Don’t get the itch this winter !

With Autumn just around the corner more of us are taking the plunge and turning on our central heating. However, with central heating comes the problem that so many of us pet owners fear…… fleas !! Did you know that the fleas on your pet  represent only about 5% of the flea population. The other 95% sadly live in the environment that your pet spends its time in. To keep fleas at bay it’s important to understand the flea life cycle

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The life cycle comprises approximately –  eggs (50%), larvae (35%), pupae (10%), flea (5%).  When fleas land on your pet they will take a blood meal, breed and start to lay eggs. As your pet walks around the house eggs  will drop into the environment, there they will hatch into larvae. Larvae don’t like light so they will burrow away into carpets, bedding and floor cracks. There they live off flea dirt and skin debris and then eventually spin into a pupae. Whilst in the pupae state the flea develops before peaking out to find a host (you or your pet!) The pupae have a very tough coating which makes them robust to vacuuming and chemicals. When the pre-emerging fleas are faced with the correct stimuli they will hop onto their host…and so the cycle starts again. Vibration, CO2 and humidity are what the fleas are looking for so turning the heating on and  spending more time in the home is creating the perfect ambiance. Pupae have been known to remain in the environment for up to 2 yrs waiting for the correct signals. This is what can confuse people when they move into a new house, have no pets yet seem to get bitten.

So how do you tackle the flea burden ?? If you just use effective flea treatment on your pet then it would take about 6 weeks to get control, this is allowing for the various stages of the life cycle to complete and re-infest your pet. You would need to back this up with regular vacuuming and washing of your pet’s bedding. If you want to reduce this to about 3 weeks then an environment product will also be needed. Ensure that before using the household products you turn your heating up, place bowls of steamy water into each room and hoover. This will ensure that you can eradicate as much of the flea life cycle as possible. I would also recommend that you repeat this process in 10-14 days. The pupae is the most resistant of the cycle and so leaving some time gives the immature fleas time to develop in the pupae and allow them to be ready to hatch out at your next treatment.

Eliminating fleas is about providing effective treatment correctly and safely. If you’re still having problems despite taking these measures then something must be going wrong. Are you flea products effective? Are you following the correct instructions for their use ? If you find that you are experiencing problems and have a flea problem then please get in touch. I hope this helps in understanding what we are up against when we are faced with a flea infestation.

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