Although more than 2,000 flea species exist, the cat flea causes the most problems for both cats and dogs in the United States. These nuisance insects frequently cause itching, irritation and rashes in pets and people, and some even transmit tapeworms or diseases, including typhus, tularemia and the murine plague. You can treat your pet with a preventative monthly flea medication, but you must also treat your yard and/or your home to eliminate re-infestation.
A flea’s life cycle lasts between 28 and 42 days, but one female flea can lay thousands of eggs in that short time frame. Adult females lay eggs on host animals, and the eggs fall to the ground to hatch in two to five days. Fleas thrive in moist, shady outdoor areas and temperatures that fall between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit so Florida is a hot bed for activity. Flea larvae can’t survive in areas that receive direct sunshine. When we treat outdoor spaces for fleas, we concentrate within 50 feet of your dog’s or cat’s favorite shady resting spots. This might include beneath bushes or trees, along a fence or wall, in flowerbeds or gardens, under porches or decks or around a doghouse, kennel or dog run.
- Identifying the flea species causing the problem.
- Education explaining the flea’s life cycle and how their habits, habitat and behavior affects the control plan.
- Inspecting for the presence of other animals that are the flea population’s source of food. This may include rodents either inside or outside the home or perhaps a raccoon or feral cat that is living in the crawl space.
- Homeowner contacting their veterinarian for advice and purchase of flea control products that can be used on pets.
- Regular bathing and grooming of pets.
- Explaining the use of growth regulators that will interfere with the flea’s normal development into the adult stage.
- Using a strong vacuum to physically remove flea eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.
- Frequently washing and drying pet bedding.
- Treating affected areas by using safe and effective flea control products where immature fleas may be located.
- Scheduling a follow-up visit.