Summer is traditionally prime flea season. But with people working or at least spending more time at home, and with pet adoption rates reaching record numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are predicting a rise in flea activity.
National Dog Day is set for next Wednesday, August 26. Clark, your friendly pest control, termite, and lawn care expert, would like to help you protect man’s best friend – and cats, too, as well as the humans in your family – from annoying fleas.
The primary flea threat to dogs and cats is the cat flea. These bothersome little insects prefer living in areas frequented by pets and other animals while they are on the prowl for their next meal. Like many insects, fleas can adapt to both indoor and outdoor settings. An adult cat flea survives on a liquid diet of blood from whatever unlucky animal that it selects to attach itself.
These tiny insects – cat fleas only measure 1/8 inch in length – are typically brownish-black in color, but they turn red when filled with blood after feeding. They are also quite the little athlete, possessing the ability to jump six inches straight up – thus giving them the ability to leap from the ground onto an animal or even the pant leg or shoe of an unsuspecting human.
Fleas are prodigious breeders, and that can make them very difficult to control if they establish themselves in your home. In fact, a flea can produce as many as 400 to 500 offspring in its lifetime. That’s why an effective flea management program requires treating infected animals by a veterinarian, cleaning flea-infested areas, and taking preventative measures to keep the fleas from returning.
Also, fleas can be a problem for people even if they do not own a pet, because other animals – raccoons, and opossums – are also readily available flea transporters.
Flea prevention tips
What can you do to help prevent fleas from turning into an unwanted problem for your pets and family? Clark offers the following flea control tips:
- Regularly clean all surfaces that your pet frequents, and vacuum carpets (especially under furniture) and upholstered furniture, including under cushions and in crevices.
- Wash pet bedding, collars, plush toys, and throw rugs regularly and separately from other linens.
- On the exterior of your home, focus your efforts on areas when your pets spend time, including lawns and shaded areas under landscape bushes. Keep your grass cut, and trim weeds and overgrown shrubbery that give fleas shelter.
- Examine pets' coats thoroughly for fleas, especially after they spend time outdoors. Pay attention to any excessive scratching and licking.
- Talk with your veterinarian or animal groomer for recommendations on on-animal prevention and treatment options.
If you think your home has a flea infestation, Clark Pest Control can help. If the infestation is serious enough, Clark can perform an indoor treatment that follows all CDC guidelines for social distancing and includes wearing personal protective equipment.
If your home is having an indoor treatment performed, we recommend doing the following before and after the service:
- Vacuum all rugs, carpets, and furniture – especially between and under cushions. Then, tightly seal and dispose of the vacuum bag outside.
- Clear and clean all floors, even closets. Mop all tile and vinyl floors. Sweep all concrete floors.
- Remove all decorative items such as pillows and blankets. Be sure to check for items under beds and furniture.
- Remove all pets and pet accessories, including pet food and water dishes. Fishbowls and aquariums may remain if properly covered and the air pump is shut off during treatment.
- Show your service technician where your pets sleep, rest, and eat.
- Wait to resume normal vacuuming 24 hours after a home has been treated to allow the pest control materials time to work.
- Continue vacuuming for two to three weeks at intervals of three to four days. The vacuum's mechanical pressure will improve the effectiveness of the products used by stimulating unhatched fleas to emerge from their protective pupae cases.
- Expect to see some adult fleas for up to three weeks after treatment. Flea pupae are protected by their cocoons. They will continue to emerge over a period of one to three weeks. Once exposed to residual product, they will be eliminated.
Call or text Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) if you think your home has fleas. One of our highly trained technicians will come to your home for a free inspection to see what you are dealing with. You can also email us at email@example.com for more information.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.