If you have ever had to deal with a flea problem, you know how frustrating and expensive it can be.
There are over 250 flea species in North America with the cat flea being the most common found on dogs and cats. Besides sucking blood and causing allergic reactions, fleas also transmit disease to both humans and animals.
Humans usually find flea bites around their lower legs, but bites can be found anywhere on the body. The bites are usually accompanied by pain, and can develop a small, red, itchy spot.
Pets with fleas usually develop sores on the skin from all the scratching and biting.
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Fleas have four growth stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Adults live on the host, but eggs, larva and pupa develop on the ground.
A female flea can lay 20 or more eggs a day, and up to 600 eggs during her lifetime. The flea life cycle can be a quick process or can take many months depending on environmental conditions. Because of this, areas that have had no pets for several months can develop a flea problem.
The best way to avoid a flea problem is to stop it before it starts. It is best to involve your local veterinarian in your pet’s flea control program, especially with some products only being available with a prescription.
Be sure to check your pets frequently for fleas. If your pet has fleas, consult your veterinarian. Vacuum the area where fleas are found, or where your pets roam.
Seal and dispose of the vacuum bag. Wash all bedding material and treat pet bedding areas.
Areas in the house or yard should be spot treated at the same time as all of your pets. To protect yourself, wear repellents while working in the yard.
For the exterior of the home, pet owners will find several brands of granular or dust type flea insecticides that can be broadcast over a lawn or around the perimeter of the home.
These should be used mostly around the shaded areas of the yard, where the soil is moist and where pets spend most of their time. These are the places where flea development will likely occur.
It is also important to keep stray animals, including wildlife, out of your yard for any flea control program to be successful.
Pesticides can be dangerous to humans and pets. Always follow labeling and veterinarian instructions. Because many pesticides do not control egg or pupa stages, treatment may need to be repeated.
Source: extension.uga.edu and Teddie Berry, Houston Horticulture Program Assistant
For more information on any program area, contact Houston County Extension at 478-987-2028 or drop by our office in the old courthouse, downtown Perry, 801 Main St. Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit our website at http://www.caes.uga.edu/extension/houston/ for more news about your local Extension office.
Check out my blog at http://blog.extension.uga.edu/houston/
Houston County 4-H is offering many day camps and field trips this summer. Contact the extension office for more details.
Dates to remember:
June 6: Cotton Scout School, Tifton
June 7: A Tour of Gardens 9-noon, Contact Centerville United Methodist Church 953-3090
June 7: Kiko Goat Skill-a-thon, Open to children of all ages
June 8-12: Natural Resources Conservation Workshop, Tifton, Students 10-12 grade 229-391-5072
June 11-12: Intensive Forest Management, Statesboro, Register at conted.warnell.uga.edu
June 11-14: 4-H State Horse Show
June 15-19: 4-H State Horse School
June 16: Grower’s Meeting, Perry