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This blog focuses on preventing a home flea infestation. For further advice on how to fight an active flea infestation, visit How to fight a cat or dog flea infestation.
Most pet owners know they should treat their cat or dog for fleas regularly. But, did you know you need to protect your home from fleas as well?
In the Beaphar office, one of the most common enquiries we get is ‘I’ve treated my pet for fleas, but it’s not working.’ But when asked if they’ve treated the home, the answer is generally “no”.
Some people believe that having a home flea infestation is a sign of a dirty or unclean house, but this is a myth.
Understanding the flea life cycle is a key part of understanding why you should be protecting your home from fleas as well as your pet.
The fleas you see on your pet are the adult fleas. They jump onto your pet in order to feed and mate. The female flea is a prolific egg layer. One female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day and around 1,500 in her lifetime.
These eggs will fall from your pet’s coat onto the floor, bedding or furniture. The eggs hatch into larvae, and will crawl deep into warm, dark spaces like into the pile of your carpet or under skirting boards. Each larva will spin itself into an impenetrable cocoon called a pupa. This pupa will lay dormant, only hatching into an adult flea when a potential food source walks by, either animal or human.
So, while treating your pet may kill the adult fleas, any eggs already existing in the environment have the potential to develop into adult fleas. Once they’ve reached adulthood, the fleas will jump onto your pet, and the cycle will begin all over again.
There are two options to protect your home from fleas:
Option 1: Use a combination, on-animal flea control product that contains an insecticide and an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), such as Beaphar FIPROtec® COMBO.
Option 2: Use an on-animal flea control product that contains an insecticide, such as Beaphar FIPROtec® Spot-On, AND a household flea treatment that contains an insecticide and an IGR, such as Beaphar FLEAtec Household Flea Spray .
Flea control products that contain an IGR have a dual action effect. The insecticide kills the adult fleas while the IGR interrupts the flea life cycle and prevents flea multiplication.
When an adult female flea comes into contact with an IGR any eggs she lays will be unable to mature. Any eggs and larvae in the environment will also be affected by the IGR, and will be unable to develop further.
Using an IGR in your flea control routine prevents the flea life cycle from continuing. This stops a flea infestation in its tracks.
Whichever method of flea prevention you use, it is essential that you repeat the treatment as directed on the product. Any gap in treatment can allow fleas to complete their lifecycle, causing a home flea infestation to develop.
Other ways you can protect your home from fleas are by:
· Washing your pet’s bedding and soft furnishings regularly. Do this at the hottest setting possible (a minimum of 60°C).
· Use a household flea spray on pet bedding and furniture, such as Beaphar FLEAtec Household Flea Spray.
· Vacuuming regularly to encourage any flea pupae to hatch into adult fleas, so they can be killed by the insecticides you’ve already used.
To treat an active flea infestation we recommend using an on-animal flea control product that contains an insecticide, such as Beaphar FIPROtec® Spot-On, and a household flea treatment that contains an insecticide and an IGR, such as Beaphar FLEAtec Household Flea Spray.
Visit How to fight a cat or dog flea infestation for a more detailed step-by-step plan to beat an active flea infestation.