It Takes Work to Rid Home of Fleas

Fleas are a common nuisance.

A bit of information about your enemy will be helpful. The life cycle of fleas consists of four stages: the egg, larvae, pupae and adult. Approximately 95 percent of the fleas in your house are in the first three stages — and not living on the cats. For this reason, you can see that it is important to treat the environment. Most of the eggs and larvae will be concentrated wherever Ringo and George spend their time.

The adult fleas may lay eggs in the cats’ hair and the eggs fall off as the cats move about. Or the adult fleas may jump off the animal and lay eggs in the carpet, the cats’ favourite chair or other available places. Immature stages of these fleas mainly feed on adult fleas’ bowel movements, which are actually dried blood from the cats.

Your first step is to remove all adults and eggs from the cats and keep them off for 3-4 weeks using powders and sprays. Then you want to eradicate the other 95 percent of fleas from your house. Vacuum every inch of your house and mop the floors.

Think of all the nooks and crannies where the cats have been — the top of the refrigerator, under the couch, behind the bed, etc. When finished be sure to throw away the vacuum bag. Next, buy a good quality flea bomb or spray to kill the adult and pre-adult stages in the house. Your veterinarian can advise you about these products.

Remember that flea bombs will not reach everything. They just spray up in the air, spread out and settle down on the tops of whatever is under them. You should use a spray to reach the areas the bombs miss, such as under furniture.

Avoid vacuuming for several days so the long-acting ingredients in the flea sprays will continue to kill any fleas that hatch out at the cocoon (pupal) stage. The house may need to be re-treated in 10-14 days.

Of course, you always have the option of hiring a pest control company to do the job.

Article by Dr Wise of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, 309 W. Washington St., Suite 202, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

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