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How to Kill Fleas - Know them!

 

                                                                       Understanding Fleas

The first step in preventing or getting rid of fleas is to understand these little critters.  The more you know about them, the more capable you will be to set up the proper line of defense.  You will be able to better understand what steps are necessary to  rid  them if they do infest your pet and  home.
 

  • Fleas, Fleas, Everywhere

If you have fleas in your home, you are not alone.  In fact, in the United States alone an estimated $1.6 billion is spent every year on flea treatment through groomers.  An additional $4 billion is spent on over the counter flea treatments and an amazing $348 billion is spent on professional flea control.

Fleas have not always been considered to be a nuisance.  In fact, flea circuses have been around for at least 300 years.  This form of entertainment, which often involved attaching fleas to miniature carts and having them perform circus-like acts, was once common all over Europe and at American county fairs.  Of course, most people today do not find fleas to be quite so amusing.
 

  • The Amazing Power of Fleas

Fleas may be very tiny; in fact they are only fraction of an inch long and weigh one-millionth of a pound.  They can, however, pull up to 160,000 times their own weight, which is the equivalent of a human pulling 24 million pounds.  Therefore, it is easy to see how they could pull those carts in the flea circus!

In addition, fleas are strong jumpers capable of jumping up to 12 inches high.  This is over 150 times their size and it is the same as a human jumping 1,000 feet.  In order to accomplish this amazing feat, fleas must gain an acceleration of 50 times more than a space shuttle after liftoff.  Fleas also have amazing endurance and are capable of jumping 30,000 times without  stopping but each time they jump, they reverse direction.  This is why they are generally so difficult to catch in order to kill.

 

  • The Life Cycle

Eradicating  and preventing flea infestation is very important in understanding their life cycle.  For example, it is not only necessary to get rid of adult fleas but flea eggs and larvae must also be dealt with to stop the cycle from completing.  It is important to keep in mind when searching for a product to kill the fleas in your home as a product that kills only adult fleas will be virtually ineffective in ridding your home of the pests.  Products such as Frontline Plus for dogs and Frontline Plus for cats do an excellent job of getting rid of fleas regardless of their stage in the life cycle.

Because it is necessary to eradicate fleas within each stage of the life cycle, it is best to wash all household bedding (and especially your pets bedding!) once per week.  This will help eradicate eggs and larvae that may be in the bedding.  Also, you should never wash your pet with harsh soaps.  These soaps can remove important natural oils that actually help protect your pet.  Instead, you should bathe your pet regularly with flea shampoos such as Killyptus Flea and Tick Shampoo and Petgloss Insecticidal Shampoo.  Be sure to wash all pets, even those that do not seem to be itchy.