|Home of safe and far more effective flea control.
Did you every wonder about the warning on a flea collar that warns you not to touch for your pet to wear 24 hours a day, week after week after weak after weak...?
PEST OVERVIEW - THE SIX-LEGGED VAMPIRE THAT JUMPS
Although there are over 2,200 species of fleas worldwide, with over 250 species of fleas described just in North America, only a few are commonly encountered by humans with enough frequency to be considered pests. These include the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouche), the dog flea, C. canis (Curtis), the human flea, Pulex irritans (L), and the oriental rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis (Rothschild). Other species, such as the rabbit flea, Cediopyslla symplex, the mouse flea, Ctenopsyllus segnis, the ground squirrel flea, Diamanus montanus (Baker), and Oropsylla hirsuta, a flea that feeds primarily on prairie dogs, may occasionally achieve pest status when their host mammals nest in or near structures or the fleas attack hunters and hikers. Some, such as the northern rat flea, ground squirrel flea, and Oropsylla hirsuta are important vectors of sylvatic plague, bubonic plague, and murine typhus.
Just about every flea feeds only on one creature.They are narrow, small, wingless insects, red, brown or black in color and are protected by a hard flat shell. They are hard to see and even harder to kill with pesticide poisons - so why use any dangerous poison? When you try to find this tiny (1/32”-1/3”) invader, remember to check your pet closely behind the ears, at the base of tail, on the stomach and between the toes. The flea has armor-like plates in layers - each with backward pointing spikes (or spines) so they can move easily and quickly through hair or feathers. Their feet have double claws for holding on to their host and they also have a barbed “mustache” under their mouth to further anchor them to the skin as they feed with their piercing -sucking mouth parts. You normally can not feel the flea bite as it actually occurs; it is the saliva that soon sets off an itching reaction. Their bites cause an inflammation of the skin and can carry disease and parasites.
Flea management is best done via management of the host animal’s habitat. Since fleas must spend at least part of their life cycle on their host, the chances of encountering fleas in areas of the host’s habitat where it spends most of its time (e.g., its den or nest) are much greater than in any general area, such as a field or barn in which the host may or may not be found at a given time. One author has suggested that most fleas spend more time in the host nest or burrow than on the host itself (Benton 1980). Each year, 52 million pet owners spend about $500 million just on over-the-counter flea control products.
Adult fleas are truly the “vampires” of the insect world because they feed only on our blood and the blood of our pets.
Fleas can pull up to 400 times their own weight. Fleas literally “fly” with their hind legs; they can jump 150-200 times their body length (the equivalent of a man jumping 1,400-1,800 feet!) On takeoff, a flea is moving 20 to 50 times faster than a space rocket. Behind their legs is a rubbery muscular protein that allows them to move against gravity 135 times faster than you or me. After its lift-off, the flea cartwheels end over end, until it reaches its new host/meal. One pair of mating fleas living for nine months can theoretically produce a quarter of a million little “vampires”, or up to one trillion offspring in a year! To the voracious little flea, dogs, cats, birds, humans or even elephants are simply something to eat.
Controls - Frequently launder pet bedding and rugs that pets frequent in hot, soapy water and dry in a clothes dryer or direct sunlight. Steam clean, vacuum and/or rinse-and-vac carpets with Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaners with peppermint thoroughly to remove lint and dust around baseboards and cracks where flea eggs and larvae accumulate. Eliminate vegetation that will harbor native mammals and/or rodents. Prevent pets from resting under the building, and exclude wild mammals by screening attic and eaves entrances. Thoroughly clean furniture in areas that pets tend to frequent and use. Wash and clean frequently using diluted Safe Solutions enzyme cleaners. Most research shows adult fleas rarely leave the host ( the primary environment); the second environment is the carpet/floor or nest/burrow which contains the majority of the flea eggs, larvae and pupae. You can lightly dust with food grade DE. You can also wrap duct tape around your legs (sticky side out) and trap the fleas when they jump on you.
The secret to flea population management is the flea’s life cycle; the adult must contribute timely nourishment for larvae under special conditions or the young will not survive. No longer a regional problem, today fleas are common in all parts of the country except very dry areas (so install a dehumidifier and a fan). The most important and common species that you must manage is the cat flea which feeds on a variety of hosts, including cats, dogs, rodents, foxes, opossums and humans. This flea prefers pets and will not affect humans unless populations are excessive or the pet is removed from its resting areas. The situation that occurs when families remove the pet, take a vacation, then return home to find ravenous fleas is not uncommon.
You must control both inside and outside environments to control the flea infestation.
Need more data? I have written a free chapter on how to control fleas at: http://www.stephentvedten.com/19_Fleas.pdf