North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

October 7, 2009

Do you or your pet have an itch? It could be a flea infestation

Health Watch By Steve Mullenix

The North Jefferson News




An old Turkish proverb states: “You don’t burn a blanket to get rid of a flea.”

However, if you have ever had fleas in your home, you might consider it.

Fleas have a relatively simple life cycle, which makes interrupting it easy. The female must take a blood meal in order to produce eggs. The female normally lays her eggs within two days of her first blood feast.

These eggs are usually found in pet bedding, carpets or upholstery. The normal flea population at any given area comprises of 50 percent eggs, 35 percent larvae, 10 percent pupae, and only 5 percent biting adults.

One of the first tell-tale signs of a flea infestation is the unexplained bites about the ankles and lower legs. To be sure you have a flea infestation, you need to look for flea feces.

This will be small grains of what look like dirt, but if you rub it between your fingers with a small amount of water, it will turn red from the dried blood. The most common place to look first is on your pet’s belly or favorite bedding if you have a pet inside the home.

When addressing a flea infestation it is imperative that the home and animal, if one is involved, both be treated. In eradicating fleas in the home, it is essential that suspected areas of infestation be keep as clean as possible, which means to vacuum often and change the vacuum bag frequently.

Flea bombs are a quick way to kill adult fleas, but present the problem of having to be used in a tightly closed area. Also, fleas tend to have an annoying ability to evolve, and over time have become immune to some of the pesticides used in these flea foggers.

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