Summer is coming… Sunshine, Picnics, Baseball, Swimming, and FLEAS!

/, Dog/Summer is coming… Sunshine, Picnics, Baseball, Swimming, and FLEAS!
cat licking fleas

Ugh, fleas. They make pets’ lives miserable, and their human parents begin to itch just at the thought of them. Pet consultants are often asked what method of treatment works best to eradicate a flea problem. The true answer is that there is no “magic bullet” that will make your entire problem go away overnight. However, the good news is that with a little understanding of your foe and their characteristics, along with carefully following a few key steps, your success rate in winning this battle goes up exponentially.

Fleas thrive in warm, moist climates (sound familiar?) Their main food source is the host animal (cats, dogs, humans, etc.).  Flea saliva contains an ingredient that softens the host’s skin for easier penetration and feeding. It is this saliva that is the cause of all the itching, scratching and irritation you see and feel.  Fleas have four main stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.  The total flea life cycle can range from a couple of weeks to several months, depending on environmental conditions. A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day and up to 600 eggs over her lifetime. The eggs are not sticky, and usually fall off the animal into the carpet, bedding or soil.  Depending on the amount of food present and the environmental conditions, the larval stage will last approximately 5 to 18 days. It then spins a silken cocoon and pupates, which is the last stage prior to becoming an adult.  The adult can emerge from the cocoon as early as 3 to 5 days, or it can wait for up to a year before the optimal conditions exist.  Due to these extreme variations, it is important to be vigilant and complete the process, when a flea problem is thought to be under control. 

Of course, the best situation is to keep them away, and not allow an infestation to begin in the first place; this, however, is often easier said than done here in Florida, where it seems they are everywhere.  Naturally, once you have a problem, it can be extremely aggravating to say the least. 

Pets Plus stocks a wide supply of flea and tick products to help eliminate an existing population, or prevent one from taking hold.  You really need to think of it as a tripod approach. It will rarely work with only one or two legs. The three pronged approach consists of treating the animal, the environment, and the yard. It is best to do all in the same day, as to not have too much time between treatments. There are a variety of IGR products (insect growth regulators) to be able to take care of the egg, larva, and adult flea. Sadly, during the pupa stage, the “shell” is too hard to permeate. So, this requires a second house and yard treatment 10-14 days after your first. That will ensure that you catch the fleas right after they hatch, before they become reproducing adults!

As always, our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to educate you on their usage and assist you through this process, so that you can spend more time enjoying the things you love to do.

Nicole Apostle is the marketing director at Pets Plus.