Got Fleas?

— Written By Bill Hanlin and last updated by JoAnne Gryder

flea life cycleIf you own pets, you may have experienced flea infestations from time to time. Fleas not only feed on pets but will take blood meals from humans as well. If you have had a flea infestation, you know that they are relatively difficult to control, because of how quickly they can reproduce.

Fleas have four stages in their life cycle: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. The female flea can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime, which can quickly lead to an infestation. Another advantage for fleas is that they can remain inactive in the pupal stage for weeks if no host is available. Once they sense the vibration given off by the host, adults will emerge quickly to begin feeding. The host could be your pet dog, cat, or you.

The best way to deal with fleas is to prevent them from getting into the home by treating your pet. Along with the normal dips, shampoos and flea collars, there are a wide variety of products which help control this pest. These products include insecticides and insect growth regulators that you actually feed your pet and insecticides that you place on your dog which are absorbed through the skin.

If you have gotten this information too late and you already have fleas in the house, then you still have other options. Vacuuming the carpet and furniture one to two times per week will reduce pest infestations. Be sure to vacuum those areas where pets lounge and high pet traffic areas. Remember to empty the vacuum after each vacuuming.

Pesticides are also effective in eliminating flea infestations; however, repeated applications are often needed to do the job. Again, spray areas where the pet spends much of its time plus under couches, beds and easy chairs. Repeated applications may be necessary since many pesticides kill the adults and larvae but not the eggs or pupa. If you have young children, you need to be careful what product you use and how often applications are repeated.

Cub Creek Community Garden. A limitednumber of garden plots are available at Cub Creek Community Garden. For a $20 fee, gardeners get a hundred square foot garden plot as well as access to tools, seeds and plants. Master gardeners will be glad to assist people with little gardening experience. Plots can be rented at the Wilkes Extension Service at 201 Curtis Bridge Road, Wilkesboro, or you may call 336.651.7333 for more information.