A Flea Infestation is Not Random

Homes could always be prone to fleas, especially those with pets at home. But in case your house does not invite any animals indoors, still, you could possibly get infested with fleas and you’ll never know when they go barging into your house and suddenly infest you humble abode.  There have been several instances where customers have complained about a constant coming and going of fleas, even though they don’t even have pets! Once they thought the fleas have all perished after some pesticide treatment, but after just a few months they’re back infesting the house once more.  What could have gone wrong this time and where do these pests sprout from if there are no mammals to bring them inside?

I did experience getting some complaints from one of our clients regarding these unbearable pests. She never attempted to adopt a pet in her household but still, she was being attacked by fleas, which she couldn’t determine from which part of the house entered.  She claims to have checked the chimney, fireplace, walls and all corners and there were no sign of rodents living there. There has been stray cats that pass outside her house once in a while and nothing more. The cats never bothered her before and for several years it has been a usual scene in her neighborhood. She claims the fleas come from the basement but is quite puzzled and was not able to locate where they were sprouting from. What could be the best treatment solution for the fleas? How do you even analyze a situation like this?

In dealing with fleas, the main thing is to first identify the source of the pests. Without this, the fleas will keep coming.  Those cats that were reported to have been roaming in the lawn might be those who were responsible for carrying those fleas. Although they haven’t been a problem in the past, they may suddenly be infested with fleas that they retrieved elsewhere. However, fleas usually bury under furs and usually do not transfer from place to place, as long as there is enough food and warmth in the body they are clinging to.  It is possible though that the flea eggs did fall off to the ground. When they hatched and matured to adult fleas, they found enough passage through window sills or other entry points towards the basement. Basically, flea eggs could simply fall off without anyone from any stray animals such as raccoons, dogs, and cats and nobody may have noticed.

As long as there is enough food to feed the flea larvae, it is always possible for them to make your rugs, carpets and hidden corners their home too. The most common flea in homes would be the cat flea, which is a permanent ectoparasite. They chose to remain clinging on the host animal rather than hopping from one host to the other. This does not mean that the eggs can’t fall off. Their eggs fall off along with dried fecal pellets of processed blood from the adults, which provide as a food source for the larva. Thus for homes that do not keep pets, it is best to locate that host animal and the source.

Finding the primary source of the fleas is important because it is the only way to cut off and minimize the flea population in your home. Although there is no assurance that fleas will be saying goodbye to your place for good, still it helps in breaking off their population cycle.

With regards to fleas in the basement, what could have happened is that the flea adults could have crawled inside through an entry point into the basement. Once they found the basement was warm and a suitable site to survive, they remained there and developed.

Remember that larvae does not bite nor feed on blood yet. At this stage they are dependent on tiny organic particles which might be found in the soil or along with the blood fecal pellets, which will serve as their food. Once they grow they start to enter the pupa stage which is the most difficult stage of a flea to eliminate. Once a pupa, the flea would be immune to all sort of pesticides or spraying done. They are quite protected with their cocoon and shall remain that way for 3 weeks or more. The tricky part in this stage is that some flea pupas choose to remain a pupa even until 3 months later or until they find the right “stimulus” that informs them that it is the right time to emerge from the pupa stage. This is why, regardless of pesticide application and treatment, you may have emerging adults much later and even when you least expect it. The best way left to resolve flea infestation would be through vacuuming.

Vacuuming allows flea eggs, flea larvae and the organic materials and dust to be removed from the corners and places where it chose to stick and hide. This simply eliminates the possibility of another batch of fleas to infest the place. Use flea killing pesticides like Demize or Masterline Bifenthrin. Keep in mind that Demize though, is almost like a “manual fogger”. It is sprayed on through a sprayer but has a very short residual time and will give you a knockdown effect for up to maybe 15 minutes. Something like Masterline has a longer residual. Also, remember to use an IGR in the mix. The IGR or the insect growth regulator acts almost like birth control where it interrupts their development in the early stages, thus, they are not able to develop correctly and in effect, they are unable to reproduce.

If you follow as advised, then it is possible to say that fleas won’t be visible anywhere in your vicinity. Take the effort to trace back to their source and clean your home to discourage them from thriving inside your home.

Date: Friday, 2. March 2012 15:15
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