It’s time to talk about flea control. As the temperatures warm up, so does the flea population. Take care to treat your yard, pets, and home for fleas, to ensure a happy and healthy summer for humans and furry friends alike.
Fleas in the Yard:
Fleas like temperatures below 95°F with humidity above 50%. As usual, it’s better to prevent them than to remove them. Fleas are brought in by urban wildlife like rabbits, rats, squirrels, raccoons, etc. If you feed the birds, you’re also feeding the critters (with the fleas!!) that visit the bird feeders. So, if you have a flea problem and feed the birds, stop feeding for a month or so to get the problem under control.
If you have fleas, treat the yard and your pets, see the section “Fleas on the dog/cat”. You need to treat the yard, the pet, and the house within a 24 hour period. When fighting fleas it is all about breaking the life cycle. There are a bunch of all-natural and synthetic products to choose from. Most products will take more than one application, 5 to 10 days apart to break that life cycle.
Our number one product for outdoor flea control is sulfur, but remember it is a repellant, not a killer. There are two types of sulfur, powder and granulated. Application rates vary but the following have worked well for me. Use 10# to 15# of granulated sulfur to cover 1,000 square feet and should be reapplied every 10 to 14 days depending on the weather. Five pounds of powdered sulfur will cover about 1,500 square feet and should be repeated weekly.
The all-natural product called Yardsafe from the folks at Cedarcide is a high concentration cedar oil product in a ready-to-use quart that will cover about 2,000 square feet for the initial application. Repeat application in 5 to 10 days. This will kill the existing fleas and has a good residual for several days afterward depending on the weather.
There are also quite a few choices on the chemical side in both liquid and granulated. A good rule of thumb is to pick products with an active ingredient that ends with the suffix, “thrin”. Some of the most common are bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, permethrin and my favorite product, lambda-cyhalothrin, is the active ingredient in Cyonara. This quart attaches to the hose and will cover about 8,000 square feet. As always please read and follow all label directions.
Fleas on the dog/cat:
When combating fleas on your pet, there are two routes you can go. The first is the all-natural route. The most popular here at Wells Brothers is cedar oil-based products. One of these products is Vets Choice pure cedar oil. This can be mixed with water to make a spray or dip. Another product is the highly popular Wells Brothers premixed Pet and Animal Spray. This is a cedar oil product that is premixed in a spray bottle and ready to use. All you have to do is spray the animal thoroughly until the fur is saturated to the skin. Then just let the fur dry naturally. Cedarcide Original Spray is another option. This spray can be used directly on the pet, or on surfaces and bedding. All cedar oil-based products are contact killers and repellants of all sorts of pesky insects.
One more natural flea option is called Flea Away. Flea Away is an oral tablet that is given daily to cats and dogs that create an undesirable environment for fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. Flea Away works because unwanted insects come to a dog or cat because they smell Co2 (or carbon dioxide). The ingredients in Flea Away work to mask the smell of Co2 on the animal.
So, you’ve tried the all-natural options, and you still have a problem. It’s time for all-out chemical warfare. Again, you have many options. Over the counter options are as follows:
Sprays, dips, shampoos, collars, and room foggers for the house are all very effective. Whichever option you choose, be sure that the product includes an ingredient called IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). IGR disrupts the growth cycle of immature insects and provides up to 2 months of control of pre-adult fleas. Don’t forget about flea collars. A lot of products only kill adult fleas, so you will think that you have everything under control. Then BAM! Another re-infestation. Wells Brothers carries many of these products by Adams that includes IGR technology. Wells Brothers also carries monthly spot-on treatments by Adams and Bio Spot. The Adams products contain an IGR. The final option for flea control products is ones that you can only get at the vet. These products include spot-on and oral products. When used on a monthly basis, these products are very effective for controlling parasites of all kinds.
Preventative measures will help ensure a flea-free pet and house. A flea-free pet is a healthier and happier pet. So what do you do when you get fleas in the yard, then on the animal, and now in the house? You will need to treat the yard, the animal, and the house all within the same 24-hour period. That way you are not chasing them from one environment to another.