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Missouri City Flea & Tick Prevention

Missouri City has a much longer flea season than the northern states. The high humidity in Missouri City makes flea season almost a yearlong event. Fleas are marvelously adapted for survival. The female lays eggs on the host animal, but the eggs fall to the ground, carpet, sofa, dog bed, owner's bed, or easy chair where they hatch in two-to-five days. The flea larva feeds on organic debris in the environment. Within a week or two, depending on temperature and humidity, the larva spins a pupa (or cocoon) to protect it during metamorphosis to the adulthood. We recommend treating not only your pet, but your home and yard as well.

There are four sages of the life cycle of the flea. The adult flea constitutes only about 5% of the entire flea population if you consider all four stages of the life cycle. Flea eggs are pearly white and about 1/32" in length. They are also too small to see without magnification. Fleas lay their eggs on your pet, but the eggs do not stick, and fall off into the environment. The eggs make up about 50% of the flea population. In about 1 to 10 days depending on the temperature and humidity, the eggs hatch into larvae. High humidity and temperature favor rapid hatching.

Flea larvae are slender and about 1/8 -1/4 in length. They feed on organic debris found in their environment and on adult flea feces. They avoid direct sunlight and actively move deep into carpet fibers or under organic debris such as grass, branches, leaves or soil. They live for 5 to 10 days before becoming a pupa.

Following complete development, the mature larvae produce a silk-like cocoon in which the next step of development, the pupa resides. The cocoon is sticky, so it quickly becomes coated with debris from the environment. This serves to camouflage it. In warm, humid conditions, pupae become adult fleas in 5-10 days.

When the adult flea emerges from its cocoon, it immediately seeks a host because it must have a blood meal within a few days to survive. it is attached to people and pets by body heat, movement, and exhaled carbon dioxide. It seeks light, which means that it migrates to the surface of the carpet so that it can encounter a passing host. Following the first blood meal, female fleas begin egg production within 36 to 48 hours. Egg production can continue for as long as 100 days, which means that a single flea can produce thousands of eggs. The entire life cycle can be completed in 14-21 days with the proper temperature and humidity conditions. The adds to the problem of flea control.

Experts advise if you see on flea, there may be more than 100 offspring or adults nearby in furniture, corners, cracks, carpet, or on your pet.

There are steps you can take to help eliminate fleas before and after a professional treatment.

1) Vacuum/Mop floors daily especially where your pets tend rest and eat.

2) Vacuum base boards, under pillows, on couches, under beds, etc.

3) Wash and dry infested bedding on the hottest cycles you can.

4) Keep grass mowed low

5) Bathe your pet / utilize pet flea spray/shampoo

6) Consult your vet for oral or topical flea control options

First things first–give them a bath! We recommend bathing your pet with a flea and tick shampoo. Fleas hate water, so use lots of it in tandem with a flea treatment shampoo. Then comb them down with a fine-toothed flea comb, paying special attention to the face, stomach, and tail. Dip the comb in soapy water to kill any fleas you get off. Bathe no more than once every other week (over-bathing can dry out your pup’s skin), and groom with a flea comb daily. Immersion in water kills adult fleas and larvae, so washing your pets bedding every few days knocks out any budding colonies. Whatever combination of flea treatments you choose, make sure you have something on hand for the hot, humid days of summer when fleas can invade in hordes.

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