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Earlier this year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released a report linking nearly 1,700 pet fatalities to a widely used brand of flea collar. Word of the report warning of the danger quickly reached pet owners across North America. Subsequently, people began to search for alternative solutions to replace their pets’ flea collars.
Summer is the time of year when flea populations are the highest—definitely not the time of year you want to be without an arsenal of effective flea control solutions. So, Western Exterminator is providing you with a few tips for reducing and eliminating flea populations in and around your home, and more importantly, on your pet.
Fleas are small, measuring approximately 1.5 to 3.2 mm in length. Although they may be tiny, their fast growing populations can become quite big due to their quick reproduction rates.
As populations grow, infestations quickly spread, making fleas an especially challenging pest to eradicate. Our flea control experts specialize in exterior and interior solutions that are guaranteed to work.
Oftentimes, fleas enter your yard by way of local wildlife hosts. Common mammals, such as squirrels, opossums, skunks, mice, chipmunks, feral cats, and more can carry fleas to your backyard where they either jump off or are dislodged by scratching or movement. If a flea lays eggs on a host, the eggs can fall off and hatch in your yard.
When a flea abandons, or is forced from its host, it searches out another. The moment you or your pet enter the yard, you’ll become a target for fleas seeking a warm blood meal and a place to successfully reproduce, most likely inside your home.
To effectively eliminate flea infestations, make sure to implement a flea control program that addresses fleas in your yard as well as your home. Because the life stages of a flea happen at different intervals, it may take up to 2 months of treatments before an infestation is eradicated.
Fleas thrive in temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on where you live, this could mean you’ll experience flea activity year-round. For the majority of states, flea activity picks up in the spring as temperatures rise, and slows down in the fall as they decrease.
Starting a flea treatment program early in the year will help to reduce flea populations in and around your home.
A female flea cannot lay eggs until she has had a blood meal. When regular access to blood meals is provided, she can lay up to 5 eggs within 48 hours after each feeding, and up to 50 eggs in one day. The life cycle of a flea (from egg to larva to pupa to adult) takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks. And, on average, adult fleas can live 2 to 3 months when conditions are perfect.
Because of their rapid reproduction rate, the sooner you address a flea problem, the better.
Fleas can transmit diseases to your pets and to you. Commonly known diseases such as tapeworms, dermatitis, or plague (although it’s very rare), can be costly to treat and cause health issues. Additionally, some animals with severe flea infestations have been known to suffer from anemia caused by blood loss.
Although fleas prefer blood meals from animals, they’ll go after any warm-blooded mammal when they’re hungry, including you. Look for fleas on a host or anywhere near a host. Pet beds, blankets, area rugs, couch and chair cushions, and your bed are popular hiding spots for flea activity and should be regularly inspected for signs of fleas.
Outside, you’ll want to apply the same rules to dog houses, shady areas where pets rest, dog beds, outdoor furniture cushions, and rugs. However, pay attention to areas where your local wildlife likes to hang out, too.
Preventing fleas is unfortunately not a one time process. Because of their fast reproduction rate and small size, flea infestations can be easily overlooked and grow exponentially in just a few days. If areas are left untreated, they can quickly become infested with fleas and reinfest other areas that have already been inspected, cleaned, and treated.
Travel tip! Avoid bringing fleas home.
Pet-friendly lodging can harbor fleas brought in by prior guests. When travelling with your pet, be sure to check it for fleas before heading back home.
As pest control providers for residential and commercial customers for over 100 years, Western has built our reputation on trust and expertise. If your initial attempts to treat fleas are unsuccessful and you end up with a full-blown flea infestation, we’ll be there to help.
When in doubt, consult a professional pest control provider. Western provides effective and guaranteed flea control solutions for commercial and residential customers. We also offer a year-round pest control plan that will protect you and your property from over 36 common pests, including fleas. Learn more about PestFree365+, and give us a call at 866-623-9842 or contact us online to schedule a free inspection.