Flea Infestation Guide: How to Kill and Get Rid of Fleas
By Carol McCarthy
Fleas are tiny but the suffering they bring to pets can be huge. The only way to stay ahead of a flea infestation is to practice flea prevention year-round, according to Dr. Cynthia Cox of the Shalit-Glazer Clinic at the MSPCA-Angell Adoption Center in Boston, Mass., and Dr. Cathy Lund of City Kitty, a feline-only veterinary practice in Providence, R.I.
“When you see the adult fleas, that is just the tip of the iceberg as far the life cycle,” Lund says. “At that point, you have a real problem in the house.”
David Jones of Bio Tech Pest Controls in Westerly, R.I, an environmentally friendly pest control business, explains why: The adult flea needs a blood meal (your pet, for example) in order to produce fertile eggs (40-plus per day), which then fall off the animal and drop to the floor, carpet, bedding, etc. The eggs develop into larvae and then into pupae that are protected inside cocoons, which can lay dormant for many months until noise, heat, vibration, light, exhaled carbon dioxide or other stimulation causes them to emerge as fleas to start the cycle again. If you see a flea, you’re likely already in the midst of a flea infestation.
That is why constant vigilance is necessary, Lund says. “It’s like flossing to prevent gum disease and brushing your teeth to prevent cavities. Don’t let it get to the point where you can see a flea.”