When your customer’s house (and pet!) space infested with fleas, that takes a thorough treatment to take care of the problem.

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Editor"s note: The adhering to article showed up in the June 2011 worry of PCT as component of our flea regulate coverage.
Fleas are small, wingless insects the feed top top the blood that animals and also people. Many flea problems are brought about by the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. This flea feeds top top cats, dogs and also wildlife. Other kinds the fleas, such as the dog flea, human flea and also rat flea, room less typical on pets and also in homes. Fortunately, fleas need not be a serious problem since there are many effective treatments.
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM. Adult cat fleas are around 1/8 inch long (1 come 3 mm). They are brownish-black, flattened looking and also without wings. Backward-pointing bristles assist fleas relocate through the hairs or feathers of organize animals and make lock more daunting to eliminate by grooming. The six legs, especially the hind pair, are long and adapted for jumping. Flea larvae are much less than 1/4 customs long 
(6 mm), legless and dirty white in color. The most most likely place to discover larvae is in infested pet bedding.
UNDERSTANDING FLEAS. During their life cycle fleas pass through 4 stages — egg, larva, pupa and adult. Although they have the right to jump, adult fleas perform not usually travel long ranges without a host. Fleas choose to wait and jump onto a pass animal. As soon as aboard, they stay until they space dislodged or groomed indigenous the animal. Without a host, adult fleas live only a few days to two weeks. Top top short-haired cats and also dogs fleas survive an typical of eight days; castle live much longer on long-haired animals.
The mrs flea begins laying eggs within two days of her very first blood meal. Four to ripe days later she to produce an median of 27 eggs every day, consuming around 15 times she body load in blood daily. Much of this blood is excreted as partly digested feces. Flea feces are a fine, reddish-black dust viewed in pet fur and also bedding. Flea larvae feeding on adult flea excrement. There is no it, they cannot survive, back they likewise may feeding on organic issue such together food particles, dead skin or feathers. Larvae build in five to 11 days.
Fleas execute not endure well the end in hot, clear lawns. Relative humidity less than 50 percent or soil temperature higher than 95°F kills flea larvae. Moist, shaded spots close to pet resting locations are the areas to discover fleas. Indoors, flea larvae space usually found under furniture and in pet bedding. The pupa is the change stage between the larva and adult. The pupa creates inside a cocoon spun by the larva. After ~ a mainly or 2 the pupa becomes an adult. The adult flea might remain in the cocoon for up to 5 months, but when stimulated by a passing pet the adult can emerge within seconds. Long-vacant dwellings or apartments have the right to "come alive" through such fleas when brand-new inhabitants relocate in.
ANIMAL and also HUMAN HEALTH. Fleas have the right to be a resource of both irritation and also disease. Dogs and cats scrape constantly when heavily infested, leading to soiled and roughened coats and, sometimes, in nervous conditions. The many serious impacts occur once a pet establishes an allergy to flea bites. As few as one or 2 bites can cause severe itching and scratching in allergic pets.
Cat fleas perform not typically live top top humans, but do bite civilization who take care of infested animals. Flea bites cause small, red, itchy bumps, usually on the ankles and also lower legs. People with allergies to flea bites experience from hives, rash or generalized itching. Allergic reactions usually show up 12 come 24 hrs after a bite, and also may last a main or more. Fleas that have actually fed top top rodents might transmit diseases, consisting of plague and also murine typhus. For this reason, protect against close contact with wild rodents such together squirrels, rats and prairie dogs. Your fleas can bite you and also may transmit disease. Cat fleas, however, do not bring plague.
CONTROL. An integrated flea control program includes an excellent sanitation and also treatment the the pet and environment.
Sanitation. Pest management expert should recommend to their customers to adjust pet bedding regularly and also vacuum thoroughly. Vacuuming clears up come 30 percent of the larvae and up to 60 percent that flea eggs from a carpet, and also the larvae’s food it is provided of dried blood. Homeowners must vacuum under furniture, cushions, chairs, beds and along walls. Vacuum cleaner bags should be discarded at least once a week. Fleas can proceed to construct inside vacuum cleaner bags and re-infest the house.
Treating Pets. A pet’s first line that defense against fleas is a flea comb and also a an excellent bath. Soap acts together a gentle insecticide and also helps regulate light infestations ~ above a customer’s pet. Despite time consuming, combing helps mitigate the need for insecticides.
Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, space a preventative treatment because that fleas. These assets work by disrupting the normal advancement of flea eggs and also larvae. When exposed to IGRs, adult fleas are unable to reproduce; eggs fail to hatch and also larvae die before they complete their development. Due to the fact that most IGRs kill only eggs and also larvae, they execute not get rid of adult fleas quickly. For this reason, they room usually combined with a gentle insecticide. Insect growth regulators are obtainable as sprays, spot-ons, pills or food additives.
Treating Homes. The pet’s living locations should be treated at the exact same time the the pets is treated. This kills immature and also newly emerging fleas and also prevents re-infestation that the pet. Several low-toxicity treatments are available for indoor use. Citrus sprays include limonene or linalool have the right to be applied to rugs, carpeting and pet bedding. These assets kill fleas top top contact, however evaporate quickly and leave little residual protection against emerging fleas.
Cat fleas sometimes lug an intestinal parasite referred to as dog tapeworm, Diphylidium caninum. The dog tapeworm has an amazing life cycle. It stays in the minister tracts that dogs, cats and sometimes humans. This long, planarization worms consists of up to 200 human body segments (called proglottids) and also may with a size of 12 inch (30 cm). Once mature, these segments detach from the main body the the tapeworm and also wriggle native the anus of an infected animal.
Fresh tapeworm segments are opaque white or pinkish white, flat and somewhat rectangular. When recently emerged, they relocate with a stretching-out and shrinking-back motion. Once dry, the segments room yellow or off-white, approximately an 1/8th inch lengthy (2-3 mm) rice-shaped sacs. Each sac consists of tapeworm eggs. Tapeworm egg sacs are typically seen attached come hairs approximately the pet’s anus, in feces or in the bedding of infested pets. Flea larvae feed on tapeworm egg sacs. When inside the flea, the tapeworm egg hatch and also the flea becomes infested. Infested adult fleas carry a stage of the tapeworm that have the right to mature and also multiply if the flea is swallowed by a pet.
During grooming, pets often ingest together tapeworm-infected fleas. As soon as released right into the pet’s digestive tract, tapeworms mature right into adult forms. On rare occasions, little children might ingest fleas and become infested in this way. If girlfriend or your customers view proglottids in the pet’s feces or bedding, the owner should have actually the pet treated. Veterinarians deserve to prescribe pills or injections to safely treat for tapeworms in pets.
Boron-based products, such as disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, deserve to be offered on indoor carpeting and also have tiny skin (dermal) toxicity. Borates death immature fleas by contaminating your food supply. Due to the fact that adult fleas feed on new blood only, boron insecticides execute not manage this life stage. Borate treatments room best applied as shampoos come avoid difficulties with dustiness, abrasion come carpets, and contamination of furniture or food ready surfaces. The insect growth regulators methoprene and pyriproxyfen can be used indoors. Although methoprene is stormy in sunlight, that is an efficient indoor treatment. Pyriproxyfen sprays deserve to be applied both indoors and outdoors. Pyriproxyfen controls both immature and also adult fleas. Indoors, treat pet loafing and sleeping areas, and in and under surrounding furniture. Outdoors, treat only flea breeding sites such together bedding areas, the soil under decks and shrubbery, and wherever pets spend a lot of time. Well maintained lawns in clear sites are unlikely to harbor numerous fleas.
Follow-up. Because flea pupae are difficult to kill v insecticides, second follow-up therapy is usually essential 7 to 10 work after the an initial application. As soon as using short-residual insecticides such together pyrethrins, two or 3 follow-up sprays at five- come 10-day intervals may be required.
SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS. It’s necessary to undertake the suitable protective clothes when applying pesticides. Lengthy pants, a long-sleeved shirt, socks and also shoes are the minimum. Examine the pesticide brand for added safety requirements. When mixing liquid pesticide wear unlined, chemistry resistant gloves. Allow pesticide sprays to dried thoroughly before letting human being or pets into a treated area. Never ever dispose of unused pesticides in storm sewers, toilets or sinks. This pollutes the environment and also can result in i have lot of money clean-ups for cities/towns. Phone call customers the leftover flea dip may be poured onto a grassy area for organic degradation, or disposed that in some other manner as stated on the label.
Buildings sometimes come to be infested v fleas also when there are no pet around. Other pets such as bats, roof rats, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and cats commonly colony in structures and may it is in the resource of one infestation. PMPs need to treat for fleas and seal openings through which wildlife may go into the home/building.

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Mike seller is a professor and also extension entomologist v Texas A&M University. James Robinson is a retired extension entomologist from the exact same institution. 

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break the Flea Life Cycle: Why IGRs Are an essential to Eradication Although over there are about 2,500 species of fleas worldwide, only about 325 appear in the joined States. The cat flea is the predominant varieties PMPs conference in homes. In fact, much more than 90 percent the the fleas found on pets, and feral dogs and cats, are cat fleas, follow to the Mallis Handbook of pest Control.