My 3 proven steps for flea infestation elimination: what the experts don’t tell you.
About me: I have been a pet owner for over 50 years, and for 40 of those years I have known and understood the ill effects of Fleas. Oh yeah, I also spent a few years working for one of the Nation’s leading “Pest Control” Companies.
We have all had, or will have flea problems, whether we want to admit it or not. Even if you don’t have pets, fleas can still haunt your home from time to time. Why call a “Pest Control” company when you can do it yourself, and cheaper. It really isn’t that difficult to do yourself.
First thing that must be understood is that killing the adult fleas that you can see, is like only treating the symptom only, not the cause. The real problem is waiting to be born.
Here is information about the adult Flea, its eggs, and the larva/pupa, they are all stages that need to be treated. This is why so many people can’t really get rid of fleas, they miss the real problems. However, most “Pest Control” Companies know this, but don’t tell you that they will have to come back and re-treat your home…again, and again. This is considered a “One Time Treatment”, so their free return treatment policy (if they have one) will not apply after 30 days, if at all.
Information according to a leading Pesticide company:
- Many times, “flea bombs” or flea collars just don’t do the trick , a better understanding of the flea life cycle and knowing how to break their life cycle is very important to understand.
- Female fleas need blood to complete their reproductive cycle. Baby fleas need blood to grow. Although fleas prefer dog and cat blood, they will eat human blood.
- The female lays eggs on the host animal, but the eggs fall to the ground, carpet, sofa, dog bed, your bed, or easy chair where they hatch in two-to-five days.
- The flea larva feeds on organic debris in the environment. Within a week or two, depending on temperature and humidity, the larva spins a pupa (or cocoon) to protect it during metamorphosis to the adulthood.
- In the hard-shelled pupa, the larva transforms from a tiny maggot-larvae like creature into an adult able to leap 100 times its own height, and the cycle begins again ! It may take a couple of treatments to kill off the emerging adults as they evolve from the larvae stage within the first 4-6 weeks. For that reason, the best time to start a flea control program is in the late spring, prior to an infestation.
- To contain an infestation, fleas must be controlled: Whenever you see adult fleas crawling on your pet, it is only a symptom of a much larger problem.
- Current studies indicate that adult fleas account for only 5% of the total flea population in any given situation. Eggs account for 50%, larvae account for about 35%, and the remaining 10% are the pupal cocoons. That means that for every single adult flea living on your dog or cat, there are 10 eggs, 7 larvae, and 2 cocoons. These various life cycle stages will be found anywhere in the pet’s environment, but will be most concentrated in the areas that the pet spends most of its time. Remember, when the adult flea on the pet lays an egg, it will fall off the hairs in just a few minutes…it is very similar to them sowing “seeds”. So, areas where the pet sleeps or lies around will have the most eggs. If the pet usually walks through certain paths (either indoors or outdoors), t here will also be a substantial amount of eggs scattered in those areas. What this means is that environmental flea control must be spread over the pet’s entire environment, focusing on the areas the pet spends the majority of his or her time.
Ok, now that you know why Fleas are hard to treat, I will give you a few important tips that I learned over the years.
Carefully research the products you want to use. You will need a good “Fleas and Tick” killer/repellent for your pet (check with your Vet), a good Flea Powder (for vacuum bags), extra vacuum bags, laundry detergent, and the actual “Room Treatment Product”. Without a good IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) treatment is a waste of time and money, in my opinion.
The room treatment product that I like contains the following organic ingredients. Active Ingredient: 0.05% pyrethrin, 0.4% permethrin, 0.1% pyriproxyen (IGR) and 0.4% synergized formula. Note: Pyrethrin is derived from plants (organic), but is highly toxic to insects, fish, and birds. Pet fish and birds should be removed from the treatment areas, or protected in some other way.
* It works best if can you do the first 2 steps the same day.
Step # 1 Before the treatment:
The “Pest Control” Companies will want you to do this step anyway. They will only do step 2 and explain how you need to do step 1, and charge you for step 3, to insure return business. Treat your pet, bathing, powder, or other products that kill and repel fleas. I prefer a good Flea shampoo and a bath, scrub the pet vigorously. Vacuum well around all areas your pet spends time. Remember you are trying to get up all the organic material that flea larva can live in (pet hair and dander, human hair and dander, and tiny food crumbs). Some say to throw out the bag immediately, some say fleas can’t get out of the vacuum bags. I always vacuum up some fresh flea power before I start. I usually vacuum once real well before I treat, and at least twice after I treat. Thoroughly wash all the pet’s bedding and anything else that the pet uses, and anything else that will fit in the washer. Any good detergent will do. Treat the outside areas of your home as suggested above. (This can be done a day or 2 before.)
Step # 2 The Treatment:
Read the products label warnings carefully. Make sure you have and wear any personal protective equipment required, especially if you are allergic to plant products. Pyrethrin is derived from plants (organic). Spray all the open areas of a room and carpet, and make sure you get the corners and along the edges. Spray on all the furniture in the room, under it, around it, and under cushions. Even spray around the edges of hard wood or vinyl floors, stair steps, and edges and corners of rooms your not sure if the pet have been in. (They most likely have when you weren’t home.) Now leave the house for the time recommended by the Product, usually 4 hours. Leave the house closed up for this time, ventilate it when you return.
Step # 3 The follow up treatments:
Because no treatment will kill the eggs, and most organic products will dissipate within 30 to 45 days, plus you and your pet will encounter more fleas out side. The eggs are very unique, they can hatch any time from one month to six months later. Thanks to nature eggs can sense when their in a warm blooded mammal present and it is safe to hatch. Keep treating your pet with the Flea and Tick repellents of your choice. (Check with your Vet) Re-Treat everything as you did in the first 2 steps after 30 to 45 days. You may or may not need to repeat this again in another 30 to 45 days, depending on your environment and whether or not you still find fleas. (This is where the “Pest Control” Companies really make there money.
I have shown you what the experts say, and the hows and whys, now it is up to you.
Even though it seems like a lot of work and expense, it is better than living will the ill effects of having Fleas, or paying for someone else to do it.