Now, I just found a really great article that give the information about Fleas Pictures from a special angle. Make sure you read this information and let me know what you think. Why Worry?
Since Fleas are a parasite if you think they are a problem or may be a problem, then you should take precautions and worry.
Fleas unfortunately are capable of transporting tapeworms, diseases such as Bubonic Plague and Typhus and more commonly cat scratch fever. If you have pets you need to keep Fleas at bay before they ever start. Another reason to be cautious if the diseases aren’t enough is that many people as well as pets can be extremely allergic to their bites.
Where are they?
Unfortunately than can be just about anywhere inside and outside of the house. How they got there in the first place really has nothing to do with how well you have kept you home clean. This is a misperception that many people have when dealing with these insects.
Fleas are not very conspicuous little creatures. That’s not because they’re small and tough to see. It’s because they absolutely hate high temperatures. You won’t find them on your sidewalk or open areas like that. They’re not capable of surviving in warm, dry areas. You need to look in areas where it may be moist or humid. Fleas do not have the ability to retain moisture when they breathe it into their lungs. In order to get this moisture they must have humidity to survive.
So if you’re searching look in areas under the deck. If you live in a suburban area they would be at the edge of the woods. Especially take notice where your pets may lay down all the time or where they play.
I found some Fleas now what?
Don’t get discouraged. With a little persistence you can start a program to eradicate the pests from yours and your pet’s life. In order to do this, the most effective way to proceed is by studying and understanding the life of the tiny little flea.
The unique lifecycle of a Flea and their makeup can also be their downfall. Survival of a flea is totally dependent on 3 things. First, they need to eat as does every other living thing on this earth. A flea can live up to 8 months. In order to do so they must have at least one good blood meal during that time. If they don’t, their lifespan will be cut short to 1 or 2 months.
The second thing that must happen in order for them to survive is that they need moisture. Fleas need to be hydrated constantly or they will die. This fact is particularly important in our fight to get rid of the pests.
The third and final fact is that adults Fleas take a mere two weeks to form in their cocoon. This cocoon, or pupae when found cannot be killed by a spray. Not until the adults are emerging will a secondary spray or residual medicine kill the Fleas. They can last up to 8 months without coming out of this cocoon and that’s why having a good program of Flea and tick Control is so important.
Since they are hard to find let alone see them a bit of detective work will be necessary. We can search in the house and find them but outside, diligence will be our best attack.
Where do I start?
If you truly understand what I have said so far you need to start everywhere at the same time. Yes I said everywhere. Because of their lifecycle there may be several stages of the cycle happening at all different times in and out of the house.
Start by picking out all the places you believe the Fleas to be inhabitation the house, inside and out. Search these areas for signs of Fleas and small brown tiny specs of what looks like dirt. I realize that this would be next to impossible outside so let’s worry about inside first.
This brown dirt is actually the flea feces mixed with undigested blood. If you took some and rub it in between your fingers with a little water it would turn red from this un-dried blood. Ok so now you know where some are in the house. Don’t go crazy looking for everyplace they “might” be. Once confirmed we move to the next step.
The next step is checking the animal. Your poor dog or cat may be infested. You need to check under there coat. Separate their fur look and it should be easy to see if they have them. Check their bellies. This is the easiest and most common place to find them. Skin irritation or bald patches where they are scratching or biting is also a sure sign of Fleas.
Ok now what. First off, relax. This isn’t going to disappear in a day. You need to decide on a plan of attack from chemicals, to cleaning the areas or using natural agents to do the job. Remember our biggest problem is the different life cycles of the Fleas that will be present all over.
You can have eggs in one location. In another the larvae may be around. Then in another area the pupae may be developing or more importantly be waiting for the right conditions for the adults to form. And finally, the adult Fleas that are responsible in the first place.
You also need to realize what I am about to tell you. Only 5% of the flea population is an adult. 95% of what you are fighting is in one of the other 3 stages of their life cycle. So doing one thing to rid these pests just won’t cut it.
So, why is this information important to me? Because adult fleas are killed differently than eggs, eggs differently than pupae… you get the picture.
Lets make a list for inside the house.
- Clean all the areas possible where you know the Fleas are getting the pets.
- Wash their blankets and bedding in hot soapy water
- Clean out their kennels
- Vacuum the rugs but after you do, get rid of the waste into a plastic bag immediately. You can also pour the waste into extremely hot soapy water outside to kill what you vacuumed up. Hot soapy water will kill the eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.
- Vacuuming however has shown that this will only remove about 60% of the pests. Continuing on a daily basis for several weeks is a good plan while following step c. over and over again.
- Start a daily regimen of using a flea comb on your pet. Keep a bucket of soapy water nearby to dip the comb in after each stroke thru the fur. Have a sheet under the pet to both capture and see how bad the situation really is. Be sure to fold it up correctly while carrying to the washer to be cleaned. You don’t want them falling out all over the house.
- Groom you dog or cat regularly with flea treatments either wet or dry. That will depend on how your animal takes to baths.
- Use a topical treatment on your pet. The type you put behind the neck works best. This is another good step in preventing a repeat of the infestation.
- Having your animal wear a flea collar can help but generally only protects the area around the neck.
- You need to treat the areas. Read the directions fully and be religious about how often to repeat and how and where to use. Sprays are the best and most controllable. Use one with IGR’s or Insect Growth inhibitors. This is one of the best ways to stop Fleas from developing into the adult stage. Flea pupae can lay dormant for a long period of time nad this is the best defense against that fact.
- Foggers seem to have a lot of issues. Chemicals all over, getting out of the house to use them and others. I would say if you had to go to that step of using a fogger call a professional. They know better what to do.
- A good Flea and Tick Control Program makes all the difference in the world.
Now For The Outside
- Find your areas you want to treat.
- Cut your lawn short and clean up all the areas of brush, leaves and moisture spots.
- Desiccants are one of a flea’s worst nightmares. A desiccant absorbs moisture. If the flea gets it on their body they will die. But remember this will only kill an adult.
- There are many yard sprays use can use to spray all lawns using a hose. Do so and again it won’t be a one shot deal. Read and fully understand how often you can repeat the process.
- I actually prefer my lawn service to do the last step. If you have a big yard at all it will be tough to do yourself. They provide a flea and tick treatment service several times during the season. Again the professionals may be the right way to go.
- Remember, in order to may this work it must be a repetitive process. A life cycle can last in one form or another for 200+ days. This is the only way to ensure you kill them no matter what stage of the life cycle they are in. Persistence pays off and your pests will love you for it. Don’t give up hope.