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​The Fight Against Fleas

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cat-flea.jpgWhat’s the one bug that’s more annoying than a mosquito? The flea. A huge irritant to your pet(s) or any animal with fur, they take multiple baths, washes, and treatments of what are often harsh chemicals to get rid of, and just when you think the ordeal is over, they spring back up! The whole process starts over. Why? One of the biggest mistakes pet owners often make is that they spend too much time focused on treating the pets themselves, and completely forget about the environment around them.

The Flea Life Cycle

The life-cycle of the flea is a surprisingly long and hardy one. While most adult fleas only live for around one hundred days from the time they reach adulthood, each adult female can lay up to 50 eggs a day and produce around 2,000 eggs during her lifetime. This is where the real problem starts. While you may see some of these eggs on your pet, many if not most of them fall off the pet and onto the carpet or bedding around them. These eggs hatch quickly, producing larvae that wiggle into preferable dark spaces. One to two weeks later, the larvae spin cocoons and enter the pupal stage. That stage is the reason the fleas pop up months later! While they often become adults within one to four weeks after entering their cocoon, if nothing stimulates them to emerge, they can survive for up to six months before hatching, surviving even through winter for a nasty surprise months after you thought they’d be gone. With so many of these pupae hiding in carpet fibers and your pet’s favorite hangouts, it is necessary to focus on getting and keeping those areas clean to avoid having to treat your pet over and over again.

Indoor Environment

While a flea infestation will always require treatment for the pet itself, you can cut down on how much of this your pet will need by eliminating the ability for more fleas to pop up inside the house. Adult fleas may stick to the pet, but their eggs fall off onto the ground. This means wherever your pet goes indoors, there may be flea eggs, larvae, and pupae hiding to pop up weeks or months later. Vacuuming any carpets or furniture on which your pet spends their time before treating them with flea-killing insecticides found in our store, like the Tropiclean Home Spray, is important. The vacuum can suck eggs up, and if it can’t separate the sticky pupae from the fibers, it will at least make the larvae inside more susceptible to any sprays after. Adams Plus Flea and Tick Carpet Spray is a good way to treat the carpet after vacuuming, and Adams Flea and Tick Foggers can cover a whole room at a time. Fleas are much less likely to be on hardwood and tile floors, but mopping these spots can also help, just in case any are hiding in crevices. Nearly 90-95% of fleas will be found in the pet’s favorite hangout spots. Wash any sleeping places or bedding extra thoroughly, and if these hangout spots are up off the ground, as is especially common with cats, be sure to pay attention to the ground underneath, where more flea eggs may have fallen. We also carry Zodiac Carpet and Upholstery spray to treat both the furniture and the carpet underneath. Ignoring these spots will make all the pet treatments go to waste when the fleas appear again later.

IMPORTANT: Make sure all of your pets are out of the area when using insecticides.

Outside Environment

If your pet spends a lot of their time outside as well, you may also want to note and clean their favorite hangout spots there too. Clearly, ridding the entire outdoor world of fleas is impossible, but key areas around your house may be perfect for their survival and must be taken care of. Fleas do not do well in direct sunlight and perform much better in humidity so you’ll only need to worry about shady spaces. Any shady spots where your pet often spends their time, such as a porch, should be cleaned thoroughly and sprayed with insecticide. Adams Plus also makes a Flea and Tick Yard spray which you can pick up at our store to treat your outdoor areas.

Making sure these areas are clean of fleas is the best way to stop the fleas from continuing their rampage, and thus a great way to help your pet avoid fleas and resulting chemical treatments. The most susceptible areas, where your pet spends most of their time, should be cleaned frequently at first, two or three times a week until there are no more signs of fleas. After that point, simply keeping these spots and carpets generally clean will help prevent infestations in the future. By treating the whole problem and not just the symptom of an itchy pet, you can eliminate the fleas entirely. Stop by the store and ask about the different products we have, such as Tropiclean, Adams sprays and foggers, and Zodiac Carpet and Upholstery Spray to start the fight against fleas today!