Almost all the people who have pets suffer from the problem of fleas. Shelter, warmth and food are the three essential things that fleas need to survive. Homes that have a pet, central heating and carpeting are an invitation to these pests. Although they can survive all through the year, they are most active during the summers and almost disappear during winters.
Biology and Habits
The most common species of flea found in household is the ‘Ctenocephalidesfelis’ or cat flea. They can be found on dogs and cats and even bite humans. Apart from the menace, the bite of a flea can also lead to various allergies both in pets and humans. Fleas undergo four stage of development namely egg, larva, pupa and adult. Fully grown cat fleas are almost 1/8 inch long, wingless, dark colored with a flattened vertical body and strong legs to jump. Most of the time, adult fleas stay on the pet and lay eggs there. The eggs are not sticky and, thus, they drop off the pet and culminate in the carpet, pet’s bed or covered furniture. The larvae of flea are white colored and without legs but with long hairs and a separate head shell. They feed on dry organic material and surplus blood defecated by adult fleas. Pupa is inactive and do not consume anything. The pupa can last from a week to even a year based on different conditions like humidity, temperature and presence of a pet. There are many factors that determine the commencement, length and the termination of the season of fleas. The main limiting factors in their survival are humidity and temperature. They can be seen in abundance during the rainy season. Adult fleas survive at temperatures between 66 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 70 to 90 percent. Eggs do not hatch below 40 degree Fahrenheit temperature. Larvae are the most sensitive to extreme humidity and temperature. They can even die if the humidity is below 45 percent.
There wasn’t much so far that could be done to prevent flea infestation. Now, there are various chemicals that reproduce a hormone that the fleas produce and prevent them from developing. They have many benefits like being nontoxic to pets and humans, preventing the flea egg from hatching, and inhibiting the development of larvae. It is possible to prevent flea breeding by using an insect growth manager during spring season. These are readily available as aerosol sprays. Search for products containing fenoxycarb, hydroprene or methoprene. A tactic to prevent fleas can be proper a screening of sneak spaces.
Non chemical methods of control include regular vacuuming of upholstery and carpet. This will remove both the fleas and their droppings. After this, dispose the garbage bag in an outdoor dumpster. Pet bedding should be washed with hot and foamy water at least once a week. There are even some less toxic substances that are available for flea management like pyrethroids, diatomaceous earth and boric acid. While applying these chemicals inside homes, focus on the regions where the pets sleep. Also aim at the areas where the pet comes straight from his resting place. Often these areas are ignored but they can contain a huge number of flea eggs. The chemical that are made for direct use on pets are limeonene, pyrethrins and pyrethrins plus and are accessible in the form of powders, sprays, shampoos and soaked in flea collars.
Pest Management Program
These programs include the indoor as well as outdoor treatments of your pets and home. Indoor treatment starts with carpet vacuuming. Insecticides will be give better results on a vacuumed carpet as it will easily penetrate through it. To make your pets free from these pests, comb its hair with a flea comb. Dip the comb in warm foamy water to sink the insects as and when they are removed. Before this, you may need to detangle pets’ long hair to facilitate the combing.