The swealtering heat and humidity of South Carolina can be almost unbearable for humans. Many insects thrive in these conditions though, and fleas are one of them. Fleas typically start to become a problem in mid to late spring and peak over the summer. We are still in that peak flea season, and the number of calls we get every day can attest to that. Here are some tips for good flea control.
What Do You Do??
Well, ultimately, we hope you will call us if things don’t work out on your own, but the point of this blog post is to make sure you have some tools to work with to prevent and eliminate the infestation.
First, if you haven’t looked at our Flea page, go there first. This page has tons of information about the habits and biology of fleas, including where to look. Of course, no one wants to read and research more than they need to so let’s walk through some basics of flea control together.
Fleas Need A Host!
Fleas will not survive without a host. Period. They may stick around for awhile, trying to find something (or someone) new to feed off of. However, they will not last if there is not host to feed on. So, who is the host?
Great question! It could be Fluffy, the cat, or Fred, the dog. These are the two most common hosts in the home, but it could also be mice, rats, possums, raccoons, or a number of other wild or stray animals. They may be living in your house, under your house, or around the outside. We’ll get to those in a minute, but for now, let’s focus on Fluffy and Fred.
It doesn’t matter if Fluffy or Fred are outside pets and never come in, they must be taken care of!
Now I don’t mean to imply that they need to be taken care of by the mafia in a Marlon Brando movie. Heavens No! We just need to make sure they are on a flea treatment program recommended by your veterinarian. Don’t go to Walmart. Don’t go to PetSmart. Don’t buy anything off the shelf. Going the cheap route will only make your flea season last longer. Pay the money and get what the vet tells you. The point is you need something that will be in your pet’s blood stream and kill the fleas when they bite the animal (that’s how the stuff works, in case you didn’t know).
There are a lot of brands out there: Front Line, Revolution, Advantix, and the list goes on. I am not endorsing any of these. I am simply making the point that it isn’t the “blue light special” you want to pick up. Get something that is proven and recommended to work. If you don’t, we can’t help you. Take care of the host… Let me repeat, get your pets on a vet recommended flea program, even if they are outdoor pets. The fleas will continue to come in and be problem if you don’t. This is Flea Control 101.
What if I don’t have a dog or cat?
If that’s the case, then we probably have one of those other critters mentioned, lurking around the home. First on the list is mice or rats. Start there. Look for rat or mouse droppings, chewed products, or even use a black light to spot urine (it’s kinda gross and you need to be prepared for other things that show up in the light-uuuuuggh!) If you don’t spot anything that looks mouse-ish, or if you just don’t want to look, it never hurts to do some preventative control. This might include snap traps, glue traps or baiting. If you use baits, always read the label and do not put them where kids or pets might access them (this can be one of the most effective preventative measures).
Next on the list, we need to think about stray dogs or cats in the area. If you’ve seen them, call animal control for help in getting them off the streets. This can be tough for some because we feel like we’re putting the poor animals in jail. The reality is, this is usually the best decision for the health and safety of the animal, as well as your family. This cannot be overlooked in a good flea control program.
Lastly, we can explore nuisance wildlife. This can get a little tricky and may not be for the average Joe. A can of cat food in a live trap is usually a quick fix, but beware of the Department of Natural Resources laws for trapping and relocating animals. In South Carolina, the DNR requires the animal to be released on the same property (which won’t help your flea control), or euthanization (I told you it isn’t for everyone).
Sum it up!
Flea control can be difficult if you don’t understand where the source is coming from. Find the source or eliminate as many possible sources as you can. The fleas may stick around and that’s when you need an expert. There is so much more to cover on fleas and we will do another flea post in the months ahead. In the mean time, if you have questions about fleas or flea control in or around your home, call or email our office today and one of our experts will be glad to help.