Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fleas Take a Big Bite

Flea
There has been a big spike in requests to Kiwicare for information on how to get rid of fleas. This time of the year usually sees an increase in flea activity but 2010 seems to have got off to a Big Bite of flea problems.

The warm weather at this time of year encourages the reproduction of fleas and numbers can explode. Fleas emerge from their pupal cocoons as people return from holiday to homes where the fleas have been starved while the owners and their pets have been away. With the result that the people and the pets get bitten........big time.

Fleas are associated with animals. Each animal, including humans, have a specific species of flea; cats have cat fleas, dogs have dog fleas, birds have bird fleas. In New Zealand it is almost always cat, dog or bird fleas that cause infestations in homes. Although each animal has its own flea, each species will take a feed from other mammals, including humans if necessary.

In general the way to deal with fleas is to:
  1. Identify the source of the problem - pet/s, bird nest in roof etc.
  2. Treat your affected pets with a proprietary flea control product from your vet or pet shop.
  3. If you are brave you can vacuum thoroughly now. Vacuuming encourages any pupae to hatch so the the hatched fleas are killed by the insecticide you will apply next. It also removes the dust and detritus that the flea larvae would feed on. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately afterwards, by sealing in a plastic bag and placing in the waste bid outside. But, I say 'brave' because the first thing flea adults will want to do is find food. This is likely to be your blood. So you may wish to skip this section and go to 3.
  4. Knock down the adult population of fleas with a flea bomb such as the NO Bugs Bug Bomb.
  5. Spray the areas of the house where fleas have been seen and where the pets sleep using a residual insecticide containing an insect growth regulator, i.e. NO Fleas Total. You should also spray outside areas where pets sleep.
  6. After 5-7 days, vacuum, vacuum and vacuum again. This removes dead adults and larvae and encourages any pupae to hatch so the the hatched fleas are killed by the insecticide. It also removes the dust and detritus that the flea larvae would feed on. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately afterwards, by sealing in a plastic bag and placing in the waste bid outside.
  7. For ongoing protection spray again after several days.
Stay free from those flea bites.

The flea said to his girlfriend.
"Let's go out for a bite."

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