Flea Free this May!
While warm weather is great news if you plan to take a neighborhood stroll, it also means the start of flea and tick season. We'll break down important facts about these fleas, how to prevent an invasion, and tips on natural flea treatment if you find your pet infested.
Facts on Fleas and Ticks
Let’s start by discussing some fundamental flea knowledge. A flea’s life consists of 4-stages:
→ Pupa – hardest stage to kill
Adult fleas feed on blood, lay eggs that hatch into larvae in 5-11 days, and larvae follow behind and feed on the adult’s excrement. The larvae then spins a cocoon to become a pupa where it develops into an adult after 1-2 weeks. But, the adult flea may lie dormant in the cocoon for up to 2 years before emerging in seconds when stimulated by a passing animal. Once it has hitchhiked on a host, a flea can survive up to one year in an ideal climate (hot and humid).
There are a few reasons why the warm, muggy weather that comes with a Texas Spring are ideal conditions for fleas and ticks:
→ Temperature: Both fleas and ticks flourish in warm climates, preferring somewhere in the 70 to 85 degree range.
→ Humidity: Fleas and ticks alike require a high humidity level, ideally around 70%, for survival.
→ Landscape: Ticks generally live in the wooded areas with leaves and bushes, while fleas like shaded, damp spaces. Both rural and suburban areas, including the garden or dog park, could play hunting ground for these creepy crawlers.
→ Light: Direct sunlight and a lack of moisture are a nightmare for fleas and ticks, as they prefer dark, humid areas.
Part III: Flea-Free Yard Maintenance & Protection
Pets are most at risk of catching fleas outdoors and tracking them inside. Thankfully, the outdoors is a relatively easy arena for preventative flea-fighting. Adult fleas and larvae can’t survive for very long in direct sunlight, so focus your efforts on shady cool spots where your pet likes to hang.
1. Mow: Keep the grass short and yard neat to eliminate any patches or leaf piles.
2. Water: Fleas drown, so hose down any flea-prone spots (shady areas, your pet’s favorite spots, etc) with water every few days.
3. Diatomaceous Earth (DE): DE can be applied outdoors. Simply dust over shady spots (using an old sock or glove) once a month or as needed. Let the dust settle out of the air. Once clear, continue play as usual.
4. Yard & Garden products specific for fleas and ticks: Wondercide Flea & Tick Control For Yard + Garden is a Ready-to-Use spray that will kill and repel bad bugs without harming the beneficial ones. It hooks up directly to a garden hose and requires no additional dilution or mixing. Best part: it's safe for pets and people of all ages, with no wait time for drying or reentry into sprayed areas.
Part II: Topical Flea Prevention
Topical treatments are a great, natural way to rid your pet of these pesky insects. Tomlinson's Betsy shared a few of her favorite topical solutions for flea & tick issues.
Here are those products mentioned in the video above. Interested in other topical treatments? View our Flea & Tick collection.
Part I: In-Home Flea Treatments
Pets are most at risk of catching fleas outdoors and tracking them inside. Now what?
1. Bath Time: First things first–give them a bath! Fleas hate water, so use lots of it in tandem with a natural flea treatment shampoo. Then comb them down with a fine-toothed flea comb, paying special attention to the face, stomach, and tail. Dip the comb in soapy water to kill any fleas you get off. Bathe no more than once every other week (over-bathing can dry out your pup’s skin), and groom with a flea comb daily.
2. Spray It Down: Spray it down with Wondercide's Flea & Tick Spray for Pets + Home. This natural flea and tick treatment for dogs, cats and home is proven to kill, repel, and prevent 98-100% of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes without harmful chemicals, protecting your loved ones smartly and safely. Tomlinson's Jenny breaks down this great in-home treatment.
3. Vacuum: Vacuuming sucks up 30% of larvae, 60% of flea eggs, and much of the larvaes’ food supply. Be thorough: get under furniture, cushions, etc. and pay extra attention to high traffic areas and your pet’s favorite spots. Empty the vacuum bag contents into a plastic bag, freeze, and throw away, since fleas can live and reproduce unattended in the vacuum. As an added precaution, you can throw a chemical-based flea collar into the vacuum bag to kill any sucked up.
4. Laundry: Wash your pet's bedding and any washable material he hangs around. Cover your pet’s bedding and any favorite napping areas with a towel or blanket, and wash every 2-3 days. Again, immersion in water kills adult fleas and larvae, so washing your pets bedding every few days knocks out any budding colonies. If you've had it up to high heaven with these fleas, or want to nip them in the bud stat, refer back to topical treatments.