Did you know that your veterinarian is an expert on flea pest control? We know all about the life cycle of the flea and we have access to prescription flea medications, and we fight them every day for clients!
This fall has been no exception. We have seen gobs of fleas here in the clinic recently, both on indoor and outdoor pets. It always surprises me how many indoor only cats get a flea allergy rash and how many tiny indoor dogs have fleas during a routine vaccine visit. Sometimes we even see fleas on pets that have used flea collars and topical flea control in the past.
So how does this happen?
For one thing, flea populations outside right now are through the roof. Think about it: all spring, summer and fall these fleas have been breeding and breeding and breeding…and now there are oodles of fleas out there just waiting to pounce on our pets when they go outside to play and do their business.
Then the fleas come inside the house. Did you know that fleas do their breeding and lay eggs on your pet? Then as your pet runs through your home, eggs fall off all over the house (like salt coming off a salt shaker). Within 2 weeks those eggs will hatch and flea larvae emerge, and within a month they spin a cocoon and turn into pupae.
These pupae live inside of the cocoon, protected by it, for weeks, months, or even years. The cocoon is sticky and will bind deep into carpeting and cannot be easily removed by light vacuuming.
The pupae will emerge over time as an adult flea. The adult flea seeks out your pet within a few hours of hatching; it needs to take a meal to survive and that meal is your pet’s blood. The adults spend most of their time on the pet itself, feeding and breeding and laying eggs.
The crazy thing: The adults that you see on your pet only account for 5% of the total fleas in your home.
This means that when you find a flea on your pet, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Because the flea eggs and larvae and pupae in the home take time to grow and develop and hatch, it is beneficial to keep your pet on year-round flea control. This stops the cycle in its tracks. Here’s the thing: once an egg hatches and an adult emerges, the adult will be killed as soon as it reaches the pet. No breeding. No eggs.
Flea bombing the house can be really helpful in killing adults and eggs and larvae. However, we know that very few products kill the pupal stage of the flea. So you have to wait until the pupae hatch into adults to be able to kill them effectively, which may take weeks to months to even years! But if your pet is on a good flea prevention product, any pupae that hatch at anytime will be killed as soon as they reach your furry friend.
The bottom line: A flea infestation in the home is best fought by using a quality flea control product continuously, all year long, along with a home flea treatment.
Give us a call to help rid your home, your pet, and your life of fleas!!