When we think about flea control, we have to be certain we don’t forget about treating the premises. Remember that the fleas you see on your pet are just the tip of the iceberg. What you DON’T see in your pet’s environment is a much bigger problem. Keep in mind only 5% of a flea infestation consists of adult fleas that we can see. The remaining 95% is made up of immature fleas (eggs, larvae, pupae) hidden in our surroundings. This is what makes flea control around the home and yard so essential.
If your pet has fleas, you can be certain that you have fleas in your home as well. Fleas and flea eggs go wherever your pet goes. Since one flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a day, in just over a month she can release over 2,000 eggs. As the flea larvae hatch (in one to ten days) they feed on organic debris, avoid sunlight, and live in moist, dark areas (see below). The larvae turn into pupae and usually emerge as adult fleas in one to two weeks.
Favorite Hiding Spots:
- deep in carpet
- under furniture
- in bedding (yours and your pets)
- under baseboards
- in shady areas in your yard
Step 1 – Flea Control Around the Home:
In your home, the first step in ending an infestation begins with cleaning. Really SERIOUS cleaning! Start by vacuuming floors, carpets, furniture and area rugs. When finished, immediately discard vacuum bags, outside in the trash, preferably in a bag that you can tie and toss. If you use a canister vacuum, empty the canister (outside) into a bag that you can tie and throw away. Otherwise flea eggs can hatch and come right back into your home. Wash all pet bedding, including covers and inserts in hot water. Wash your family bedding in hot water as well as bathroom rugs and throw blankets. Basically any place your pet likes to sleep or relax.
In the case of a heavy infestation, it may be necessary to fog your home using Advantage Household Foggers, Enforcer Flea Foggers or another fogger designed to rid your home of fleas. Always follow package directions being sure to remove all pets and birds, cover and turn off fish aquariums before fogging. The Advantage Fogger kills fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae and ticks and will continue to kill adult fleas, pre-adult fleas, and flea eggs for up to 7 months. A benefit of using a fogger is that it reaches fleas and other insects hidden in carpets, rugs, drapes, upholstery, pet bedding, floor cracks and open cabinets.
After fogging it’s important to use a spray designed for crevices such as Advantage Household Spot & Crevice Spray or Enforcer Flea Spray for Homes. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Carpet Spray or Advantage Carpet & Upholstery Spot Spray are excellent for carpets, furniture and other hard to clean items.
Step 2 – Flea Control Around the Yard:
It’s as important to treat the outside of our home as it is to treat the inside. Fleas and ticks are living in lawns and backyards, just waiting for a walking “meal.” Many outdoor premise flea sprays come with a garden hose attachment so that you can easily and quickly treat your outdoor living spaces.
Flea Control Around the Home and Yard, Naturally:
If you prefer a more natural method of flea control around the home and yard, Natural Chemistry has a spray that can be used on your pet as well as on carpet, upholstery & fabric. They also have a Yard & Kennel Spray that will attach to your garden hose for treating outside your home. The BioCare Flea Trap and the Victor Ultimate Flea Trap are products that use light and heat to attract adult fleas, with a sticky pad to prevent the fleas from escaping. Both work extremely well for adult flea control, but remember, those adults are only 5% of the population.
One final option worth mentioning in the non-chemical products section is the Knock Out! Nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented worms that live in soil and feed on over 150 pests including flies, fleas, and ants. They are not harmful in any way to pets or humans.
In case you missed it, click here to read “A Quick Guide to Treating Fleas on Your Pet“.
Information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and JeffersPet.com.
Questions about this article, training, or non-emergent health concerns are welcome. Renee can be reached most days from 9am – 5pm Central Time (Mon-Fri) at 1-800-JEFFERS (533-3377) ext 381 or by email rsjones@jefferspet. com.