Farm Pet & Garden
Fleas and ticks are out for blood! These pesky parasites live on an animal’s skin and can cause a wide range of skin diseases. They may even cause systemic (whole-body) illnesses by transmitting worms, protozoa, and bacteria to your pet’s vital organs, leading to chronic to acute disease that can kill your beloved furry family member.
Fleas and ticks cover the United States (every state reports activity from both pests), but some regions are much more populated than others. Both fleas and ticks become more widespread when humidity levels are between 50 and 90 percent, and when the temperature is 70°F or greater.
Fleas thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity — parameters that are perfect for both their activity and their reproduction. This is why fleas are found in balmy states like Florida throughout the year. Drier or colder regions such as the Southwest and Midwest experience lower (or even zero) activity during winter months.
In areas with deep frost, fleas may go dormant for the winter — but not if they’ve made their way indoors. Some sources even suggest that fleas can become more active in early fall, as with dropping temperatures, they are more determined to find the warmth of a host.
While ticks thrive in regions with warmer, more humid weather, they are found in woods, shrubs, brush, and undergrowth in most areas of the country, regardless of the climate. They can even be found in forested areas even during colder months. While they generally aren’t active below 45°F, many survive winter by finding cover or hosts.
Regardless of where you live, take extra precaution if your pet likes to go on hikes with you, or likes to roam in fields or on farms, as the risk of a tick infestation increases.
Because of their resilience, the most effective approach to a flea or tick problem is to treat your pet, your home, and your yard to eliminate the pests themselves—as well as their eggs and larvae—wherever they may be hiding. Overall, the best course of action is to treat your pet and the environment before an infestation takes hold in the first place.
1. Treat Your Pet
To prevent pests from gaining a foothold on your dog or cat, use Adams™ Flea & Tick Spot On® topical treatments with an insect growth regulator (IGR) designed to kill flea eggs and their larvae for up to 30 days. Adams™ Spot On® topical treatments disrupt the flea’s growth cycle by preventing these pests from maturing into biting, breeding adults. (Note: Because topical treatments are spread through oils in your pet’s skin, it’s important to allow at least two to three days between applying Spot On® topical treatment and shampooing your dog or cat.)
Adams™ Flea & Tick Collars also work hard to provide your pet lasting protection from fleas and ticks. Complete with an IGR, Adams™ Flea & Tick Collars contain active ingredients that are distributed through the coat along with the oils on your pet’s skin.
Treat an immediate problem with an Adams™ Flea & Tick Cleansing Shampoo which contains soothing aloe vera and lanolin to condition the coat and alleviate itching. This product not only kills fleas, flea eggs, and ticks but also cleans and deodorizes your pet, eliminating the need for an additional cleansing shampoo.
2. Treat Your Home
To prevent fleas and ticks from plaguing your pet, you must also treat their (and your) environment at the same time—both indoors and outdoors—to kill fleas and attack the eggs and larvae wherever they are hiding.
Before treating the inside of your home, first wash your pet’s bedding and thoroughly vacuum your home with a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner. Vacuum carpets, floors, and all upholstery. If possible, have your carpets professionally cleaned. The beating brushes in a quality vacuum can remove one-quarter of the flea larvae and over half of the flea eggs. Vacuuming is also a physical disturbance, so it stimulates fleas to leave their cocoons.
After cleaning, take the vacuum outside, remove the bag, and discard it. It may take several days’ vacuuming to remove all the flea eggs.
After you’ve done this, apply Adams™ Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger or Pump Home Spray, both of which reach fleas on large areas of carpeting and other material surfaces. For a more targeted approach, Adams™ Carpet Powder and Carpet Spray kill fleas, flea larvae, and ticks on a variety of surfaces. Or choose a combination of the two products, using the fogger and carpet treatments to help ensure complete coverage of household surfaces where flea eggs and larvae may be lurking.
3. Treat Your Yard
Don’t forget to treat your yard, too, or you’ll miss an important step in your flea- and tick-killing program. This area is especially susceptible to infestation because wildlife and even your neighbors’ pets can shed ticks, fleas, and flea eggs right in your own backyard.
Mow the grass first, and collect and discard the clippings. Then simply attach Adams™ Yard Spray to the end of your garden hose and spray those areas to which your pet has access. This easy-to-use spray covers up to 6,000 square feet and is labeled for use on most outdoor surfaces, including your lawn, under and around trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Understanding the Flea Life Cycle
By Jennifer Kvamme, DVM
When it comes to eliminating fleas from your pet and from your home, there are some key things to consider. First, it is very important to be familiar with and understand the life cycle of the flea when you are trying to eradicate their presence completely.
There are four stages in the life cycle of a flea: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on the environmental temperature and humidity levels, the total life cycle will take anywhere from a couple weeks to many months. Optimal conditions for fleas are between 70-85°F and 70 percent humidity.
The beginning of the life cycle occurs when an adult female flea lays eggs following a blood meal from the host (e.g., your pet). Blood is necessary for the adult flea to reproduce. These eggs are small, white objects (slightly smaller than a grain of sand) that are laid in the pet’s fur in bunches of about 20. A single adult female can lay about 40 eggs every day.
The eggs will fall off your pet as s/he moves, allowing them to be disbursed throughout the environment where your pet spends his or her time. Eggs represent about one-half (50 percent) of the entire flea population present in an average home.
Eggs take anywhere from two days to two weeks to develop, hatching when environmental conditions are just right for them. If temperatures are cold and dry, the eggs will take longer; if temperatures are warm and humidity levels are high, the eggs will hatch at a faster rate. Larvae then emerges as the next life stage.
The emerging larvae are blind and will avoid being out in the light. They develop over several weeks by eating pre-digested blood (known as flea “dirt”) that adult fleas pass, along with other organic debris in the environment.
In appearance, flea larvae can be up to ¼-inch long and are white (almost see-through) and legless. Larvae make up about 35 percent of the flea population in the average household. If conditions are favorable, the larvae will spin cocoons in about 5-20 days of hatching from their eggs. This leads to the next life stage, called the cocoon or pupae stage.
The pupae stage of the flea life cycle accounts for about 10 percent of the flea population in a home. This cocoon stage is the last developmental stage before the adult flea emerges. The cocoon protects the pupae for several days or weeks before the adult flea emerges. If environmental conditions are not right for emergence, the cocoon can protect the developing flea for months, and in some cases, years.
Cocoons have a sticky outer coating that allows them to hide deep in the carpeting and not be easily removed by light vacuuming or sweeping. The cocoon also serves to protect the developing adults from chemicals.
The adult flea will not emerge until the presence of a potential host is made obvious - by vibrations, rising levels of carbon dioxide, and body heat. This may be triggered by your pet walking by, or people moving in the house, alerting the flea to emerge from its cocoon to feed.
Once a flea has emerged from the cocoon, it will need to begin feeding from a host within a few hours. Shortly after the first meal, adult fleas will breed and begin laying eggs within a few days. Female fleas are not able to lay eggs until they obtain a blood meal.
New adult fleas have a flat bodied appearance and are very small and dark in color. Once they have had a chance to feed off your pet, they will become larger and lighter in color, taking on the more recognizable flea shape. Adult fleas account for less than 5 percent of the entire flea population in a home. They spend the majority of their time living on the host while they feed, breed, and lay eggs, and can live anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months on the host animal.
Use your knowledge of the flea life cycle to eliminate an infestation. Treat the environment properly by vacuuming regularly for several weeks and thoroughly washing bedding and toys in hot soapy water to remove eggs, larvae, and pupae. Remember to seal and remove vacuum bags after a cleaning session. You can even encourage faster emergence of the remaining pupae with a humidifier and an increase in the home temperature. Once all the hibernating pupae have emerged, you can make sure they are all destroyed. The household can be (cautiously) treated with sprays and foggers.
Treat the adult fleas living on your pet with shampoos, sprays, dips, or spot-on medications. If you have any questions or concerns, especially in regards to your pet’s health or age, your veterinarian can help you make the best decision for treating your pet.
Fleas can be difficult to eliminate, but if you are vigilant and use the correct chemicals in a safe and effective manner, you will be victorious. Just be sure to treat all the areas where your pet spends time, including the car and yard
Article from petmd.com link attached