Flea control

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:42 PM GMT

Question

I have 2 pit bulls. We have a problem with fleas. We have used Frontline Plus and Advantage, bathed them with the medicated flea shampoo from the veterinarians office, and treated our house and put Sevin dust (which claims that it should kill fleas) on our yard. About 1 1/2- 2 weeks, all of the fleas are back, they only stay gone totally for 3- 5 days? Any suggestions on what we might try. We live in AR and they say that the fleas and ticks are getting immuned to the medicines.

Answer

Well I don't know who 'they' are, but my boss had a ditty for them... I won't go into it but let us start with the real problem with fleas. You have to think of a flea infestation as a pyramid. The tiny top of the pyramid is where your adults are. The next rung down are the cocoons that the larvae make after they have eaten enough adult flea dung to spin one in your yard, your rugs and the cracks of your floors, plus any bedding they have. The bottom of your pyramid, the largest and biggest area, is full of flea eggs and larvae. Are you seeing the problem here? You can kill fleas all day long with 'adulticides.' However, you are only killing the tiny tip of your pyramid. One adult flea lays some 50,000 eggs a day and these fall right off your pet onto the ground, floor, rugs, etc.They are not sticky and thus the roll right off your pet. Unless the pet is heavily infested, you won't see many eggs on the pet. Sevin dust only kills adults (and yes, fleas are becoming immune to Sevin). Flea collars only kill some adults that might be near the collar. Shampoos only kill the adults while the dog is wet and covered with shampoo. Two hours later the fleas are back. Where are they coming from if you are killing the adults? And the cycle you mentioned, 3- 5 days, interesting. Well the eggs that have fallen off the pet hatch in about 24 hours into flea larvae.They look like minuscule maggots. They are not as big as the ' in this sentence. You can see eggs, but I have yet to see a live, wiggling larvae. After about 3- 5 days of feeding on adult flea bloody droppings, the larvae cocoon themselves and wait. When they sense a blood meal nearby (your pet or even you) they hatch as adults and jump on to repeat this whole cycle. They can live in their cocoon for up to a year if there are no warm bodies around. The problem is, nothing that they have discovered yet anyway, can penetrate the cocoon and kill the larvae in there. So you have flea products that kill adults, larvae and eggs, but not the cocooned ones. What you need is a good three stage life cycle flea product that kills adults, keeps eggs from hatching and kills the larvae. The reason your fleas come back after 3-5 days is the cocoon hatch. I am being redundant here but it is important that you learn this whole cycle. You need a product such as Ovitrol spray, yard spray and any other Ovitrol product if they sell them in Arizona. These products are called IGR's or insect growth regulators. While they kill the three stages, again, they cannot kill the newly hatched adults. But then you spray again and kill them. Pretty soon you have very few fleas. You can put your dogs on Sentinel, which is heartworm prevention and a flea product called lufeneron that basically sterilizes the fleas so that when they lay eggs, they do not hatch. I never believed it would work on pets that were indoor/outdoor pets but my pets have been on it for over 10 years and there isn't a flea in my house or yard! I have two cats and one dog but had two dogs/three cats not too long ago. I have sold these products (the IGRs and Sentinel) for years to people battling terrible flea problems for years and they would come back later and tell me that they worked so well they wanted to hug me. You cannot argue with success. So think about your flea control program and talk to your vet about these products. Do NOT ask a pet store as they have no clue (most of them anyway) about the true nature of a flea infestation. They might sell Ovitrol, but the rest of these things you have to get at a veterinary clinic. Whew! Good luck and keep me posted.

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