Helpful Tips On Flea Control and Prevention
Prevention and control of fleas is an issue in many parts of this country as pet owners work to keep their pets healthy and itch-free. The flea general life span is only two weeks to eight months in length, depending on the species, with much of that being in the larval and pupal stages of life which don’t affect your dog.
Flea Control San Antonio
Fleas lay eggs in likely hatching zones where the larvae will best survive once they have hatched. Larvae love sand, gravel, loose dirt, cracks and crevices, insides of furniture, and other dry, out-of-the-way places. Eggs take from two days to two weeks to hatch and larvae will wrap themselves into a cocoon and gestate further for another five to fourteen days. At this point, they are virtually immune to chemical pesticides until they emerge as adult fleas. Flea bites cause a myriad of problems for pets and their owners, including itching and skin problems, hair loss, and infection.
Do fleas also cause flea dermatitis. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with fleas to prevent or treat their attacks. Complete treatment will care not only for the pet, but also the pet’s environment, keeping the fleas from reemerging once the pet has been treated.Flea bites – Pest Control San Antonio Around the house and yard, fleas can live in many places, including your pet’s bedding, the furniture, in and around cushions, in thick carpeting, and more. Before using any treatment, it’s a good idea to vacuum everything thoroughly to remove debris that might shield the fleas. This will also likely pull up many of the flea eggs, larvae, and adults, so make sure to dispose of the bag as soon as you are finished vacuuming so they don’t live and grow inside the bag and find an escape later. Simple tasks like washing pet bedding in hot water regularly and keeping pet areas clean will prevent fleas from mounting any major assaults on your pet. Out in the yard, areas that your pet spends a lot of time in are very susceptible to flea infestations. These include the dog house, flower beds, under and around decks and porches, and in piles of brush, leaves, and debris. Before using any flea treatment, as in your house, make sure all debris and clutter are cleared out to maximize the fleas exposure to your treatment. Mow, rake, and sweep areas clear. Prevention includes cleaning the dog house regularly (usually with the garden hose and soap or bleach), vacuuming the car regularly, and sweeping and mopping areas of bare floor, paying special attention to the crevices and tight corners. There are many options for treating affected areas inside and out, just be sure that whichever one you choose, you follow the directions carefully. If you have a serious infestation, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, you will probably want to re-treat it again in two or three weeks.
Here are a few ways to control fleas on your dog
Shampoos Using a flea shampoo and thoroughly bathing and rinsing your dog will kill almost all adult fleas. If you have the capacity (a large tub or container the dog can immerse in), dipping is the most effective method in this regard if you have a serious flea problem. There are side effects to dipping, however, such as heavy residues and the fact that your dog and children could become sick if they contact the dip. For most infestations, a good and thorough flea shampooing is enough. Topicals: These are the drops or rubs you see on the shelf that are applied between the dogs shoulder blades, directly on the skin. They last about a month and kill most adult fleas. Some are growth inhibitors for immature fleas as well, but can’t be used on puppies under 8 weeks of age. Bathing reduces this treatments effectiveness and longevity. Orals For indoor pets, this treatment can be quite effective. Since fleas are naturally attracted to your dog, they will eventually find the dog and bite it (this is where the itching comes from). These pills cause sterility in the fleas, thus eventually killing off the flea population through birth control. This is a long-term solution for light or burgeoning infestations and each pill lasts about a month. Don’t use this for pregnant or nursing dogs. Natural organic solutions are also available and include a lot of options. Dried pennyroyal (a plant), pyrethrum powder (an extract from flowers), or Diatomaceous Earth (also called fossilized phytoplankton or DE) are all natural solutions commonly available.
These are usually sprinkled around pet areas, into bedding, and even directly on the pet. After a day or two, repeat. Eventually, no more fleas. Pennyroyal should not be used on pregnant or nursing dogs or puppies under 8 weeks. Other natural remedies include herbal treatments that can be added to your pet’s bath water or even into their food. DE can also be used in carpeting, lawns, gardens, and more without harm and it kills many insects besides just fleas. Often, two or more of the solutions mentioned herein are combined in products you’ll see available. Fleas are a nasty bunch and can be tricky to get rid of, especially if your infestation is worse than you think it is. Usually, though, with some prevention and diligence, they can be eradicated in just a few days.
Fleas in Carpets
If you’ve got a pet with fleas, you’re soon going to discover you’ve got fleas in your carpets or rugs. It is also possible to get fleas in your house, even if you have bare floors.Flea Control San Antonio How do they get there? They got there because the flea eggs just fell off your pet – it’s as simple as that. Fleas are clever creatures. Sure they can jump pretty well, but fleas don’t spend their lives jumping. If the lifestyle is good, the average flea will try to spend all of their life on the one animal. They live, mate (and if they are female) lay eggs onto your pet. After some time, or with their own grooming, these flea eggs will fall off your pet and into their surroundings. And so, if your pet loves to spend time on a particular mat then you will get fleas on that mat. The longer a pet spends in a particular location the more flea eggs will fall off into that environment.
Well, after some time that flea egg will hatch and a larvae, will come out. Flea larvae are actually surprisingly large – up to about 5 mm long. Which is visible!! Except you won’t see them, because these flea stages will be deep in your carpet. There they will feed on scurf and flea dirt (which is the partly digested dry blood which falls off your pet – just like the flea egg did). So these flea larvae will spend a few days to a few weeks feeding deep inside the carpet pile or between the floor boards. Then they will spin themselves a cocoon – the flea stage inside the cocoon is called the pupae. This is the difficult bit. There are a number of flea control products, Frontline springs to mind, which say they will kill all flea stages. The fleas can exist inside the cocoon which is deep in the carpet for months – up to 18-month if the conditions are right. After this time, when the conditions are right and a friendly host, like your dog or cat wanders past, these immature fleas will dig their way out of the cocoon and (this is why they have jumping back legs) spring onto your pet. Within a minute they will feed and within 24-36 hours the females will begin laying flea eggs. And in time these flea eggs will fall off your pet and into your carpet. And low and behold, you have fleas in your carpets or rugs (and fleas in the cracks between floor boards) and that’s where we started the journey. So what to do. It’s not rocket science – don’t get all concerned about the carpets – get the fleas killed. With flea control that is the most important thing. If you want to control fleas in your carpets and rugs, just kill the fleas. Kill the fleas on your pet first, and if things are desperate, consider getting a synthetic pyrethroid spray to kill the flea pupae in the carpet.
Types of Natural Flea Treatments for Controlling Pet Fleas
Have you even wondered about using natural flea treatments on your pet dog or cat? Have you wondered whether there is a natural alternative to chemical treatments for flea infestation? Do you want to treat fleas the old fashioned way, with a natural flea therapy? Or perhaps you just want to save money by using a natural flea treatment rather than a chemical treatment for fleas. Whatever your reasons you have come to the right place in this article. we will look at options for natural flea treatment as well as some of the modern products which actually have their roots in natural therapy.
Types of Natural Flea treatments
There are three main types of natural flea control methods/products: Flea products for killing fleas Flea products for repelling fleas
Natural methods for controlling flea larvae, flea pupae and flea eggs
Generally, the ideal way of controlling fleas using natural products is to use a flea product which actually kills the fleas. The reason for this is that while your pet may get a short term benefit from a flea repellent. The repelled fleas my feed on another pet and still allow flea eggs to be laid in the surroundings of your pet. So in time you may have an even worse flea infestation to deal with if you used a repellent. Ideally you should look for a product that claims to kill fleas.
Natural Flea Products for killing fleas
One of the natural flea treatments which has been known for many centuries is the chrysanthemum daisy. This daisy is responsible for producing a natural chemical called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum has natural insecticide qualities which is why it is present in the chrysanthemum in the first place. However, generally natural pyrethrum is not a very widely used product. The reason for this is the great expense of growing enough flowers to extract insecticidal quantities of the material. However, pyrethrum is notable because it is the precursor or basis for the development of the synthetic â€˜pyrethroids.â€™ These are chemicals which are similar to pyrethrum in chemical structure and mode of action. There are quite a number of dog and cat shampoos which contain pyrethrum and piperonyl butoxide. Piperonyl butoxide is a synergist for the action of the pyrethrum, which means it works together with the pyrethrum to increase the flea killing power â€“ both chemicals work better together than they would apart. In fact, the plant based piperonyl butoxide would not actually have any effectiveness as a flea killer on its own. So while some of the shampoos which contain pyrethrum may not say they are natural â€“ they are certainly related to the pyrethrum which is derived from the chrysanthemum daisy.
Borax (boric acid or boracic acid)
Another often mentioned natural product is Borax (boric acid or boracic acid). This is claimed to control fleas (but since adult fleas live on pets, it is the environmental stages which we are talking about) in and around pets. When ingested, boric acid can interfere with the internal metabolism of fleas â€“ however, fleas are unlikely to substantially feed on the chemical unless it is mixed with blood. However, the powder form sprinkled around areas where flea stages are to be found can cause irritation of the outer cuticle which can cause death of the flea.
Diatomaceous Earth Diatomaceous earth is ironically the fossilized remains of diatoms â€“ which were a type of hard shelled algae â€“ now millions of years after their own deaths, the resulting diatomaceous earths can be sprinkled around areas where environmental control of fleas is required. The diatomaceous earth acts by causing dehydration of the cuticle of the flea or flea larva. Since the cuticle or outer surface is essential for proper functioning of the flea, the diatomaceous earth can cause irritation and death of the flea. It is normal to vacuum up any remaining diatomaceous earth. However, as scientific studies are minimal, it may be that a lot of the effect of diatomaceous earth is the thorough vacuuming that is required after use in the house for the control of fleas.
Natural flea products for repelling fleas.
It is claimed that garlic can be used to repel fleas in small amounts. The active principle in garlic for its healing properties is allicin. However, garlic also contains thiosulfate which can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. Large quantities of garlic would need to be eaten to cause these signs â€“ up to 50 cloves of garlic at the one time, but it does highlight that natural does not always equal safe when it comes to flea treatments. Garlic should be used with caution and ideally in a formulated product which has been sold for some time and which is not known to cause symptoms in dogs. However, as has been noted previously, there is not a lot of value in repelling fleas, particularly if your home environment is infested. In this case you actually want fleas to jump on your pet so that the â€˜on animal treatment (natural or otherwise) which you have applied can take effect. Natural methods for controlling flea larvae, flea pupae and flea eggs We should all know by now the importance of controlling the off insect stages of fleas â€“ these include flea larvae, flea pupae and flea eggs. There is an amazingly simple natural flea control method which does not involve any sort of chemical at all.
According to an article called Ridding your home of Fleas, Mike Potter, an expert entomologist states that â€œVacuuming removes many of the eggs, larvae and pupae developing within the home.â€ Just good old fashioned suction! To put it simply, if you can remove a lot of the flea life stages from your home, these same stages will no longer be able to reproduce and infest your pet dog or cat. A further benefit of vacuuming is that the vibrations from the cleaner actually stimulate the immature flea (or pre-adult flea) inside the pupa to come out earlier â€“ this means that the flea will come in contact with your on-animal flea control sooner, thus cleaning up your home sooner. Conclusion It is a worthwhile aim to use a natural flea treatment or control if you can. But please be aware that there is not a lot of scientific data to support the use of natural methods of controlling fleas, according to Merchant and Robinson, both entomologists from Texas A&M.
If you are looking to purchase a natural flea treatment â€“ rather than using trial and error. you would be best sticking with a commercially available flea treatment if possible. There are a number on the market which are available for purchase via the internet. Try these first, as since these are successfully being sold it is likely that they are working for at least a number of people. Once you’ve had good success with these flea treatments, you may care to try using some of the natural ingredients that you find on the product label and seeing if you can make up a treatment yourself, but first think about purchasing a commercial flea control product. Treating Fleas It is important for caring pet owners to know, because they will create the most common skin infection of dogs and cats, and therefore fleas cause more skin disease than any other parasite. But while skin disease and flea bite irritation are the most common symptoms of a flea infestation they can also be the vector for diseases such as the flea tapeworm, which can cause anal irritation in affected dogs and cats. Who’s who in the flea family In the flea world, the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis (the first ‘C’ is silent) has generally won the war for dominance on pet dogs and cats. If a survey of a pet population is performed, then it’s likely that some dog fleas would be found particularly in remote areas, but this is uncommon and their numbers much lower than their cat flea counterparts.
But then it could also be argued that actually the terms dog fleas and cat fleas are a bit irrelevant – just because long ago a scientist named a particular flea species C. felis, does not mean that it is a ‘cat flea’ any more than C. canis is a ‘dog flea’. Of course, cats and dogs are not just infected with their own species of flea – there are also other species such as: Pulex irritans the human flea; Leptosylla segnis the mouse flea; Spilopsyllus cuniculi the rabbit flea; and Echidnophaga gallinacea the chicken or ‘sticktight’ flea. The common name of the sticktight flea is derived from the fact that on biting a host, it actually permanently attaches using its mouth parts. This allows it to remain attached to the pet (or chicken) long after an effective flea treatment has killed it. This may lead to the mistaken impression that the flea control product did not work effectively. San Antonio Flea Control Another infamous flea is the oriental rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis. This is the flea responsible for causing so much fear in human populations in past times because it is the vector (along with the rat) of the Bubonic Plague or the Black Death – a bacterium called Yersinia pestis which is spread by flea bites.
Naturally, the rat flea would prefer to infest rats but when rats are in close contact with humans, there is the possibility of spread of the plague. More nasty consequences! There are other, nasty infections which fleas spread. So called ‘cat scratch fever’ is caused by a bacterium Bartonella henselae which is spread between cats by fleas. The bacterium is actually passed in flea feces which is the likely source of contamination of cat’s claws during their self-grooming. It is estimated that in the US around 2,000 of the 24,000 people infected each year actually require hospital treatment for the infection. Another disease being investigated by veterinary scientists is a condition called ‘Flea Borne Spotted Fever’ or cat flea typhus, which is caused by a bacterium called Rickettsia felis.
Interestingly, research would appear to indicate that while the bacteria is present in fleas, it has not been detected in cats. The signs in humans include rash, headache, and central nervous system involvement, with some sufferers reporting nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Without doubt, cat flea typhus would not be the most pleasant way to spend a few days. Natural flea repellants It is apparent that finding and developing all-natural solutions to society’s everyday problems has becoming increasingly popular over the past few decades. Anyone can see the appeal of using products that are less likely to pose potential health hazards to its users and their loved ones. This is especially true when it comes to applying something to your pet, which is in close contact with your home and your family.
Consequently, the idea of using a natural flea repellant can seem extremely enticing. There unfortunately are no proven natural flea repellants or natural flea killers on the market currently. However, by word of mouth, there are a number of natural flea repellants that are currently being suggested.
Some of these are listed below.
Placing eucalyptus leaves in and around your home can be an excellent natural flea repellant due to their unique odor. By mixing garlic and yeast in your pet’s food, you can cause their blood to have an adverse taste so that fleas don’t want to feed on them. (Please keep in mind that raw garlic can be toxic to cats, so this should probably only be used on dogs.) Borax is a natural flea repellant that can be sprinkled on your carpet, in your yard, and along your fence (but be careful because it can apparently kill plants). Food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is inexpensive and can be sprinkled on your yard as well. Some people suggest using a 50:50 mixture of Borax and DE in your yard, on your carpet, and on your furniture. After a few days, be sure to vacuum up the dust mixture. Skin So Soft from Avon, when applied to your pet’s coat, can repel fleas and mosquitoes. Placing cedar chips along your fence line can act as a natural flea repellant and can keep fleas from entering your yard. Planting tansy (a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant) in your yard can repel fleas as well. Using nematodes in your yard can be a way to keep the flea populations under control because the small worms will eat the developing flea larvae. Some people suggest setting a trap for the fleas that enter your yard by placing a desk lamp next to a shallow plate of soapy water. The fleas are attracted to the light and jump onto the plate where they end up sinking in the water and drowning. If natural flea repellants are what you’re looking for, there’s no reason not to give some of the methods mentioned above a shot. However, if they aren’t working for you and your pet, or your pet’s flea infestation is so severe that your pet is obviously suffering, it may be best to consult a veterinarian and treat the existing flea problem now with one of the recommended commercially available products. After the flea situation is under control, it may then be a better time for you to try a natural flea repellant
. If you have any further questions please call Jenkins Pest Control today!