What Can I Do for a Stubborn Outbreak of Fleas?

Fleas irritate any living host by feeding off of blood.
Fleas irritate any living host by feeding off of blood. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Fleas are parasites that have been around for millions of years, existing on the blood of a living host. They thrive in a warm atmosphere and multiply rapidly, so the peak months of hot, humid weather may pit you against a flea army that may seem impossible to successfully combat. The main tricks to get rid of even the most stubborn flea infestation are cleanliness and consistency.

The Flea Life Cycle

To understand how to properly and effectively fight a stubborn flea infestation, you must first understand the life cycle of the flea. Flea eggs fall off of the host onto carpeting, bedding, floors or furniture. Depending on how warm or moist the conditions, the egg can hatch within a few days to a few weeks and produce a larvae. They feed off of the feces of the adult fleas found in the carpet and bedding before spinning into a cocoon where it will pupate. This process can take a few days or even up to a year. Once it emerges as an adult, it will be attracted to a warm body that it will attach itself and begin the life cycle all over again.

Attack Where They Live

On average, a typical room will find host about 5 percent of the fleas on your pet. They hop on and off living hosts to feed, but they reproduce and live in the environment around you, your family and your pet. This means you must place emphasis on the cleanliness of your environment, treating it as faithfully as you do your pet. Vacuum often, ideally you should vacuum every day. Use a flea collar in the vacuum bags or bins to kill the fleas that get sucked up by the vacuum; otherwise they will multiply and be spread wider the next time you use the vacuum. Wash any bedding or clothing in the hottest water the material can stand that may have been exposed to the adult fleas, to destroy any eggs that may have been left behind.

Treat Your Pet Consistently

Though fleas live off of blood from a host, they can survive up to 100 days without a blood meal. If you use the topical flea control that works monthly, you will have to treat your pet for more than three months consistently to prevent another outbreak. You may even feel like you have removed all the adult fleas, but eggs can lay in wait for up to a year in your carpeting and bedding. So you must remain vigilant in treating your home and your pet.

The Yard

You must also treat your lawn for fleas to further protect your home, family and pet. A flea can jump up to 4 feet within seconds and hitch a ride right into your treated home environment to begin the vicious cycle all over again. You may use chemicals or pesticides to treat your lawn; in serious cases of infestation, you can use foggers or flea bombs within your home as well. Use all sprays, chemicals and foggers as directed.

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