Important Points to Remember About Flea Control
If you are having trouble getting on top of fleas and are wondering about what more you can do it is important to understand a bit more about fleas and their life cycle:
- The majority of the flea population (eggs, pupae, larvae) is found off your pets. The pupae form of the flea is very hardy and can survive for some time in the environment and attach itself to carpet fibres.
- Fleas biting today came from female fleas laying eggs 3-8 weeks ago, so immature stages have been developing for 1 – 2 months in your environment. That is, inside on the carpet and bedding and, outside under plants and houses.
- The flea life cycle (egg- larvae-pupae-flea) can be as short as 16 days.
- Female fleas can produce 40-50 eggs/day.
- Fleas do not jump from animal to animal, all new flea infestations come from fleas that have developed in the environment. Freshly hatched fleas can survive for few days before they find a pet to feed on.
- To get on top of flea infestations EVERY cat and EVERY dog in the household must be treated EVERY MONTH for 3 – 4 months and the environment needs to be treated as well using flea bombs or specific household sprays. It is also important to vacuum and wash pets bedding weekly. It does take several weeks to eliminate the fleas and on going treatment of pets should be maintained even after the flea numbers have subsided.
- Miss one month of flea treatment and fleas lay eggs and re-infest the environment. Stray animals or untreated visiting pets will infest the environment when they drop fleas from their fur.
- Flea treatments should not only kill fleas but also stop the development of immature stages.
- Environmental sprays MUST contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGR’s) as these stop flea egg development. Insecticides do not affect flea eggs. Pyriproxifen is an IGR that has a long lasting effect on the environment (150 days).
Common throughout the warmer climates in the North Island, ticks will feed on a variety of animals including cats and dogs. They jump onto your pet and feed by sucking blood before jumping off again into the environment.
When ticks attach to your pet to feed they cause irritation and can create wounds which can become infected. Too many ticks and your pet may become ill from blood loss.
Ticks vary in size but are visible to the human eye, so are often picked up by owners. They can be located anywhere on the body but are most common around the head. If you endeavour to remove them yourself, there is a chance the mouthpiece of the tick will be left behind and can cause a serious infection.
Luckily, there are products that now contain both flea and tick treatment, making control of these parasites simple and effective.