immediately put every pet in the home on a veterinarian recommended monthly flea preventative. Remember all flea products are NOT created equal! Be cautious of certain over-the-counter products! Talk to your veterinarian about what product is safest for YOUR pet. Continuously sweep all carpet on a daily bases, and it wouldn’t hurt to run a sweeper attachment over upholstery. Regularly wash the pet’s bedding and if pets are allowed on the bed, wash that bedding as well. Treating all animals for at least 6 months is recommended to get rid of a current flea infestation, but year-round prevention is crucial to avoid a recurrence!
Another product, Siphotrol Plus II Premise Spray, will aid in the fight against fleas. This product treats 2,000 square feet and will begin killing adult fleas in as little as 10 minutes. It’s typically used in the home – in the areas pets frequently visit.
Fighting fleas is a tiring, tedious battle. It’s nothing which can be cured overnight, but with the right tools and knowledge it is manageable. However, if faced with a flea infestation which only seems to grow worse despite several, strong attempts to rid a home from them, help from a professional pest control may be needed.
3. What is the life cycle of a flea?
There are 4 stages in a fleas life cycle: The eggs, which are unlikely to be seen without a magnifying glass, are laid by the adult flea after taking a blood meal. The eggs are initially laid on the animals skin but fall off into the surrounding environment to continue their life cycle. Eggs make up approximately 50% of the flea population and may hatch in as little as 14 to 28 days.
The larvae feed on debris found in their environment and on adult flea feces. They do not like bright light so they move deep into carpet fibers, under furniture, etc. since they prefer warm, dark and moist areas.
The pupae enclosed in a protective silk-like and sticky cocoon. The cocoon quickly becomes coated with dirt and grime thus acting as camouflage. With warmth and humidity, pupae have the ability to become adult fleas in 5-10 days. If the pupae are not stimulated by warmth or an environment which is ideal they can survive within the cocoon for a lengthy period of time. During this protective time they are resistant to insecticides in the environment. This is an important fact to remember since adult fleas may emerge seemingly out of nowhere a long time after your home is treated.
The adult, unlike the larvae, is attracted to light and head to the surface to find a host to feed on. Beginning 2 days after the first blood meal, females begin producing eggs. The normal lifespan of an adult female will live up to 3 weeks laying somewhere around 40 eggs per day.
4. Besides irritating my pets, are fleas harmful?
Besides being annoying and receiving a free, easy bloodmeal, fleas can cause anemia in heavy infestations, spread many diseases to animals and humans alike, cause an allergic reaction to their bites and they are a common carrier of tapeworms which can be transmitted to your pets if they happen to ingest a flea while “biting” at an itch.