The three steps to effective flea management are
1) Treatment of infested pets.
Since most flea
problems originate from an infested cat or dog, elimination of
fleas from the pets is the first and most important step.
Insecticides approved for direct application to pets as spot
treatments, dips, dusts, sprays, or shampoos are available at
most pet stores but veterinarians will almost always provide a
product that will include a growth regulator.
2) Vacuuming and cleaning of infested premises.
Once the pet has
been treated, efforts should then focus on the indoor premises.
Particular attention should be paid to areas of the home where
the pet sleeps or spends the majority of its time. Blankets or
rugs that may be used as pet bedding should be discarded or
laundered in hot, soapy water. All carpeted areas and
upholstered furniture should be thoroughly vacuumed and the
sweeper bag contents discarded. If the flea infestation is
light, frequent and thorough vacuuming may reduce the
3) Spraying or dusting infested premises.
Moderate to heavy
infestations will usually necessitate the application of a
residual insecticide to carpets, baseboards, cracks and
crevices, and other areas where fleas may be present. Good
results can be achieved using products that contain a contact
insecticide along with an insect growth regulator applied
according to directions in all rooms in the home.. Spray
treatment should be performed by a professional pest control
operator. Because they guarantee their work it will likely cost
less than attempting to do it yourself and having to repeat the
process. A well trained professional will use the least amount
of pesticide to give effective control. Flea traps using light bulbs and sticky paper do
capture some fleas but they are not an effective solution to
eliminate an infestation.
Interesting Facts about Fleas
Fleas are a universal pest, affecting all warm-blooded
vertebrates from bats and birds to the family cat and rabbit. They can
be hard to control and even harder to kill, but knowing some interesting
facts about their life-cycle can make eradicating a flea infestation a
little bit easier!
There are at least 2000 known flea species around
the world. By far the most common species affecting domestic
animals, both cats and dogs, is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides
fleas are very small, measuring only about 1/16" to 1/8" (1.5 to
3.3 mm), but living on mountain beavers in the United States is a
monster flea. Hystrichopsylla schefferi has been recorded
to reach lengths of 1/2" (12 mm)!
Fleas are commonly the cause of superficial skin
irritations and dermatitis. They cause a condition called flea
allergy dermatitis (FAD) which can lead to red, inflamed, very itchy
patches. They can also be vectors for more serious diseases and
parasites, including the bacteria that cause typhus and bubonic
plague, as well as tapeworms.
Larvae hatch out in the environment, carpets and
baseboards of family homes. Although they are completely blind, they
are considered to be negatively phototaxic, meaning that
they can sense light, and that they avoid it. They crawl down into
cracks and crevices and search for food. Flea larvae feed primarily
on dried blood in adult flea feces, as well as shed skin, fur and
Once the flea has reached the pupa stage it can
remain dormant for several months until the conditions are right for
the adult flea to emerge. Pressure, vibrations, presence of carbon
dioxide, correct temperature and humidity are all indicators that a
suitable host may be nearby and the adult flea can emerge.
The multiple stages of a flea�s life cycle can make
them very difficult to kill. Short-term treatment, or only treating
the adult fleas on the host animal will not successfully eradicate
the flea population. Adults only make up a very small part of the
population, and the majority of the population is living as eggs and
larvae. Any flea treatment needs to be comprehensive to tackle all
life stages, and be ongoing for at least 6 months.
This information about fleas was sponsored by
Lovers Forum, a free and family-safe pet forum supported by the
professionals at Munster Animal Hospital. Memberships are free and
enable you to create a profile, chat with other pet owners, browse
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Fleas aren't just annoying. They can also spread disease. Here are
some flea-related diseases and some tips for preventing
fleas from spreading disease to you and your pet.
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD): FAD is an allergic reaction to
flea bites which affects both animals and people. The flea allergy
sufferer develops itchy bumps anywhere a flea has bitten. Often, the
animal will scratch at the area until additional skin irritation and
sores develop. These sores can become infected, leading to serious
- Tapeworms: This parasitic worm lives in the intestines of its
host, absorbing the animal's nutrients and growing up to 20 inches
in length. Fleas are necessary to transmit tapeworms from one host
animal to another. Flea larvae eat the eggs of tapeworms
accidentally. The immature tapeworm then lives in the flea's body
until the flea itself is eaten by a new host animal. The tapeworm is
then released from the flea and infects the new animal.
- Typhus: Fleas can carry the typhus virus and spread it to
humans. Symptoms include high fever, joint and muscle pain, headache
and delirium. Many people are now vaccinated against typhus, but as
many as 1400 unvaccinated people still die of typhus each year.
- Bubonic Plague: This deadly bacterial disease killed 75 million
Europeans, 60 percent of the European population, in the 14th
century. The bacteria was spread by fleas, which would carry the
blood of an infected person and transmit it to healthy people as the
flea went around biting. Today, antibiotics are effective in
treating the Bubonic plague bacteria and very few people die from
plague in modern times.
You can protect yourself from flea-transmitted diseases by
eliminating fleas at the source. Treat your pets and your home with flea
killers that include a growth inhibitor. This prevents immature fleas
from reaching maturity and reproducing.
Clean pet areas frequently. Vacuuming will remove many fleas from
your environment. Hot water washes of pet bedding and blankets will kill
both adult and immature fleas. You can also create an at-home adult-flea
trap by placing a lamp above a pan of soapy water overnight. This will
get many adult fleas, but flea eggs, larvae and pupae may still be
Many fleas enter your home as joyriders on your pet after he or she
has been outside. Flea collars, powders, sprays or spot treatments can
help make your pet a deadly ride for fleas. These kill the fleas quickly
and prevent them from entering your home.
Flea prevention measures will help defend against flea-related
diseases. By taking these simple steps, you can eliminate fleas from
your environment and keep yourself, your family and your pets healthy
and happy. Additionally, a thorough plan for flea control should be
planned with your local veterinarian while also considering the
professional advice from your local pest exterminator.
You can learn more about fleas and chat about pets by visiting
http://www.AnimalLoversForum.com, a family-friendly and free
forum where you can talk with other pet owners about a variety of
animal topics on the discussion forums.