Now the Autumn weather has finally set in I am sure like myself many have turned on their central heating. However with central heating comes the problem that so many of us pet owners hate…… 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 making it harder to resolve. I always like to educate my clients to understand this cycle so that it makes the whole process more bearable and manageable.
The flea life cycle comprises of 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 the eggs will start to 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. The larvae then feed 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 highly resistant 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 sadly turning the heating on and spending more time in the home during the colder months 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 ?? As you can imagine with studies and new chemicals the flea product market is booming with so many different choices. Spot-ons, tablets, collars, injections the list goes on …. But what is the best to use ? Firstly its about understanding how it works and how fast you are going to rid yourself of these pesky insects! If you just choose to 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 pets bedding. If you want to reduce this to about 3 weeks then an environment product will also be needed. GOOD TIP 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. I always like to risk assess each family as an individual before deciding what is the best treatment to use. General parasite protection is a must when providing your pet with a healthy happy life but it does come with a cost . However money can easily be wasted when purchasing ineffective products and not seeking expert advice. Questions need to be asked like … How old is the pet? What sort of environment do they live in?, Are there any underlying medical issues that need to be considered? I am happy to help you find a solution to your parasite issues.
Sadly its not just fleas that can cause us to itch however if your still having problems despite taking the measures outlined above then something might 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.