Flea Control Plan for FallA preemptive strike on flea populations is much preferred to letting fleas strike first and trying to put them down once they are established. The adult female flea is an egg-laying machine – feeding on blood and laying 50 to 100 eggs a day! Females can lay several thousand eggs before dying of old age. Eggs fall off the pet into the environment where they can winter.
Who is Living With You?For every one adult flea on your pet, there are 50 eggs and 45 larvae and pupae in the environment your pet lives in. Eggs hatch in less than a week and the resulting larvae will feed on flea dirt (digested blood) and debris. Larvae spin a cocoon and enter the pupae stage where they wait.
The pupae stage is protected in the cocoon from cold, insecticides, and toxins. They are anchored to carpets or floor and cause mechanical vacuuming to be useless. Outside pupae anchor to brush, cracks in wood, or brush piles that stabilize them for the winter. They are located out of the way, under chairs, beds, tables, decks, piled debris, or brush where they are protected from sunlight. They can stay in the pupae stage for a year if needed, and they can certainly live through the winter. Pupae are stimulated to "hatch" by vibrations or carbon dioxide. Timing allows adults to emerge when they have the best chance of finding a mammal to feed on. Inside buildings where temps are moderated, pupae will hatch year round in the presence of animals.
Timing for SuccessPreemptive fall treatment will decrease the number of eggs that get overwintered to spring. Adult fleas are looking to feed and lay eggs to overwinter. Approaching winter won't bother fleas in the egg or pupae stage and they will be ready to repopulate your area as soon as winters grip is lost. Treating exercise areas, yards, and outside kennels in September will decrease eggs that overwinter and result in fewer hatching next spring.
If we have used Permethrin 10% this year, -- use Tempo® to spray the area. Changing insecticide families will avoid getting resistance. If you have not used Permethrin 10%, use it for effective and economical coverage. Adding an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) to your spray or using a spray with IGR in it will extend coverage to pupae in the yard. IGRs are flea hormones that prevent the pupae from maturing and cause them to die in the cocoon. With fewer adults to process, your once-a-month topical preventative will be more effective at preventing flea issues.
Hose-end sprayers will make the yard spraying easy, but do not forget the porch, deck, and foundation area. Permethrin and Tempo have a 30-day residual so repeat in October if you live in a mild winter climate.
For inside spraying, use an IGR containing product (Mycodex® Plus Spray). Be sure to spray under furniture or storage items where pupae hide. The spray is easy to use, and should be done in September and October if you had flea issues this year. If your issues were minimal, one spraying is adequate.
Cover Them Before They Cover YouIf you have never done fall flea treatment, remember fleas don't play fair. It is all about a good game plan to stay ahead of them. Fleas want to get into the winter with plenty of eggs to overwinter for next season. A little prevention now – A lot fewer fleas in the spring!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.