Flea Facts

Flea season in Texas never truly ends but spring through fall see the worst cases of flea infestations.  Because they reproduce so rapidly, a few fleas can quickly become a few thousand.  Here are some important facts to help you and your pet become flea free.
 
Fleas have 4 life stages.

  1. Egg--eggs laid today will hatch in 2 months.
  2. Larvae--the eggs hatch and start finding places to hide (carpets, bedding, furniture, cracks in floorboards and tile, etc.)
  3. Pupa--the larva form cocoons that allow them to form their adult body and keeps them in stasis, for up to 6 months, until their new home walks by.  This stage is impervious to all flea preventions currently available.
  4. Adults--the adults jump on the nearest acceptable host and spend the rest of their lives on that animal.  They take their first blood meal within 5 minutes.  Then they start laying eggs of their own in 2-3 days and can lay up to 1000 eggs in 3 weeks.  Those eggs get spread around the house and yard like your pet is a four legged salt shaker.

 
Fleas can be carried into your yard by wild animals like opossums, foxes, and stray dogs and cats.  The eggs can also be carried on shoes and clothing so even an indoor only pet can get fleas.
 
Fleas can also cause health problems.

  1. Some pets are allergic to flea bites (Flea Allergic Dermatitis).  This can cause a great deal of discomfort to the pet and often results in them chewing and scratching their skin raw.
  2. Flea feeding sites can cause sores and infections in the skin.
  3. Fleas carry tapeworms.
  4. Very young and/or small animals can become anemic with heavy parasite burdens.

 
The best way to eliminate a flea infestation is a 3 pronged attack.

  1. Killing the fleas on the animal.  All pets in the house and especially outdoor pets should be treated.  So long as one pet has fleas, the eggs will spread.
  2. Getting rid of fleas in the enviroment.  Frequently vacuuming floors and washing pet bedding will reduce the first 3 stages in the house and chemical control outside will reduce the first 2 stages.
  3. Preventing the return of fleas.  Keep your pets on the prevention.  Any eggs still lingering will take time to hatch.  This can lead to a false sense of security and can cause the flea populations to resurge.

 

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