Hello again….Fleas!!!

I realize I have been rather lax with my postings for quite some time.  Since I’m coming upon the time when I need to be writing my thesis I shall naturally be avoiding that completely and most likely posting here more often.  So check back frequently for random insect and science related musings!  Until my next post, here are some nifty tidbits about fleas and how to deal with them.

Oh Fleas….mother fraking fleas.  My cats have them now.  It wasn’t an issue at my last few apartments but the new duplex seems to provide them a nice happy home.  Well, I like this place so why not the fleas,  right?  So what should I do?  What would you do?  What would Jesus do?

Well, I don’t know about Mr. Christ or you, but as an Entomology nerd and certified Crazy Cat Lady I set out to figure this out and by golly I did!  Frontline or Advantage is essential.  Fipronil (Frontline) and Imidacloprid (Advantage) work the best.  I personally use Frontline. Do not use any of those HARTZ things, be them the goops (Science Jargon!) or collars.  Those products are ineffective and have been linked to pet deaths and illnesses.  Yes, all products have been demonstrated to be linked to illness and deaths and this typically results in user error and stupidity.  (Lots of fleas on your cat does not mean you need need to use two, three or five treatments at once!  If you are one of those people please stop breeding.)

Ticks to be aware of. Lonestar and Black Legged Ticks are of particular concern.

**Depending upon where you live and if disease vectoring ticks are present should influence your decision on these two products.  If Black Legged Ticks are present then you will probably want to use one that effects ticks as well as fleas.**

Flea Head
Isn’t it cute!!! It must die!

I got a bit side tracked…Frontline or Advantage…yes.  There is also a pill that seems to work well.  That is step one!  Step, two…Clean Your Home!  Vacuum every carpeted and upholstered surface thoroughly.  Then do it again.  Then do it again.  If you have a canister vacuum be sure to dump it regularly.  If you have a vacuum with a bag you will need to throw away the bag between each vacuuming.  Have rugs?  Vacuum those suckers than put them outside where they can have sun exposure (if possible) but mostly so they can freeze the fleas (please note that freezing does nothing to bed bugs so do not think you can do this for them).  Sweep, dust, sterilize when able and scrub surfaces.

Step 3.  If needed here is where your chemical treatment comes in.  Flea & Bug Bombs are NOT effective at managing fleas.  We encounter the same problem when using these bombs for fleas as we do with bed bugs. They chemical works great if it gets directly on the insect but if you have a home with harborages (like say, carpet, cupboards, tables, or things with stuff) then the fleas, bed bugs ,etc will have a place to hide and be protected from the chemical.  Sure, some will bite the dust (or spray as it were) but not all and that’s what we’re going for here.

When choosing a chemical to treat your home remember this little mnemonic:

Pyrethrins: Pie is good!

Permethrin: Permanently kills your cat.  :(

Remember that Pyerethrins are more of a knockdown treatment rather than a permanent solution.  Utilize an IMP (Integrated Pest Management) approach when using it.  In other words, integrate things like cleaning your home and treating your cat/dog into the chemical treatment of your home as well.

Summary:

Step 1) Treat your pet appropriately!

Step 2) Clean your home already!

Step 3) Chemical treatment of your home and surroundings if necessary.

For more information about flea control check out this great site: FLEA CONTROL

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