Summary: Flea treatments may vary depending upon who is giving the advice. Some people rely upon pesticide “bombs”, while others wash and dry everything. Still others vacuum everyday. So, what is the best flea control method?
There are no good shortcuts to effective flea control. There are no magic potions or secret scientific gadgets that will make fleas disappear. It takes hard work and determination to get rid of stubborn flea infestations. Period! It requires thorough inspection and some clear thinking to figure out how the fleas got inside in the first place and how to prevent them from regaining a foothold once you have eliminated them.
So, the first step for flea control is the inspection phase. Everyone in the family must be involved because everyone will have separate, yet important knowledge about where the pet visits, rests and sleeps. Each of these areas may be harboring fleas. While you think you may know all the areas the pet visits, you may not realize that one of your family members has carried the pet into a closet or room that was previously not accessible to the pet.
Many flea infestations can be found at the foot of furniture where dogs lay at their owner’s feet. But, cats may carry fleas high above floor level. It is not uncommon to find cats resting on the backs of upholstered chairs or on the tops of a refrigerator or in a hidden shelf space. All of these odd spaces must be considered for total flea control.
Once you have mapped out your battle plan, start vacuuming. If possible, use a vacuum with a disposable bag, rather than a non-bag-type vac. It is known that flea larvae spent most of their lives living at the base of carpet fibers, deep in the carpet. You should use a vacuum with a good beater bar rather than a simple canister vacuum sweeper. Upright vacs have the best beater bars that really give the carpet fibers a good whack to dislodge entangled fleas. Don’t forget to use the crevice tool along baseboards, inside floor air ducts and under furniture. You need to physically move furniture to be sure to get the spots where the legs of the furniture rest in the carpet.
Once everything is vacuumed you need to figure out what blankets and rugs need to be cleaned. In fact, any surface the pet comes in contact with needs to be washed or vacuumed. That includes sofas, chairs, throw rugs, bed covers, seat covers, pet bedding and any other fabrics your pet utilizes as a bed or resting spot. Lots of work, to be sure.
Now it’s time to treat carpets and other surfaces with an insect growth regultor that prevents fleas from growing into adults. I like Precor IGR. , plus an adulticide that kills the adult fleas. For that one I like Suspend SC. You mix the two products together. It’s important to include both materials for total control. These materials must be evenly applied over carpets and surfaces where the pet has had contact. Be sure to carefully read the label of any product you decide upon and follow the label instructions in total. Do not over-apply any product. There are hundreds of products listed on the web. Do your research to determine which is best for your situation.
Treating the pet is an essential part of this process. I recommend a visit to the vet for a flea shampoo and flea medicine to keep fleas from reinfesting your pet. Read all about these medications. You will find pros and cons about the many products now on the market. Some people love them. Others swear the products are harmful to their pets. Ultimately, it must be your decision as to whether they are a good fit for your pet. Products include Frontline, Program, Pro-Spot, Proban, Advantage Flea Treatment and others.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider where the pet goes outdoors. High weeds, moisture and shady areas often breed fleas. These are the most likely places where you pet can pick up a flea. Keep weeds and grasses cut low. If possible, resolve standing water issues. Treat likely flea infestation areas with one of the many outdoor products with fleas listed on the label. Never use any product that fails to specifically list fleas as a target pest. Follow all precautions when using a pesticide. If you do not feel comfortable handling pesticides call a professional.
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