Flea Pest Control and Prevention
Flea Pest Control
In the case of flea pest control, prevention is definitely better than treating an existing flea or tick problem. Once fleas have infested an area, it could become costly and very frustrating to get rid of these pests. Fleas live quite happily in the environment and use animals for feeding, so it is necessary to treat both animals and their surroundings.
Knowing the enemy, in this case, the flea makes effective control a little easier.
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The Life Cycle of the Flea
Tick and Flea Control Inside the Home
- Flea Egg – roundish and white, they fall from the animal and hatch anything from 2 days to a few weeks.
- Larvae - This stage lasts anything from 5 to 18 days.
- Pupa - Safe in a silken cocoon it waits for the right time to emerge (3 days to a year or more).
- Adult – Flat side to side, with hair like bristles and 3 pairs of legs. After this, the flea
will again begin laying eggs which will start the cycle again.
- Vacuum on a daily basis and dispose of the bags by burning them.
- Wash bedding and other articles pets come into contact with weekly.
- Hang pet bedding in the sun as often as possible.
- Wash pet bedding once a week in hot, soapy water.
- Comb your pet with a flea comb regularly and dip comb into soapy water.
- Bath your pet on a regular basis with a non-toxic shampoo, but avoid bathing too often as this could in turn lead to other problems.
- Steam clean your carpet (use a borate based cleaner), this will help with control of adult and immature fleas.
There are many different products available for tick and flea pest control. Insecticides in the form of foggers and sprays that also have an insect growth regulator (IGR) are the most effective. Not only do they get rid of the adult flea but also those that are still in the pupa stage. Unfortunately, many of these products are toxic and care should be taken when deciding to use them. Make sure to read the label instructions thoroughly.
Less Toxic Options
It is a sad fact that in our zealousness to get rid of and control flea infestation we quite often do more harm than good to our pets and the environment.
Although boric or borax acid is considered less toxic than many other treatments it is still not 100% safe. However, there is a product that can be used with absolute safety on pets and their surroundings all year long. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a fine powder made up of diatom deposits formed over thousands of years. The Chinese have used DE for many centuries for natural insect control. Although too small to see, each DE particle has a razor sharp edge that grinds into the exoskeleton of fleas and other insects. This causes the flea to dehydrate and die. Because of the way it works, fleas cannot build up a resistance to it as they do to some chemicals.
Although it is non-toxic, avoid breathing DE into the lungs and avoid getting it into eyes as well. Rub DE into your pets' fur and sprinkle on and around their bedding. Apply frequently, especially if you already have an infestation. After a few days, a decrease in fleas should be noticed and if you keep all pets and areas treated, you should not have any flea pest control problems. It is reported thatDE can act as a natural dewormer and when sprinkled on and around food and water bowls, keep ants and flies away. The type of DE used in swimming pool filters is not suitable and could harm your pets. Always make sure that you use food-grade DE mined from fresh water sources. Although fleas can be a major problem, it is nice to know that effective flea pest control is possible without the use of harmful chemicals.
Outside Flea Control
Fleas love grass, which is where your dog is likely to pick them up. The Outdoor area should be your first line of defense. Both powder and spray insecticides are available for controlling fleas and ticks in your yard. Focus on areas that your dog spends most of his/her time.
Less Toxic Remedies:
- DE can be used outside the home as well as inside, for flea pest control.
- Biological control choice - Beneficial Nematodes, which are parasites and a natural enemy that feed on the adult and immature fleas. They can be purchased online and are available at most garden centers.
- Fleas like shaded moist areas - Weed your garden and keep it free of debris, cut and rake your grass often, creating a less desirable environment.
The bottom line: review your options for flea pest control and make the best choice to suit your needs. It will differ depending on the season, your pet and location.
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