Since fleas have hatched early this year, I thought I'd share some advice about the little monsters.
Fleas are blood sucking external parasites that live on and off most animals. Fleas can be seen visibly with the naked eye and are reddish brown in color. They require moisture and warmth to complete their lifecycle.
Adult Fleas receive a blood meal from biting dogs and cats which stimulates egg laying. An adult female can lay several thousand eggs in her lifetime. Fleas primarily live in your pets bedding, on your carpet and in the grass outside your home. When a female lays her eggs they fall off onto bedding, carpet or the grass outside where they hatch into larva. The larvae then eat the feces of the adult flea and in about two weeks, depending the humidity and temperature conditions, they will pupate into adults. Under favorable conditions, their entire life cycle is approximately 3 weeks. In a humid environment fleas can survive up to 7 months without a blood meal.
Fleas carry canine and feline diseases and some of these diseases are zoonotic (can affect humans) Some flea infestations are so serious as to cause anemia, nervous system, heart and liver symptoms in dogs, cats and humans. Fleas also host tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms are commonly seen with flea infestations. When a dog/cat swallows a flea the tapeworm eggs hatch out. Your Veterinarian can dispense a dewormer that will kill tapeworms. Fleas have been linked to spreading the bubonic plague (Black Death) during the dark ages. Fleas are not necessarily host specific; although they will go to the host they prefer if one is available
Steps to Flea Eradication
1 All animals in the household should receive regular insecticide treatments appropriate to seasonal needs. You can add the excess of your pets flea collar into the vacuum cleaner bag. When it comes to insecticided, you get what you pay for. Most products sold by discount stores have been around for a long time and the fleas have built a resistance to them. It is a wise choice to rotate your insecticides on an annual basis.
2 The animals sleeping area should be treated due to flea feces, larvae, eggs and pupae. Straw bedding is an excellent nesting place for fleas.
3. Treat outside areas where pets roam and play with a good quality yard spray either over the counter or by a Pest Control Service.
4 Rooms frequented by the animals may benefit from occasional us of foggers. A good general house cleaning is highly advisable such as vacuuming and mopping weekly. Washing your pet bedding frequently in hot water once a week is also a recommended.
5 Visiting animals should be checked for fleas and if fleas are spotted, treated on arrival.
Flea combs are an inexpensive essential tool for finding fleas and flea dirt. To check for fleas, comb the hair on the back and near the base of the tail of the animal to check for live fleas and flea dirt. If there are brown specs that turn red when water is applied then there are fleas in and around your house. Live fleas will hop around and can jump up to 9 feet.
The appearance of fleas on animals usually indicated that infestation of the entire premises has already occurred and the flea population is escalating.
Check with your veterinarian for what they recommend in our area.