Over the last few weeks, we have been inundated with calls about fleas and flea problems.
Whilst fleas are pretty common, especially if you have pets, this year they really have taken over and are making peoples lives a total misery. Normally, a quick trip to the vets, a drop of Frontline or similar and a quick spray of Acclaim and its all over, but this year fleas seem to be in plague proportions and extremely difficult to control.
The other interesting thing I am hearing this year from clients is that there is a rumour that fleas have grown resistant to Frontline. I use Frontline on our dogs and have never had a problem, so I have done a bit of investigation and it seems that one of Frontline’s competitors has been trying to breed resistant fleas (just totally nuts as far as I am concerned!) without success.
This is not to say treatment failures do not occur, especially in the way it works. Frontline relies on contact so the flea must touch the treated hair. It does take a few days for it to have any effect in most cases. If no fleas are present in the area after this, then you will be fine, however if fleas are still in the environment, they will re-infest once the treatment looses some of its potency, so just treating the animal is not the answer – this is where most people go wrong.
It is essential to treat the whole environment, the house, bedding, even the garden – and not just once, it is an ongoing task.
Lets examine the flea lifecycle to gain a better understanding. Fleas lay eggs, which hatch anything from 3 – 8 weeks after laying (depending on weather and other conditions). Once hatched the flea will search for a suitable host – preferably a cat or dog. Once it hops on, it will stay with that host all its life – they do not hop from host to host or go back into the environment – they stay with it until death. During this infestation, they feed on blood and then they will start to lay hundreds of eggs, which they rely on the animal to spread – every time it scratches or shakes or brushes up against something – it is spreading eggs.
Hence the problem – it is all about constant treatment of the area in which the animal lives as well as the animal.
The other thing we recommend is lots of hoovering. You need to make sure all eggs are collected and disposed of – so hoovering twice a day after treatment is essential – the first 48 hours is critical – unless you do this, you will be re-infected. Remember, the eggs will stay dormant for up to 8 weeks.
When we do a flea treatment, we aim at two things; instant knock down and death of fleas waiting to find a host (yes these are the little buggers who bite the hell out of you – they want to live on you!) and also a long term residual effect to kill all stages of life – technically known as an insect growth regulator or IGR.
This combined treatment will last around 6 – 9 weeks under normal situations, but you still have to be aware that the animal will still be walking around in areas outside already infected with fleas, so keeping the Frontline treatment going and constant hoovering and spraying of bedding etc is vital. It is also worth saying that several treatments may be needed to sort this problem.
So if you have a flea problem, rather than just popping down the local shop to buy a can of spray, think about it as a 2 month war…yes that can will have its uses but its a bigger issue that you need to tackle – so call in the professional and save yourself loads of time, money and grief. Lets put things in perpective – a can is about 500ml of amateur grade chemicals , when we do a treatment we use approx 5 litres of professional grade products, so really you don’t have a chance!
With branches in Newbury, Oxford, Basingstoke, Reading and Swindon, you can be sure Rapid Pest Control will be there to help you deal with your flea problem quickly. Call Rapid Pest Control now for expert flea treatments on Newbury 01635 247192 or any of the local branch numbers.