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Flea and Tick Prevention

Flea “season” generally starts in the late summer and can last into October, but these pesky parasites can live year-round in your home. The “cat flea” is the most common flea found on dogs and cats in our geographical area. The female starts laying eggs within 48 hours after finding a susceptible host animal. The female flea drinks the animal’s blood and produces about 30 eggs a day, and lives on that animal for several weeks unless killed or removed.

Fleas eggs are white and about .5 mm in length. They hatch in 1 – 10 days and become larvae. Larvae are 2 – 5 mm in length, white color and change color after feeding. They avoid light and migrate to the deep layers of carpet or under grass. This stage lasts for 5 – 11 days. It is this stage that lives well in carpet – especially nylon carpet – because it burrows to the deep layers where it lives and develops a silk cocoon much like other insects do. This is the dormant stage and the flea is quite difficult to eradicate while in this part of the life cycle: it can survive for up to 140 days, but usually erupts from this stage within 21 days.

As you can see, the fleas your pet may have are prolific, long-lived and can be very difficult to eradicate from the areas that your pet frequents. Effective flea control MUST be attained by the use of the proper products and the perseverance to allow these products time to eliminate the flea population. We can kill all the fleas on a pet fairly easily, but they pick up more and the problem continues, so you must treat not only the pet but also the pet’s environment.

Carpeting should be vacuumed well before treating with a premise spray. When vacuuming is done be sure to throw out the vacuum bag in a trash can outside of the house in order to avoid letting the fleas crawl out of the bag again in the house. Fleas thrive in humid and dark places,  so do not shampoo your carpeting before treating! This will only create more problems in eliminating the fleas.

Fleas can be incredibly difficult to eradicate, especially if you are not vigilant about treating ALL pets in your home, in addition to treating your home and yard. Eliminating adult fleas may take three months or more, because it requires eliminating all the other life stages of the flea as well. If you have any questions about the best flea products to use for your pet and your household, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Ticks

Tick season is usually at the beginning of the summer and lasts into the fall but, may begin earlier if the temperature is unseasonably warmer than usual. Click here for a downloadable information sheet about ticks.