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Vacuuming removes approximately 90% of live fleas depending on your type of carpet and vacuum cleaner.
Vacuuming also encourages fleas to hatch out of their cocoons. Concentrate the efforts where your pet spends most of their time and include furniture, under and between cushions and pet beds. Vacuuming should be done daily at first. Use a flea comb to get fleas off your pet. Drop the fleas into soapy water to drown them.
Your pet will appreciate getting the pesky biters off of them, and will enjoy the combing sessions. Shampooing will also kill live fleas and interrupt their feeding and egg laying cycle. Start with making a foamy necklace around the throat to prevent fleas from running in to the face to avoid the shampoo. Allow the suds to remain for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
The Live Flea
Live fleas hatch out of the flea pupa or cocoon. For every live flea seen, there are approximately 95 in the environment.
Once hatched, a blood meal has to be ingested within 7-10 days or the flea will die. Thus, fleas will emerge from the pupa when they perceive a meal to be close by.
Once a flea has found its host -your pet in this case- it will bite an average of 20 times per day, consuming 10 times its own weight in blood. The flea will lay up to 50 eggs per day on your pet.
The eggs are slippery and will fall off the pet into the environment. The blood ingested from your pet will be defecated on to your pet and will fall off where your pet frequents, serving as food for the larva. Live fleas have an average life span of ### days.
Never have the words "An ounce of prevention is worth one pound of the cure" been more appropriate than when it comes to fleas. The cat flea,
, has evolved to be an expert survivor with a reproductive cycle much similar to the butterfly. The reproductive cycle consists of Live Fleas, Flea Eggs, Flea Larvae and Flea Pupae, or Cocoons.
In order to successfully eradicate a current flea infestation several stages of the cycle has to be targeted. The most common reason for failure is a lack of understanding the flea life cycle. Let's look at each stage.
Getting Rid of Fleas In Your Home
Flea eggs are laid on your pet. They are slippery and fall off easily. If your pet has fleas, imagine that everywhere they go, jump, sleep, and play, eggs are falling off into your carpet, furniture etc. The flea egg will hatch a larva in approximately 2 days.
Well, prevention is key here. Meticulous vacuuming, flea combing, shampooing, laundering of pet beds and anything else that can get laundered, putting beds etc. in a hot dryer for 15 minutes, anything to reduce the number of larva successfully becoming a cocoon.
Vacuuming will remove some cocoons but vacuuming also encourages the flea to hatch, and once hatched can then get sucked up by the vacuum. Using a carpet powder such as Diatomaceous Earth, or a silica compound such as Flea Busters etc. will not kill the pupa, but will kill the flea once it has hatched. They are quite non toxic and quite effective, but both of them take several days to kill the flea.
While we do not use, or advocate the use of, toxic products and chemicals, using an Insect Growth Regulator may be an option. The IGR is sprayed on to your carpet and furniture (follow manufacturer's instructions) and will last for about 7 months. Most IGR's also contain an adulticide which is more toxic. There are several IGR's available without the insecticide. Due diligence is key! Even with the IGR, there is an entire generation of pupae waiting to hatch, relief may be up to 8 weeks away depending on temperature.
Vacuuming will remove an impressive number of flea eggs. Flea eggs are removed much easier than any other life stage. Vacuum once a day.
For harder to vacuum areas, such as a couch, do a thorough vacuum, rub in some Diatomaceous Earth, and cover the couch with a sheet or other tightly woven textile. Every couple of days, remove the sheet by lifting it by the corners, folding it together on order to prevent eggs from falling off.
Shake it over a sink, in a shower or some other area that can be cleaned or rinsed and place the sheet in a hot dryer for 15 minutes.
Flea larvae hatch from the eggs in about 2 days. They will immediately seek a dark place so will go deeply into your carpet, under and behind furniture etc. There they will consume the flea dirt that fell off your pet. In about 7 days, the larva will begin to spin its protective cocoon.
The pupa is firmly anchored deep in your carpet with strong and sturdy silk threads. It is like a fortress. Inside the pupa the unhatched flea is completely safe from pesticides!
Flea bombs won't work. Carpet sprays won't work. Carpet powders won't work. Even submerged in water for a WEEK, over 80%of the pupa survives!
The pupa can stay in its cocoon for up to a year depending on circumstances and will emerge when conditions are right and they sense a blood meal nearby. Carbon dioxide, warmth and vibration can all lure the flea out of its fortress. Many "flea drop" manufacturers boldly state that their product kills all stages of the flea life cycle and then they recite them all, but somehow don't mention the pupa stage... You be the judge...
Again, the vacuum cleaner is a great weapon. The larva are harder to remove that the eggs due to their motility and ability to fold themselves around the fibers in the carpet this it is a great strategy to vacuum every day to get most of the eggs before they hatch.
The cat flea: