Historically, fleas are an important pest. It was the flea that transmitted the disease organism that caused "The Plague" a few centuries back. Fleas are still capable of carrying a number of diseases, but outbreaks in the US are limited. For most of us, flea bites to both people and their pets cause skin irritation. But the cost and inconvenience of eliminating a flea infestation can be great.
Transportation of fleas into the home occurs due to this insect's ability to hop onto a host. Fleas dwelling outdoors may survive under shrubs near buildings, hopping off one host such as a dog, cat or person and then hopping onto a new one. In cases where there are no pets, it has been shown that fleas may come in with other "uninvited" animals such as mice, rats, squirrels or raccoons and sometimes even with people walking past flea infested areas.
Fleas are uniquely designed. Viewed from the side, they seem to have much of the substance the photos above show. When viewed from above, below or from the front or back, these insects are almost as thin as paper. This slender shape permits fleas to easily navigate through the hairs of animals.
Fleas can multiply rapidly during warm, humid weather causing grief for both pets and their owners. Then there is the unlucky person that arrives to open a seasonal home and is immediately accosted by previously dormant fleas. Fleas can overwinter in unoccupied structures where no host organism is present for many months. Any vibration, such as that of someone entering a room, may bring the fleas quickly out of their dormant stage.
Prevention of fleas infestations is not always possible, but preventative applications of a variety of different insecticides may provide some protection. Fleas collars may also help. A veterinarian can now dispense preventative flea treatment to help those pets that are often susceptible. Of course, steps to prevent other host animals from entering a building by making repairs as needed, is essential.
Once fleas are established in a building, treatment is highly recommended. There are several ways of treating a flea infestation. First, we offer Petcor Flea Spray to help remove fleas from pets. This product uses pyrethrins, an organic component along with Precor IGR Concentrate (methoprene), an insect growth regulator which helps to kill fleas by stopping their development.
Along with treating the pets and preferably at the same time, it is a good idea to treat the premises. Sprays such as Permacide P-1, when used in conjunction with Precor IGR Concentrate, may be applied to floor coverings and upholstery as well as pet bedding or other areas, as needed. The active ingredient in the Permacide P-1, 0.5% permethrin, will continue to kill adult fleas for up to 3 to 4 weeks while the methoprene in the Precor IGR Concentrate will prevent immature fleas from becoming biting adults for up to 7 months. Another approach is to use total release foggers (some call these "bombs") such as Pro Control Plus, may be used alone or in conjunction with the liquid spray, but we recommend the liquid spray over the use of the foggers because it provides better residual control of fleas.
Finally, we offer the Victor Ultimate Flea Trap as a pesticide free alternative. These units are approximately 6" in diameter and are placed on the floor where fleas are active or suspected. They incorporate a 7 watt light bulb that shines over a sticky trap. The warmth and light of the bulb attract the fleas. Refills for these units are available. We have had only positive feedback about this product.
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