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Don’t Flee The Flea
Blake Carter

Hey Liberty County! We talked about ticks already and now I want to move into another one of our PAW-esome friends worst enemies… FLEAS. These pesky critters hop and bite like nobody’s business and can be quite the problem for keeping your pets and home safe and comfortable. I figured I would share some great tips on how to fight the flea.

I have personally fought a dreadful flea infestation before and it felt like I would never get rid of them. It was a roommate’s dog that was bringing them inside, once inside it was all our problems and not just the dogs to deal with. That being said I felt it would be fitting to follow the ticks’ article with one on fleas. To start off let’s make sure we are on the same page with fleas. Fleas have four stages of a life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The eggs are laid on the host and fall off. The eggs hatch into larvae then the legless larvae feed on organic debris for around 24 days. After the 24 days the larvae get into a pupa stage inside a cocoon. Once inside they stay roughly seven days, then they find a suitable host. That could be up to a whole year inside that cocoon. They know a viable host by sensing body heat. The cycle is sped up or slowed down depending on the environmental conditions. The ideal environment for the flea to complete the life cycle is around 85 degrees F with 85 percent relative humidity… meaning around here is ideal and speeds up that cycle of life. You can go from having just a few fleas to being infested because of this. The warmer winter contributed to fleas’ life cycles not being slowed down, so it is common to see bad flea problems right now. Inside reproduction for fleas however takes place year round. Control of fleas can be very tricky. Since there are multiple life stages, locations of where these life stages are found, and having the issue of curing not only your pet but also the outside as well. To really handle control properly you have to treat the stages of the fleas found on your pets. Then you start treating areas where the pets typically go. From there you can expand treatment to a broader area to ensure everything is taken care of. Some great recommendations for fleas on your pet include NexGard, Frontline and Frontline Plus, Certifect, and Seresto. The main things you want to look for are the active ingredients including Deltamethrin, Fipronil, or Flumethrine. (Among many others as well but these are the most common) You can even find some of these active ingredients mixed with others to combat not just fleas but also ticks, mosquitoes and lice. To treat outside effectively, contact your local pest control sprayer. They will be glad to go over some more intense strategies to take care of these fleas. There are also foggers and things of that nature for treatment of inside areas as well. Personally I have not found much success with those. After sinking several hundreds of dollars in buying foggers and baits and other inside treatments, I finally just called my pest control sprayer and they knocked out the inside in two treatments. Outside was treated as well and as of right now I have not seen any fleas back around. I now have a dog so I am

constantly on alert, but I have been extremely happy with the results. The good stuff to knock them out, at least for outside, can only be bought and sprayed by licensed personnel. The biggest take away is to understand the pesticide you buy when fighting fleas. Start with your pet first, eliminate the host, and then start treating everything else to ensure infestation does not happen again. Fleas are tough, but proper techniques can reduce this bloodsucking headache.

Our pets are just as important to keep safe as our families and homes. That is why you can use these tips to help fight the flea and eliminate this pest!

Joke of the Day: What is a Fleas favorite Christmas song? FLEAS-Navidad.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or want further information, please give me a call at or stop by the Liberty County Extension Office, (912)876-2133, 100 Main St. Suite 1200, Hinesville, GA 31313.

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