WHY, is it so hard to get rid of fleas?
by Julie Harris
Are fleas related to Houdini??
Fleas are parasites which take our pets and our homes frightening hostage, causing stress as well as numerous medical problems.
Flea treatments are readily available coupled with good advice from many pet professional, you would think eliminating them should be easy, BUT they are sneaky suckers, fast, small, agile with many evasive moves and a life cycle that would make Houdini proud. Once our pets get fleas even a committed course of action can still be frustratingly lacking in our quest to rid our lives of them.
SO WHY IS IT SO HARD?
There are many variables when dealing with fleas: heat, humidity, environment, food source, health of the host, availability of the host, light, dark, the list is endless. For this reason any one part of the flea's life cycle can last from a matter of days to over a year, so just when you think you have cracked it and can relax, think again. Never let your guard down.
The fleas life cycle simply is:
Adult flea lays up to 50 eggs a day
Eggs hatch to larvae
Larvae transition to Pupa
Pupa hatch to adults
Off we go again
A flea lays her eggs on the host - your dog - after a blood meal. Imagine the eggs are like the hundreds and thousands that you put on your ice cream! Your dog is having a great day running around the house, chilling on the sofa, out in the car, and all the time the eggs are dropping off EVERYWHERE. Not just where your pet sleeps but EVERYWHERE.
Given the right environment the eggs will hatch into larvae anytime between 1-10 days. Now larvae do the most amazing disappearing act because they are photophobic, they hate light, so they move to the darkest place possible, deep into furnishings and cracks; under furniture, anywhere out of easy reach for between 4-18 days until they spin a cocoon and enter the pupa stage. Unfortunately this cocoon protects the pupa giving it super powers and household flea treatments are rendered useless. Pupa are tough, staying in this stage waiting for the right conditions to hatch - anything from 3 days to a year, leaving our homes vulnerable to be infested again at any point.
HOW DO WE BREAK THE CYCLE?
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- We can make our pets undesirable to fleas, shampooing regularly with a repellent shampoo like My Groomer Recommends No More Fleas.
- Speak to your vet about flea preparations that need to be given regularly to make sure whenever those pupa hatch and the adult flea goes looking for a blood meal our pets are covered.
- Groom your pets regularly and look for signs of fleas. Flea dirts look like black sand on your dog's coat.
- Take note of any behaviour changes, excessive scratching or chewing.
- Vacuum regularly in all those hard-to-get places and don’t forget your car. If your pet has been in your car then eggs will have dropped off in there. Spray household flea spray into your vacuum to kill any eggs, larvae or adult fleas that you have collected. Remember pupa are unaffected by treatments due to their hard shell.
- Wash all bedding including yours if your dog sleeps on the bed.
If your dog no longer has fleas remember there maybe some pupa lurking around in their protective shell waiting for the right moment to emerge and reinfect your dog again. It only takes one! Scaringly an adult flea can lay up to 350 eggs a week if they all hatched that’s 123,000 in as quick as two weeks.
If you understand how to break the cycle and ensure robust action is taken with vacuuming and treating your pet and your environment you can crack it, remember you have to track them down.