Do you have a flea infestation in your home? Is it getting you down? Unsure what to do about it?
With some hard work and determination you CAN BREAK THE CYCLE and get rid of the pesky little blighters, once and for all. Trust me I know I have been there. At the time of writing this article I currently have two cats a male named Merlin and female Lilly. Lilly is more of a stay at home cat. She does have access to the great outdoors but doesn’t really venture any further than the front yard.
Merlin on the other hand is your typical alpha male. He likes to wander far and wide and invariably will bring me home lots of presents, mice, birds, frogs even the odd newspaper or two! Not that I’m blaming Merlin for my flea problem, he’s just a cat doing what cats love to do.
Ordinarily regularly treating your cats for fleas is all that is required. Unfortunately for myself I was using a particular brand of product and the fleas became immune to the treatment without me realising before it was too late.
Understanding The Cat Flea Life Cycle
There are four stages to the life cycle of a flea, as such sometimes treating your cat alone isn’t going to be enough, which is why killing fleas in your home can be such a painstaking process.
The adult flea that hosts onto your cat represents 5% of the total flea cycle
(Dryden MW, Houlton D. Understanding Flea Biology and Control. Vet Practices STAFF. 1990;7-9)
- Egg Stage: a female flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day. The eggs will hatch between 1 – 10 days. The eggs quickly fall off your cat into the carpet, your cats bedding, your bedding or generally any area that your cat likes to hang out.
- Larval Stage: As larvae they are able to move around and will find a dark place in your home to reside. Whether it be within your carpets, under the skirting boards or in between the laminate flooring. The larvae will spin a cocoon, similar to a caterpillar, and will develop into pupae. This process takes around 10 days
- Pupal Stage: pupae take 10 days to grow into adulthood. These are the hardest nuts to crack however as they can spend as much as 180 days within their cocoons, waiting for the right environment in which to hatch.
- Adult Flea: Once the flea has fully developed within the cocoon it will wait for a host to hop onto, which if they are in your home, will almost invariably be one of your pets. Once the flea is on the host it will look for a mate and the whole cycle will start all over.
Killing Fleas In Your Home Is All About Breaking The Flea Cycle
So if your cat hasn’t been treated regularly, or perhaps as in my case the fleas have become immune to treatment it is easy to see how a flea infestation can grow very quickly. Below is my five step program to getting rid of the fleas in your home.
You may have to repeat this program several times but hard work and determination will see you through. All of the below steps need to be done simultaneously. I would suggest you approach this program room by room within your home.
If you are fortunate to have central heating then turn it on high at least 24 hours before you plan to begin treatment. By doing so will help promote the hatching of the eggs into larvae.
Treat your cats. I’m not going to go into any details with this step as I have written a separate article which you can read here.
Wash all of your cats bedding, cushions, your own bedding, in fact generally any washable items in areas where your cats like to hang out need to be washed. Everything needs to be washed at at least 60 degrees centigrade as fleas can survive temperatures lower than this.
Get the trusted vacuum cleaner out and hoover for your dear life. The vibration caused by the hoover promotes the adult fleas to emerge from their cocoons so be sure to put the nozzle on your hoover also and get into every nook and cranny in the room. And I mean every nook and cranny. Remember fleas at the larval stage hide in the deepest darkest corners of your home so it is important that you cover all areas.
Spray Insecticide just about everywhere you can, and I mean everywhere. Be sure to cover the entire area, do not miss one inch of the room.
I personally use Advocate Flea Spray and have never had any problems. There are various different types of products available on the market, however I have never had any problems with Advocate and as such haven’t tested anything else.
Now do not be disheartened if after all of this effort you find that the fleas come back. In fact they more than likely will. You have to bear in mind that one flea can lay 40 eggs in a day, and that is just one single flea. Coupled with the fact that there are four cycles you will more than probably miss some. I know I certainly did.