These little pests are tiny, but mighty, and are a huge problem. They make your pets miserable and itchy, and they are known to spread disease, and once they set up operations in your home, they are hard to exterminate. So, why are they difficult to get rid of?
A Flea’s Life Cycle
The stages in a flea’s life are a big reason they are hard to wipe out. When adult females get on a pet they begin feeding on the blood of the animal, and a female can lay up to up to 50 eggs a day. Mature fleas can stay on a pet for several months, so as you can imagine that means in three months, one mature female will have laid up to about 4,500 eggs. If your pet has even 10 mature female fleas feeding from its blood that number increases to 45,000. You can see the math from there and see how a flea problem can quickly increase exponentially when you figure 10 adult females per household pet, just as an example. Flea eggs will fall off the pet and will hatch and grow into adults in the environment.
Eggs can be hatched in the carpet, wall and floor cracks and crevices and other difficult places to access. Within approximately a week or two the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae prefer places like bedding, carpet, beneath furniture and other out of the way, dark places where they can develop into pupae which will wrap themselves into sticky cocoons so they can complete their development.
Once in their cocoon, even if they have transformed into adults, the flea can remain there for many months until an oblivious host happens along. Fleas will get into your home by getting on animals that have been outside or on our clothes or on a rat or mouse that has found its way into your home.
Fleas are tiny and very difficult to see, and flea eggs, larvae and pupae cannot be seen with the naked eye. So how can you tell if you have a flea issue? Well one way is to look for “flea dirt” or dried blood. The problem is, by the time you have seen the dried blood, you can bet you already have an infestation in full swing. Especially when you consider that the mature fleas only really represent about 5% of the flea infestation. Translated, that means that 95% of the problem involves portions of the flea’s life cycle that you cannot even see.
That means that the way to dispose of your flea population is to break the life cycle. This must be acted on swiftly to keep the females from laying more eggs and to stop the development of those eggs into larvae and pupae and beyond.
The first step is to treat your pet or pets to eliminate the fleas’ food source. You should check with your veterinarian to see what anti-flea treatments are available to eliminate the fleas on your pets and how the product works because different products work in different ways. Some treatments kill the mature fleas, while others stop females from laying eggs. Check with your vet to get recommendations for treatments.
Remember flea treatments must be conducted year-round. The winter doesn’t eliminate fleas, they only lie dormant for a time and the indoor heat can trigger the life cycle to continue even when it is cold outside if the eggs and pupae are still inside.
Treating the Environment
Once your pet has been treated the environment also needs to be treated. The best way to treat the environment is cleaning, here are some suggestions:
- Vacuum often, multiple times a week. Especially in those dark areas that eggs, larvae, and pupae are likely to be found. Also hit cushions, bedding, pillows, and upholstery.
- Wash pet beds in hot soapy water.
- Discard pet toys and buy new ones.
- Seek professional help with All-Natural Pest Elimination, to ensure your flea infestation is handled.
Fighting fleas on your own can be challenging and frustrating, especially when you fail to get rid of them. Instead, call All-Natural Pest Elimination today at 877-662-8449 if you have a flea infestation and let us help you get control of your home once again.