With more than 2,000 different species of fleas, it's no wonder they're so abundant around the globe. So it's important to be prepared, whether you're at home or traveling with your cat or dog. Due to factors such as local climate conditions, the flea season as recommended by the flea index may vary from year to year. It should also be noted that fleas (in their various stages) can survive indoors during the cold weather months; therefore, a monthly flea control regimen is recommended. Consult your pest control operator about flea prevalence in your area, how long it lasts and the recommended time to start your cat or dog on flea control.
Once you have decided you need to contact a professional to take care of a flea problem, here are some tips to help prepare ahead of time.
How You Can Help Your Family and Your Pet
What you do is critical for a successful flea control program. When you decide to use a professional service, there are important things you need to do immediately before and after they treat your home and lawn. Flea control is a three-step process involving your home, lawn and pet.
- Observe where pets spend time – inside and outside the home.
- Take your pets to a veterinarian to be checked and treated for fleas. To help avoid reinfestation, don't let freshly treated pets back into your home or yard until those areas have been treated.
- Vacuum carpets, floors, rugs, drapes, upholstered furniture, mattresses and cushions. Use a vacuum with a disposable bag and dispose of it by incineration or sealing in a plastic bag.
- Wash or dispose of all pet bedding.
- Clean or vacuum wood and tile floors with special attention to grooves, cracks and baseboards.
- Sweep porches, steps and decks.
- Cut the lawn and remove debris and clutter prior to yard treatment.
- All unwrapped food should be covered or placed in cabinets or the refrigerator. Food preparation surfaces and utensils should be covered. Pick up pet bowls from inside as well as outside the home.
- Be sure to remove all toys, decorative items, pillows and other items off the floor, including under the bed and closets, so that all areas of the floor can be treated.
- Cover fish tanks and turn off air pumps, and remove birds and hamsters when the technician arrives.
- Make arrangements for everyone, including pets, to remain out of the home and off the yard for approximately four hours after treatment to allow for the area to completely dry.
Once your home and yard have been professionally treated, there are important things you need to do.
- All occupants and animals should stay off treated surfaces until they are dry.
- Vacuum carpets every day for 10 days and remove the vacuum's bag outdoors and dispose of it properly. Don't be alarmed if you see adult fleas when you are vacuuming. These fleas were in the pupa and egg stages, which aren't killed by the insecticide application. However, there is enough residual control to last up to four weeks. That's enough time to kill adults as they emerge and give good control in most situations.
- Wash food preparation surfaces and utensils that might have come in contact with the insecticide.
- Do not allow flea-infested pets in your home. If this happens, the house may become reinfested and retreatment will be necessary.
- Check all screening of foundation vents and other access areas to keep mice, rats and squirrels and other flea-carrying wild animals out.