To get a good integrated flea control program you must includes good sanitation and treatment of the pet and environment. You can eliminate fleas from your home or building with proper treatment, but it may take time and perseverance, especially if the infestation is heavy.
To be successful you need to vacuum thoroughly and change pet bedding regularly. Vacuuming removes up to 30 percent of the larvae and up to 60 percent of flea eggs from a carpet depending on your vacuum cleaner, as well as the larvae’s food supply of dried blood.
If you really want success with flea control be thorough when vacuuming, you need to vacuum under furniture, cushions, chairs, beds, and along walls. Get rid of vacuum cleaner bags at least once a week, better yet get rid of bags when your through vacuuming. Fleas can continue to develop inside vacuum cleaner bags and re-infest the house.
Treating your Pets.
A flea comb and a good bath is your pet’s first line of defense for flea control. Soap acts as a gentle insecticide and helps control light infestations on your pet. Though time consuming, combing helps reduce the need for insecticides. Flea combs have fine teeth that remove adult fleas from fur. Most dogs and cats seem to enjoy this treatment; pay particular attention to the face and neck, and the area in front of the tail. Dip the comb frequently in soapy water or an alcohol solution to kill fleas removed from the pet.
Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, are a safe preventative treatment for fleas. These products work by disrupting the normal development of flea eggs and larvae. When exposed to IGRs, adult fleas are unable to reproduce; eggs fail to hatch and larvae die before they complete their development. Because most IGRs kill only eggs and larvae, they do not eliminate adult fleas quickly. For this reason, they are usually mixed with a mild insecticide.
Insect growth regulators are available as sprays, spot-ons, pills or food additives. One product designed for internal use is called Program® (active ingredient: lufenuron). Program® can be given as a pill (for dogs), food additive (for cats), or injection (for cats). A similar product, Sentinel®, contains lufenuron plus a heart-worm preventative. These products are available only through veterinarians. They are very effective for flea control, particularly for indoor pets.
Two other insect growth regulators for topical use are methoprene and pyriproxyfen. Methoprene is sold under several trade names including Precor® and vIGRen®. Methoprene and pyriproxyfen are available at pet stores as dips, pet sprays, spot-ons and flea collars. Control requires 4 to 6 weeks.
For severe flea problems and better flea control, an IGR treatment may not be quick enough. Use a product that kills adult fleas, such as imidacloprid (AdvantageTM) or fipronil (FrontlineTM). Both products have low toxicity to mammals and pose little risk to pets or people. AdvantageTM and FrontlineTM provide 1- and 3-month protection from fleas, respectively. FrontlineTM also kills ticks for up to 1 month after application. Both AdvantageTM and FrontlineTM are available from veterinarians as spray and spot-on treatments.
Spot-on treatments (pesticides applied to one or more spots on the animal’s back) control adult fleas effectively. Natural oils on the fur help transfer the pesticide to all parts of the pet’s body. Before you apply any products, read and follow label directions carefully. Puppies and cats are different from adult dogs and the products designed for them are different, unless specified on the label.
Botanical (plant-based) insecticides kill adult and larval fleas and are relatively low in toxicity. Botanical insecticides include pyrethrum (or pyrethrins) and citrus oil extracts (limonene and linalool). Use botanical insecticides with care. Though usually safe when applied according to label directions, some pets (especially certain cat breeds) are sensitive to botanicals-especially citrus oil products.
It is sometimes claimed that garlic, Brewer’s yeast, cedar bedding and various herbal sachets control fleas, but there is little scientific evidence to support such claims. Volatile oils in fresh cedar chips are toxic to fleas, but the effect lasts a very short time. Tests have shown that Brewer’s yeast does not protect pets from fleas.
One of the reasons the profession exterminator is successful with flea control is the application and the follow up. With out follow up you might as well not even bother.
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