Why do I need to treat the home for fleas?
Surprisingly, only 5% of fleas live on our pets – the other 95% live hidden in the home! So, for every flea on your pet, another 20 lurk elsewhere unseen, living as eggs, larvae and pupae as part of the life cycle.
Only when they become adult fleas do they jump onto our pets (dogs, cats, rabbits) – and sometimes us – to feed. No matter how spotlessly clean your house, no matter whether you vacuum every day, fleas are masters at hiding away. One or two fleas on your pet can become thousands of fleas in your home, so it’s best not to let them spiral out of control.
Fascinating facts: the life cycle of the flea
Know thine enemy! Understanding the stages that fleas go through in your home will help you to tackle them.
How do I treat my home for fleas?
How you do this is as important as what you do it with.
Use a good-quality, veterinary-recommended, insecticide spray such as Indorex Defence Spray or R.I.P. Fleas Extra. The most effective products contain permethrin or imidacloprid to kill the adult fleas and an insect growth regulator such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen, which will stop the eggs and larvae from developing. Note that none of these will penetrate the cocoons.
Here are the essential steps to prepare for a successful spray:
• Remove pet food and water dishes and the pets themselves. Birds and fish tanks in particular must be kept away from these sprays.
• Now remove all toys, clothes and anything else on the floors and under the beds, so that you can treat all areas properly.
• Gather all the pet bedding up for a 60-degree hot wash and repeat this regularly.
• VACUUM – and take time to do this thoroughly.
Why it is important to vacuum first?
• To remove many of the eggs, larvae and pupae in your home.
• To stimulate the fleas to emerge from those protective cocoons.
• To raise the carpet nap for penetration of the spray
Where should I vacuum?
• Where your pets walk, rest and sleep – and everywhere else!
• All soft furnishings, the edges of rooms, beneath the furniture, cushions, beds and rugs.
• Finally, seal the vacuum bag and discard it in your dustbin or wash the collection chamber in hot, soapy water
So, now that you’re ready for action…
How do I use an environmental flea spray?
Why can I still see fleas after spraying my home?
It is normal to see some fleas after treatment. These will be the just-hatched ones who have not yet succumbed to the spray. Remember, the cocoons are resistant, so keep vacuuming to stimulate hatching. Keep treating all your pets with an appropriate flea treatment too.
How long does it take to get rid of fleas?
Experts advise that it takes up to 12 weeks completely to get rid of a flea problem. During this time, you need to apply first-class on-pet or tablet treatment at the right intervals, as well as treating your home.
Can I use foggers to treat the home?
The total-release insect foggers, sometimes referred to as “flea bombs” or “bug bombs”, are NOT recommended. That’s because, while they are easy to use, they are seldom effective enough against fleas, partly because the ingredients are released upwards into the air and may not reach the areas where the eggs and larvae are living.
Do I need to treat the outdoors?
If your dog spends a lot of time in a kennel or run, or lying on the decking, you may need to treat these too. If you are unsure whether an outdoor area is infested or not, walk through the area wearing white socks which can be pulled up fairly high, with your trousers tucked in. If adult fleas are present, they will be seen against the white background of the socks.
How do I treat outdoors?
Areas exposed to the full sun aren’t such a problem, as they’re less preferred by the fleas. For runs and large kennelling areas, use a liquid insecticide containing pyriproxyfen, which will prevent the hatching and development of flea eggs and larvae for several months. Read the instructions and, after diluting in water if directed, apply with a pump-up sprayer. A spray may be appropriate for a single/smaller kennel. Hot-wash or discard all bedding.
How do I avoid a future flea problem?
Regularly hot-wash pet bedding and treat all the furry pets in your household with a suitable product that quickly kills adult fleas before they can start to lay eggs – this is critical. Always ensure that the product you are using is suitable for your pet; some products are toxic to certain species.
Repeat the treatment at the recommended time interval or there will be periods where adult fleas will not be killed and more eggs will contaminate the home
If you have struggled to get on top of a flea problem, it is worth taking veterinary advice and choosing veterinary-recommended products. Members of our Vet on the Net team are available for you 7 days a week by phone or video consultation.
Adult fleas can consume up to 15 times their body weight in blood per day.
Flea faeces are dark in colour because they contain digested blood. You may see “flea dirts” on your pet or the bedding – if wetted they will develop a reddish stain.
Flea larvae eat the flea faeces, so the parent fleas are providing food for their offspring. Delightful, eh?