released, they run to these places to investigate, even
In the past, flea control in the northern United
if they can't get at the animals. This behavior ideally
States consisted of a summer spray inside and
facilitates flea reinfestation of clean pets.
treatment of the pet since reinfestations from outside
were not common. In the southern states where outside
Indoor. Flea populations build up in warm humid
infestations were common, treatment in the yard was
also needed. Today flea infestations and reinfestations
weather of spring and summer and drop to low levels
are common in all parts of the country except very dry
in cool or dry winter weather. Inside air with a low
humidity will hold back the buildup of flea
When focus areas of flea populations are
identified, these and other potential harborage sites
CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT
should be vacuumed as thoroughly as possible. Except
for flea allergy dermatitis, which can be initiated with
Indoor. A close inspection of a home or building
very few flea bites, a moderate flea population can be
will principally involve finding the "hot spots" or areas
kept at a tolerable level by vacuuming alone. This
of high flea development. Pet bedding or sleeping
vacuuming MUST be performed daily and must always
areas should be identified first. Pets do not sleep or
be thorough -- an alternative very few pet owners
rest indiscriminately or randomly in a building. They
would choose when other safe and effective options are
have favorite places and move among them throughout
available. If vacuuming is augmented by use of growth
the day. Where they habitually stop and rest, flea eggs
regulators, better success can be predicted.
and dried blood accumulates. These are spots where
Reduction of clutter facilitates inspection and
they habitually scratch, bite, or shake (e.g.
permits effective pesticide application and vacuuming.
immediately after leaving a resting spot). Spots where
Pets and feral animals should be kept out of crawl
cats land as they jump down from a high resting or
spaces, and from under porches and out-buildings.
feeding area are places where eggs and dried blood
Eliminating the wildlife habitat where fleas are
harbored and trapping or killing animals responsible
Outdoor. Kennels and doghouses are obvious
for reinfestations may become essential in stopping
places where fleas build up. But there are other places
difficult flea infestations. Care should be taken,
pets prefer to sleep or rest at certain times of the day.
however, not to rely on wild animal elimination alone;
Examples are under particular bushes, under porches,
these animals are usually replaced by others moving in
or in crawl spaces. If a pet roams the perimeter fence,
from adjacent range (see outside treatment). Consult
points of infestation might be located there.
local restrictions when dealing with wild mammals.
Outdoor flea infestations rely on dependable hosts
and warm humid climatic conditions. Flea larvae
require moisture because they easily dry out and die.
Treatment of Pets. Pets should be treated by the
Neither can they tolerate free water (such as rainwater)
or they drown. Therefore, infestations are not found in
pet owner or a veterinarian. Where flea allergy
unprotected or undrained situations.
dermatitis is involved, pets must be treated by
Reinfestation from outside. As do pets, some
veterinarians or else recovery will be slow at best. Pet
species of urban wildlife harbor cat flea infestations.
bedding should be washed once a week. The pet
When urban neighborhoods mature, their habitat for
kennel or pet box should also be cleaned and washed
wildlife increases. Raccoons have long been
each week. The weekly schedule kills eggs and larvae,
prominent, and, in fact, have overpopulated some
and eliminates the dried blood essential for complete
urban areas; they live in chimneys, large trees and
larval nourishment. Pet owners can purchase pesticide
storm sewers. Chipmunks, ground squirrels, and
powders and sprays and they should be used according
domestic rodents have also found habitat in ivy
to label information. "Dipping" pets is done most
terraces, rock walls, soil berms and underground
effectively by veterinarians. Flea collars may help with
drainage areas. Another mammal, the opossum, has
some flea infestations but they are generally the least
extended its range or has been introduced over most of
the United States; it is one of the most common urban
Treatment of puppies and kittens with dusts and
wildlife species found today.
sprays can be hazardous. These small pets should be
Pets are always aware of the locations of wildlife
moved out of infested areas into clean bedding and
habitat in their own backyard. As soon as they are
their mothers carefully treated. Children should not
Module One, Chapter 7, Pg 3