Flea Control

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The best flea control approach for your home and pet is to interrupt the flea life cycle. Low impact methods for controlling adult fleas, eggs and larvae include regular vacuuming and laundering, along with pet bathing or grooming. If the situation requires a pesticide, opt for low toxicity options. Flea control products are formulated to kill fleas at various points in the flea life cycle and are available for the full range of on-pet, indoor, and outdoor use.  Flea product formulations include spot-on treatments, powders, aerosols, collars, shampoos, soaps, and dips. When using these products, minimize your exposure to pesticides by observing these precautions.

Due to the wide range of available flea products and allowed use, it is important to be informed about the ingredients contained in a flea control product and to understand the risks associated with those ingredients. Below are comparison tables that highlight different types of flea control products.

 

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    Flea Control Johannesburg

    Fleas are not only an itchy nuisance, but may also be a disease risk for you and your pets. Cats and dogs can develop mild to severe flea allergy dermatitis, flea bite anemia, and internal parasites like tapeworms. People, especially children, are sometimes exposed to the parasites through interaction with flea-infested pets.

    A pet’s first introduction to a flea is usually outdoors – indoor pets rarely host fleas. In northern and Midwest states, fleas are seasonally active during spring, summer, or both. In southern and tropical states, they are active most of the year. Fleas favor warm and moist conditions, from 70 to 90° F and above 75% humidity.

    Other sources of fleas include used rugs and upholstered furniture, as well as visiting animals. Adult fleas jump onto a new host either from an infested animal or from the areas where an infested animal rests. In a yard, moist and shaded soil in warm weather is attractive both to fleas and their hosts. Once on a pet, an adult flea burrows to the skin, bites the animal to get a good blood meal, and then settles in to reproduce.

    Understanding The Flea Life Cycle
    Understanding the flea life cycle is essential for effective flea control solutions. The most obvious symptoms of a flea infestation are pets scratching repeatedly, grooming themselves excessively, or biting their skin. On closer inspection, you’ll be able to see small black adult fleas crawling in your pet’s fur.

    An adult female won’t lay eggs until she’s had a blood meal, but it only takes one meal for the female to start laying 25-50 eggs per day. The tiny, white flea eggs are slippery and usually fall out of the pet’s fur. You’ll notice what looks like salt (the eggs) and pepper (adult flea feces) in places where your pet sleeps. The eggs hatch into larvae in two days to a few weeks, depending on temperature and humidity.

    Flea eggs (white) and flea feces (black) will be noticeable in areas where your pet sleeps.

    The white, worm-like flea larvae feed on dried blood, adult flea droppings, and pet fecal debris that tend to shed into sleeping and grooming areas. Flea droppings – or ‘flea dirt’ – is easier to see than either larvae or eggs and turns reddish brown when moistened. In as few as five days, but up to a month, a larva will spin a cocoon to pupate, being transformed within the cocoon to an adult flea.

    The pupal stage can last as few as five days or up to a year. Floor vibration from an approaching pet or person can trigger the immediate emergence of an adult from its cocoon, ready to jump onto a pet or person. This is the primary way that people get bitten. Multiple red and itchy bites, especially in a row, can be the work of a single hungry flea.

    Adult fleas represent just 5% of the fleas present in an infested home, whereas eggs represent 50%. In order to successfully control fleas, it is important to remove fleas in all stages from your pet and your home. Because the flea life cycle is 18 to 28 days under prime conditions, it is important to make sure your control efforts are implemented throughout the entire life cycle.

    Indoors

    Vacuuming
    Vacuuming is highly effective at removing fleas in any life stage from their favorite haunts: carpets, cushioned furniture, floor cracks and crevices, and pet play structures. Because vacuuming collects fleas but does not kill them, put some tape over the end of the vacuum cleaner hose to prevent fleas escaping from the bag, or transfer the bag to an outdoor waste bin or .

    Laundering

    Hot, soapy water acts as an effective means to kill fleas in all life stages with no health risk to pets or people. Wash pet bedding weekly to treat an infestation. Place towels in pet resting areas to make laundering easier. Whenever you are handling pet bedding that may contain flea eggs, fold it up carefully so the eggs do not fall out of the bedding and land on the floor or furniture.

    On your pet

    Grooming with a flea comb
    Flea combs are made to remove adult fleas, flea dirt, and dried blood from your pet’s skin and fur. They are highly effective and pets often enjoy the process. Focus on head and neck, but groom your whole pet if possible. Pull the fleas out of the comb and drop them into soapy water before they have a chance to jump away. During active flea infestations, grooming twice daily may be needed; otherwise, several times per week just to check for fleas.

    Bathing

    A thorough bath using regular pet shampoo and hot water kills adult fleas as effectively as flea shampoos and dips that contain pesticides, and is safer for you and your pet.  Before you fill the tub, start by putting a ring of concentrated soap around your pet’s neck so they can’t escape from the bath water by crawling onto the pet’s head. Cats prefer grooming to baths, but for dogs or long-haired cats, bathing is a superior control technique.

    Outdoors
    Flea habitat reduction

    Fleas live only in warm, moist areas that are protected from direct sunlight and heavy rain or irrigation, and have frequent visits from host animals. Even if you have an infested pet and home, you may not have an outdoor flea problem. Wearing knee-high white socks, check for fleas in likely places – if fleas present, they will jump onto your legs. You can then expose these spots to sun through mowing or pruning, or simply flood the area periodically.

    Clean outdoor pet shelters by laundering any bedding and vacuuming inside thoroughly. Seal off any outdoor hiding places where pets or other furry animals may sleep. Manage pet resting spots to prevent fleas from establishing a population in your yard.

    Biological control

    Some studies have shown that several species of nematodes can control fleas outdoors by becoming parasites on flea larvae without affecting plants, pets, or people. Studies indicate that use of these beneficial nematodes, available at garden supply stores, works best in sandy soil that has been watered before and after the nematodes are added

    Flea Control Pesticides

    Review all your options before deciding on a treatment plan. If you decide to use flea control chemicals,  provides guidance for selecting the lowest-toxicity products and avoiding high-toxicity products to prevent poisoning pets, family members, and yourself. If you choose to work with a pest control professional, be sure the company is certified and familiar with Integrated Pest Management techniques.

    Potential Consequences of Using Flea Control Pesticides

    Recognize that when you use flea control pesticides, you should be ready to deal with these potential consequences:

    • Exposure to pesticide residues that remain in the home environment from use of flea control products.
    • Exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals from residue on pet fur.
    • Accidental pet poisoning due to misuse of pesticide products, especially on smaller dogs and cats.
    • Risk of poisoning from residue on pet fur for multiple cats or dog households with spot-on treatments, since animals may groom each other.
    • Accidental poisoning from the use of foggers or flea bombs.

    Precautions to Take When Using Flea Control Pesticides

    If you determine that pesticides are necessary, take these precautionary steps to reduce the potential for adverse effects:

    • For prescription flea treatment options, consult your veterinarian.
    • Once you have an infestation under control, evaluate the need for continued pesticide and prescription product use. For indoor pets, there is typically no need to treat regularly for fleas.
    • Always read and follow the label instructions on the pesticide product. The label is the law and you could be liable for any damage resulting from not following the label instructions.
    • Use only US EPA and FDA approved products, and review labels for products you have used in the past. Some flea control products cannot be safely used on cats, and correct dosing always depends on both age and weight. EPA is in the process of revising product label and packaging requirements in light of increased adverse effects on pets from spot-on products.
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