Flea control can be challenging because of all the different places that must be treated. The goal of flea control is to eliminate existing adult fleas on pets; then take actions to eliminate larval fleas that develop off the animal. |
Adult fleas prefer to live on the animal and their diet consists of blood meals courtesy of the host
The first action is to treat the animal to kill adult fleas. The newest animal treatments are often prescribed by veterinarians, but some effective older products can now be obtained at pet supply stores. Some products may be purchased on-line. Even if purchased on-line or at a pet supply store, we encourage pet owners to visit with their veterinarian when using animal care products.
What about traditional flea treatments? Flea shampoos and powders cost less than the animal preventative treatments listed above, but they may not be as effective. Shampoos and powders will need to be repeated regularly.
The second part of managing fleas is to control the larval stage in the pet's environment by disrupting the flea life cycle and preventing the recurrence of adult fleas.
This step begins by laundering and steam cleaning/vacuuming:
* Wash pet bedding in hot water to kill flea larvae. If animals sleep with family members, all bedding must be washed. * Steam clean or vacuum carpets thoroughly everywhere the infested pet is allowed to roam.
After laundering and vacuuming, it will be necessary to treat with an insect growth regulator (IGR) where pets spend time. Focus on locations where pets:
* go in and out of the house * sleep and rest * jump off beds, sofas and chairs * spend time with family members
When pets spend time outdoors, it may be necessary to treat outdoor areas, especially shady locations. Effective products which effectively control flea larvae with little to no negative impact on human or pet health include insect growth regulators (IGRs).
Products for eliminating adult fleas outdoors are somewhat limited because many field populations of cat fleas are resistant to pyrethroids such as permethrin. Apply sprays directly in locations where pets rest and sleep such as doghouse and kennel areas, beneath decks, and next to the foundation. It is seldom necessary to treat the entire yard or lawn areas. Flea larvae are unlikely to survive in areas with exposure to sunlight or substantial foot traffic.
An adult cat flea generally lives about 30 to 40 days on the host. When normal grooming activity is restricted, 85% of adult females survived for 50 days. You can find fleas on pets throughout the year, but numbers tend to increase dramatically during spring and early summer when conditions favor larval development.
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