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 bird 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 both 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 a 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 have 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:
One day everything is fine, and the next your pet is scratching like crazy. What is that bite on my leg?! Oh no! The dreaded flea infestation! Don’t worry, there are many solutions to get rid of these pesky parasites.
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 all your 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, flea collars, and room foggers for the house. 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 include IGR technology.
Wells Brothers also carries monthly spot-on treatment by Bio Spot. (Please note that if you use spot-on treatments that you will NOT be able to use any other chemical options for the rest of the month without the risk of poisoning your pet) You CAN spot treat with natural options though. When using spot-on treatments the fleas do not die until they actually bite the animal in most cases. To prevent these not quite dead pests, you can spray the animal down with a natural product before coming into the house.
The final option for flea control products are 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. If interested in this type of solution consult your own vet, or come see Dr. Wood, our mobile vet that comes to the store every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from Noon-4.
The old saying that “A stitch in time saves 9” is a very true statement in regard to flea prevention and your pet. Preventative measures will help ensure a flea-free pet and house. A flea-free pet is a healthier and happier pet.