Like most insect control, successful flea control must include a flea treatment that will stop the flea “cycle.” This cycle I am referring to includes the eggs, larva, pupa and adult stage. Here is a brief description of the cycle from start to finish.
1) An adult flea jumps onto you, your pet, your child, etc. and gets a meal. Fleas feed on blood and although their mouth is small, a flea bite can hurt and most certainly can become inflamed, itchy and swollen. Many people and many pets are allergic to flea bites.
2) Once fed, the flea will look to mate and immediately lay eggs. This can occur in the yard, the house, and on the pet.
3) In the next two to three weeks, the average life of a flea, hundreds and hundreds of eggs will be laid by this one flea. Some of these may fall in the yard, some in the house and some will remain on the pet.
4) When the eggs hatch, a small caterpillar like creature comes out to feed on anything organic. This includes dried blood, flea feces, animal hair and a variety of otherwise disgusting organic matter in the yard, in your carpet, on furniture, on your pet and basically anywhere in or outside the home.
5) These flea larva will then feed for days after which they’ll spin a cocoon and undergo metamorphosis in this stage. And it’s this third stage, the one called the flea pupa, which is the toughest thing about flea infestations. Clearly this is the worst stage of all because we can’t kill it !! That’s right! No spray will kill flea pupa consistently or completely. This is why you still have fleas following the most thorough treatment (spray or fog). And this is why you should know the flea cycle and how to break it.
6) The flea cycle will then complete once the flea pupa hatches out. But unlike most insects, fleas won’t randomly hatch. Instead, the “hatching” of pupa will only happen when it detects a hot blooded meal close at hand. Only then will the pupa risk coming out of its protective cocoon. And when it does, it will immediately bite, feed and look to breed. At that time the cycle will start all over again….
WHERE FLEAS LIVE
Now that you understand the flea cycle, let’s talk about where this flea cycle can occur. It’s in important to understand this process if you wish to do a good flea treatment. The flea cycle can occur almost anywhere. It will occur on the animal, in the yard, in a carpet, in a litter box, in a bed, in a garage, in a basement, in a crawl space, in an attic, in a doghouse, on furniture, etc. The rule is simple: any place a warm blooded animal spends time can become a flea infested location. And it’s important to understand that fleas can feed on most any animal that’s warm blooded. In other words, fleas do not discriminate. If you have blood, they can and will feed on you if given the opportunity and the food of preference is not readily available. This means they will readily bite people so yes, you can have a flea infestation AND NOT HAVE ANY PETS! It is true they prefer dogs, cats, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, rats, mice, and birds but if none are present, they turn their attention to the people of the house. Additionally, the most common flea found is the cat flea. But you could also have a dog flea, bird flea, rat flea, sand flea, human flea, sticktight flea, bat flea and many other species which have been named after the host where they were first discovered. The good news is that any flea treatment being done will work on any of the aforementioned flea species.
Now that you know where the flea cycle can occur, it will be easier to understand what must be done to treat the problem. Remember, it is important to understand that fleas will persist if you only address one or two locations where they are breeding. Don’t think that treating the pet will keep your home or yard flea free. The same is true about the yard. Although treating the yard before flea season starts is a good practice, only treating the yard and pet but failing to treat the home would be a big mistake. A good idea is to follow this general rule: if the pet is an inside animal, you must treat the home and the pet to insure no fleas. If the pet is an outside animal, you will need to treat the pet as well as the yard area the pet has access to. If the pet spends a lot of time both inside and out, then you will need to treat the pet, yard and the home. And if you are spraying two of the three areas but fleas are still persisting, then chances are that you need to treat the location where you are not treating. Always remember that FLEA CONTROL IS EGG CONTROL. IF YOU STOP THE EGGS FROM DEVELOPING ON THE PET, IN THE YARD AND IN THE HOME – YOU WILL ACHIEVE FLEA CONTROL! It really is that simple. Yet many homeowners will take a chance and not treat some key part of their property. They will wrongly believe their problem is “coming from my neighbor’s dogs and if I treat my yard that will stop them” or “the fleas came with my Mother-in-law when she visited with her pet and all of them stayed after she left!” These are old wives tales: the bottom line is simple – treat all areas which are subject to having flea eggs and you won’t have to worry about the eggs being able to develop. Again: flea control is egg control.
Once infested, a proper flea treatment will generally take 1-2 months to rid any structure of fleas. If done correctly, the cycle would be interrupted with the first flea treatment and once the flea pupae have all hatched out, the flea infestation will cease. Will this take a week, a month or two months? No one can say for sure because of one reason: it all depends on how many flea pupae are in your home and how long it takes for them to run their growth cycle and hatch out. It could be resolved with one flea treatment; it could take three to six weeks of flea spraying once a week for all the cycles to run their course.
FLEA SPRAY INSIDE THE HOME
What products are best to use when doing flea control? This will vary depending on where you are treating. Remember the cycle can be completed on the pet, in the house or apartment, and in the yard. This means you need to spray each area and thoroughly to get flea control. In the home, there are many materials available that work. Carpets can be sprayed using an adulticide and a growth regulator. The adulticide kills the adult stage; the growth regulator prevents the eggs from developing so they are effectively killed.
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