Everybody loves spring! No matter how many springs you’ve experienced, it still feels just as good every year when the days start getting longer and warmer.
Humans and dogs aren’t the only creatures who appreciate spring though. One of the critters we all detest, the flea, also likes spring because with spring and warmer temperatures the flea’s life cycle begins to revolve quicker and our pets are more susceptible to flea infestation simply because they are so many of the nasty little bugs running around looking for a place to party.
The life cycle of the flea has four distinct phases: Egg, Larvae, Pupa, and Adult.
The adult flea can have a life span of about 30 days, up to as much as a year and a half under ideal conditions.
A female flea will lay about 20 to 28 eggs a day. She will lay hundreds of eggs over her life span. These eggs fall off the pet and develop where they land. They are small and can easily develop in carpet and the cracks in wood floors or other small crevices.
A larva hatches from the flea egg. It takes as few as 9 days to as long as 200 days to go through its growth stages. At this time is forms a cocoon, becomes a pupa, and waits for the right time to hatch. Flea pupae prefer temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees and humidity of 75 to 85 per cent. This range determines the period of time that fleas are a problem in our area.
At the pupa stage the flea is nearly impossible to kill with pesticides. The cocoon that surrounds the pupa is impervious to water and insecticides. This means that if your pet had fleas last summer; there could still be fleas in your pet’s environment in the form of pupa. As temperatures warm and humidity increases the pupae emerge as adult fleas, mate, lay eggs and start the whole cycle over again.
The life history of the flea makes it a very difficult pest to eradicate from your home. Veterinary entomologists estimate that for every adult flea living on a pet, there are at least 10 fleas in different stages of development living in the pet’s environment. That’s why it’s so important to take the necessary steps to avoid getting them in the house in the first place.
There are several very effective topical flea prevention plans, the most popular being Advantage and Frontline. These treatments contain low doses of insecticides that spread through the pet’s skin via the natural skin emollients. A flea will die within hours if it comes in contact with a pet that has been treated with one of these products.
Once your pet has been infested with fleas it becomes absolutely necessary to treat the pet’s environment. All bedding must be washed, carpets must be treated and your home should be treated with an insect fogger. Be sure the fogger contains “IGR” which stands for Insect Growth Regulator. IGR contains a protein that prevents eggs and larvae from maturing into the larval or pupa stages.
The bottom line is that it’s best to avoid ever getting fleas in you home by keeping your pet on a proven flea prevention program such as Advantage or Frontline. These products insure that if a flea gets on your pet the flea will die before it has a chance to mate, lay eggs, and spread in your home.