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How To Kill and Get Rid Of Fleas and Ticks


cat flea

Cat Flea

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Flea Facts

Cat Flea

Cat Flea
Size is 1/16 to1/8 inches long
Color is brown to reddish brown, black
Extremely small, pencil lead sized

 

Fleas have been around for millions of years, sucking the blood of animals and humans. Fleas live on pets, mammals, in carpets, in sofas as well as other household and farm goods. In a typical room, 5 percent of the fleas will be found on pets. 10 percent of the fleas will still be in their flea cocoons in the carpets. 35 percent of the immature fleas will be flea larvae. 50 percent of the unborn fleas will still be in their flea eggs. 

The Flea life cycle is similar to the butterfly life cycle. Female fleas lay eggs that turn in to grub-like larvae. The larvae then develop into pupae and settle inside a cocoon. They wait for a host to start their life and suck blood.

Then something warm walks or crawls by the pupae. They instinctively pop out of their cocoon and jump on the warm blooded animal. Maybe you. All this happens within seconds. The newly hatched flea can jump as high as three feet. Fleas feed on blood, and a flea can live without a blood meal for 100 days. A female has to have a blood meal to lay eggs. In addition, it lays eggs within 36-48 hours of having the first blood meal. A female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime. Fleas are very tiny creatures, the adults average 1/8th of an inch in size. They have a flat body from side to side, with piercing mouths that help them in sucking blood. Fleas are often confused with bed bugs, lice and ticks. However, fleas are reddish brown to black in appearance, and they are also wingless.

Flea Life Cycle

Picture of Subterranean termite If fleas or ticks are a problem you need to do more than buy a new flea collar. If fleas are on your pet, you can be sure they are in your house. In fact, while adult fleas spend most of their time on animals, the eggs, larvae and pupae stages live in your carpeting, rugs, favorite chair, along baseboards, in floor cracks and other areas of the house and yard. They can be found wherever your pet goes.

To control fleas - and keep them from constantly re-infecting your pet and affecting your family - you must get rid of them on your pet and eliminate the fleas in your house and the outdoor areas your pets frequent.

The female flea lays a few eggs daily that total up to several thouin its lifetime. The eggs are laid on the pet and most drop off where pets spend most of their time. Pet bedding, floor crevices, carpeting, along baseboards and areas near their favorite sleeping and napping sites are especially likely places where eggs will be found. These eggs hatch into legless larvae. The larvae spin a cocoon and, depending on environmental conditions, emerge as adults in as few as five days. The adult fleas then mate (after a blood meal from your pet) and then lay eggs. The life cycle is then repeated - until control measures break the cycle. The total life cycle can last from 25 days to several months. Un-hatched flea eggs have even been frozen with liquid nitrogen and brought back to life !

Adult fleas are extremely hard to kill. Their little body is like a coat of armor. Like most insects, they have an "antifreeze protein" that protects them from the cold. Their body is like piece of wax paper. It sheds and repels sprays and chemicals, especially water based sprays resulting in very little control of the adults. This is why overnight control of fleas is impossible. You have to control the fleas life and egg cycle and that can take at a minimum - 3 - 4 weeks with the right pest control products.

The most important thing to remember when starting a flea control treatment, is that fleas only feed on 1 food source. Blood. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. Adult fleas feed on blood through their piercing sucking mouthparts, and immature fleas feed on the dried blood feces of the adults. Blood feces from the adult flea can be found where immature fleas are found and that is where the problem originates. Solve the problem with adult fleas, kill the immature fleas and try to prevent the outbreak of a new infestation and your flea problems will be greatly diminished. This can only be obtained through a complete and thorough treatment.

Fleas can also transmit diseases. Typhoid fever and bubonic plague are the worst of them (and thank goodness there's not too much of that around to transmit). But they can also transmit tapeworms to dogs, cats, and even small children !

What you do is critical for a successful flea control program. When you decide to perform this treatment, there are important things you need to do immediately before and after you treat your home.

Flea Treatment Step by Step Guide

What You Need To Do Before A Flea Treatment

  1. Observe where pets spend time -inside and outside the home. The areas where your pet spends the majority of its time sleeping is where the majority of the adult fleas and immature fleas will be found. If you have a doghouse, pillow or cage, then these areas need thorough cleaning and sanitizing.
  2. Take your pets to a veterinarian to be checked and treated for fleas. To help avoid re-infestation don't let freshly treated pets back into your house or yard until it has been treated.
  3. Vacuum carpets, floors, rugs, drapes, upholstered furniture, mattresses and cushions. Use a vacuum with a disposable bag and dispose of it by incineration or sealing in a plastic bag.
  4. Wash or destroy all pet bedding.
  5. Clean or vacuum wood and tile floors with special attention to grooves, cracks and baseboards.
  6. Sweep porches, steps and decks.
  7. Cut the lawn and remove debris and clutter prior to yard spraying.
  8. All unwrapped food should be covered or placed in cabinets or the refrigerator. Food preparation surfaces and utensils should be covered.

How To Get Rid Of Fleas - 5 Step Treatment Guide

1. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum!
Fleas will live under furniture, rugs, near windows, under cushions on sofas, chairs, and any place animals sleep. It is very important to thoroughly vacuum (not sweep) the areas where animals sleep or rest. A good thorough vacuuming of all floor surfaces (carpet or hardwood floor) will help to pick-up and remove adult fleas and eggs. The vibration of the vacuum cleaner on carpets will cause the immature flea larva to hatch. This further increases the effectivness of the vacuuming. Vacuuming on a regular basis is the single best control method that can be performed indoors. It is best to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag after vacuuming before the first treatment as fleas can live inside the bag.

2. Spray all Floors, Carpets, Fabric Furniture and Under ALL Furniture
All people and animals should be removed prior to treatment. Use a professional quality flea control aerosol spray such as Ultracide, Precor 2000or Alpine Flea Insectide. All of these products contain an insect growth regulator (IGR) that will aid in preventing fleas from laying eggs and also aid in the disruption of the flea life cycle. IGR's are basically birth control for fleas. Most IGR's will last up to 6 months, Precor will last up to 8 months when not exposed to sunlight. If you have sprayed for fleas in the past and not used an IGR, then that is probably why you still have fleas.

Beginning at the opposite end of the home, spray all carpets, floors, fabric furniture (between and under cushions), rugs and under rugs, window sills, pet bedding, pet resting areas and all floors. Using a sweeping motion as you spray to saturate all areas in your path. When using aerosol sprays, work fast and apply a light mist. Spray all areas and work your way to an exit door. All people and animals should stay off treated surfaces until they are dry.

3. Use Foggers To Help Kill Adult Fleas
Total release room foggers such as the CB PCO Fogger or handheld foggers such as CB80 will help to kill adult fleas. Most foggers will treat an area the size of an average 20 x 20 room. Most homes will need 3 - 4 foggers. Larger homes will need more. Calculate the number of foggers based on 1 fogger for every 500 square feet of floor space.

Before using foggers there are several things you need to do.

  1. Turn off the air conditioning system.
  2. Make sure that any gas appliances with lit or exposed flames or pilot lights are turned off.
  3. Unplug aquariums and cover with plastic sheet or towel.
  4. Make sure that all ceiling fans are turned off.
  5. Close all windows.
  6. Open all doors including closet doors inside the home.

To apply the fogger, shake the can and then holding the can away from your face depress the valve and place in the center of the room. It is not recommended to use any paper or floor covers under the foggers. Most foggers will not stain carpets or floors.

The use of an approved organic respirator is not always needed when using foggers as long as you quickly exit the premises and do not breath the mist. Do not return inside for at least 1 hour, preferably up to 3 hours. When returning, open all windows, doors, turn on ceiling fans and thoroughly ventilate the home. Dispose of foggers properly.

4. Spray The Yard and Lawn
Fleas usually live in cool shaded areas close to moisture, under shrubs, trees, bare areas of ground, etc. They normally don't live in open grassy areas. A thorough spraying with a chemical such as Cyonara or Demon WP does a good job outdoors. These products are also very effective against killing ticks, ants, roaches, spiders and most common bugs. Do not use a "hose end" sprayer when applying pesticides. Hose end sprayers are not effective when applying pesticides as they will dilute the product to much. Use a tank pump sprayer such as the Solo Rollabout Sprayer or a back pack sprayer such as the Solo Back Pack Sprayer. Smaller sprayer such as the Chapin Sure Spray Lawn and Garden Sprayer will do a good job, but require more fills and take much longer to use.

Using a good quality outdoor flea pesticide (mixed in a tank sprayer and not a hose end sprayer), thoroughly saturate the entire yard until damp. The label directions on the pesticides give specific mixing and application instructions. Be sure to spray all a lawn areas, under shrubs, trees, porches, etc. Be sure to thoroughly spray inside dog houses (and under dog houses) or pet resting areas as these areas will likely be where the flea eggs and larva are hiding. Be sure to to keep people and pets off of the lawn until all dry.

Spray the yard every week until control is obtained. In order to kill the adult fleas you have to overcome the flea life cycle. Several applications may be needed before the adult fleas are killed.

5. Flea Control On Animals - Treat The Animals!
Dogs and cats are the most important part of the battle. Without them, the fleas cannot survive. Most over the counter flea dips and shampoos usually don't provide long term control. That's because they only work when they are wet. When they dry, the killing action disappears.

For "on animal flea and tick control" we recommend daily spraying of your pet with Petcor. Petcor contains a pyrethrum based flea killer and a growth regulator (IGR) that helps to prevent flea eggs from hatching and adult fleas from reproducing. It has a slight alcohol smell and is perfectly safe to apply to dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, etc.

When using any flea spray on animals, hold your hands over their eyes and mist their entire body. Be sure to spray behind the ears, under their legs and also their hind quarters very thoroughly. Do not bathe the pet after spraying with Petcor, but you can bathe the pet first with any good pet shampoo and then spray with Petcor. BioSpot Flea and Tick Control for Dogs only needs to be applied 1 time per month and gives a full 30 day protection against fleas and ticks. Simply pour the vial of BioSpot on the neck of the dog and it will eventually absorb into the skin giving full protection.

For odors caused by pet urine, fecel or just plain old "wet dog smell", Odor Hunter does a fantastic job of deodorization.Spray Odor Hunter wherever pets make messes, on urine, fecel, vomit or other smelly areas. It can also be used in Kennels, crates and other areas to get rid of pet smells.


What To Do After Flea Treatment

Once your home and yard have been treated, there are important things you STILL need to do.

Vacuuming again 24-48 hours after treatment will help to pick up dead fleas and eggs. (There could be thousands of eggs). This treatment strategy may need to be repeated every few days to get control of fleas.

Don't be alarmed if you see adult fleas when you are vacuuming. These fleas were in the pupa and egg stages which aren't killed by the insecticide application. However, there is enough residual control to last several weeks. That's enough time to kill adults as they emerge and give good control. Wash food preparation surfaces and utensils that might have come in contact with the insecticide.

Do not allow flea infested pets in your home. If this happens, the house may get re-infested and re-treatment will be necessary.

Use Petcor regularly to control and prevent fleas on your animals. An application of Petcor will aid in repelling fleas from your pet when taking it on walks or places away from your flea free home ! Some of the "prescription" flea control products such as Frontline that only require a single application may make your pet sick. Be sure to talk with your Veterinarian before using single dose flea treatments on your animals.

To obtain the best flea control, you need professional quality products. Most, if not all over the counter items such as flea collars, flea traps, foggers, etc, do not work. The products that we carry are not available in hardware stores and very few veterinarians.

How To Kill and Get Rid Of Ticks

Tick Control Indoors
Controlling ticks is almost exactly the same as controlling fleas. The only difference is that indoors, ticks are not usually difficult to deal with as they do not infest carpets. Many pest companies will not treat carpets for indoor tick control, but will spray the baseboards and under furniture. Ultracide, Precor 2000 and Alpine Flea Insectide that are recommended for indoor tick use. Our opinion is that tick control should be dealt with exactly like flea control. Ticks are parasites of animals and humans and can potentially spread disease organisms. Follow the recommended indoor flea control procedures and you will get control of ticks.

Tick Control Outdoors
Talstar, Demon WP or Cyonara are the recommended products of choice.  A thorough spraying of all outdoor areas especially under shrubs, trees, decks, and other cool moist areas is essential in tick control.  If you are treating a large area, then an overall treatment may not be practical.  In this case, treating an area the size of an average yard around the perimeter of the home will be easier and should give satisfactory control.  It also helps to spray the trunks of trees and the exterior walls of the house or building as ticks are good climbers and may attempt to climb away from your spray.

Tick Control On Animals
Dogs and cats are the most important part of the battle. Without them, ticks cannot survive. We recommend daily spraying of your dog or cat with Petcor.  Petcor contains a tick killer and a growth regulator. Dips and shampoos usually don't provide good control - and normally only work when they are wet. When they dry, the killing action is usually reduced or gone. BioSpot only needs to be applied 1 time per month and gives a full 30 days of protection against ticks on dogs.


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