Those Bloodsucking Fleas - Part 2

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Those bloodsucking Fleas Part 2     

Lee S. Yudin, Ph.D.
Pacific Daily News
December 27, 1997

Pet Treatment: If a cat or dog lives either inside and/or outside the house, the homeowner needs to take certain steps to safeguard pets from fleas. Fleas are found on Guam throughout the year. The pet bedding should be washed on a weekly basis along with any other material the pet might sleep on (rugs, rags, etc.). Remember that flea eggs are usually deposited in the pet resting area and need to be disposed of. Pets, especially dogs, should also be given a bath with a flea shampoo at least once every two weeks. Most pet and some hardware stores on Guam sell flea shampoos (liquids), flea dusts (powders), flea sprays (pre-mixed solutions), and flea collars. Some cats and dogs may show a skin sensitivity to the collar. Ideally, a clean pet is less likely to have heavy flea infestations compared to a pet that is not kept clean. A pet is like a child, it needs to be feed and properly cleaned and sheltered. There are a few systemic chemicals (in pill form) that can be administered to either dog or cat that can help reduce flea infestation on the pet. For more information about these products please contact your local veterinarian.

Indoor Control: If a flea infestation is found within one’s home the use of a vacuum-cleaner, equipped with a beater-bar (a roller with brushers), can remove a certain percent of both eggs and larvae. Shampooing and/or vacuuming carpets raises up the carpet fibers to allow fro maximum penetration of applied insecticides. It is also advisable to thoroughly vacuum furniture. Reminder – after vacuuming, it is very important to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately, as eggs and larvae will continue to develop inside the bag and act as a flea reservoir. Place the vacuum bag inside a plastic garbage bag, seal the garbage bag outside for garbage pick up. Once a thorough mechanical control is completed, it is advisable to apply both a residual insecticide and an insect growth regulator for flea control immediately.

Outdoor Control: Elimination of fleas outside the home should be done in conjunction with indoor control. Areas in the yard protected from direct sunlight and where the soil is moist are ideal conditions for flea development. Remember flea eggs are usually deposited in the pet resting area (bedding materials and soil where the pet sleeps on). When treating a yard wit a flea insecticide, a homeowner should concentrate spraying around gardens, bushes, mulch, or other moist shaded areas. Spraying insecticides over the large expanse of a shade-free lawn will generally not be beneficial. Remember that mowing and raking the yard and removing organic debris form under bushes, trees, etc. prior to spraying will enhance any insecticide program.

For more information about fleas or other household pests you can contact you local Cooperative Extension Service on Guam or throughout Micronesia.