A Look at The Season…
Summer has abounded this year with BBQs, vacations and all sorts of fun in the sun! We know that the season’s summer heat has arrived when the phone starts ringing continually about the ants, wasps, yellow jackets, mosquitoes and black widows that have begun to move in. You know who else has been enjoying this beautiful weather and reaping the benefits of the tremendous downpours in the earlier months? Fleas! That’s right, those heavy rains may be coming back to bite us, literally! It’s in these moisture-rich conditions that fleas tend to thrive and wreak havoc in our homes, on our pets, and occasionally, on ourselves. To ease the potential burden of having these pests on your property, we’ve put together a rundown of everything you need to know to prevent or mitigate a flea infestation. Fret not, friends of EPC; we’ve got you covered.
An In-Depth Look at The Flea
If you’re like most, you are no stranger to the flea. Fleas might be what you think of when you see a dog furiously scratching behind the ears. However, especially if you are not a pet owner, fleas may not be a “creepy-crawly” that you commonly consider in terms of the upkeep of your home. Here are some lesser-known facts about fleas that every homeowner should consider.
Fleas are Parasites
Fleas most commonly exist on warm-blooded animals (like your household pets, racoons and rodents), and feed on their blood. While fleas don’t typically originate from inanimate objects like the carpet in your home or the fabric on your furniture, they can easily be transferred to these surfaces, your clothing, and anywhere else a pet frequently rests.
This is because, upon becoming adults, fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day! These eggs can fall off Fido and thrive in the fibers of your rugs, your carpets, and even your shoes. These flea eggs soon become larvae. The larvae then become wrapped in a silk cocoon where they will lay, resistant to insecticides, for up to four weeks before becoming new fleas.
Fleas Can Carry Disease
There are several diseases fleas might carry that can easily be passed on to your pet or to your family. While many of these diseases are rare, they exist, and they can be detrimental to any person or pet who’s afflicted. The most common diseases carried by fleas are:
• Cat Scratch Disease (CSD): While CSD doesn’t actually harm cats, roughly 40% of cats contract CSD during their lifetime. People with CSD may experience fever, headaches and more.
• Tapeworms: Some fleas are carriers of tapeworm eggs. When your dog bites at a flea and swallows it, those eggs are also swallowed. Those eggs can then hatch in the intestines, leading to a number of health problems for your dog.
• Flea Allergy Dermatitis: This happens when your pet continually bites and scratches at fleas in one particular area, leading to redness and infection on the surface of the skin. These wounds can become a more serious issue over time.
Fleas are Talented
These little vermin are most well-known for their amazing ability to jump. Fleas that are attracted to human skin can jump as far as 13 inches! That may not seem far to us humans, but for a flea, that is 200 times its body length.
While their jumping is impressive, strangely enough, they would much rather walk. Their bodies are uniquely designed to easily negotiate the fur or hair of their host. What’s more, many fleas have pores on the tops of their heads that produce an oily substance, allowing them to move with even more ease along their animal or human home.
These facts about fleas are as impressive as they are disturbing. If you’ve decided that you don’t want these little critters crawling around in your home or on your animal companions, then EPC is prepped and ready to assist.
The EPC Kitchen: Easy At-Home Dog Treats!
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour 1 tsp. salt
1 egg 1tsp. beef or chicken broth
½ cup hot water
Optional: Bacon Bits, shredded cheese, even a little peanut butter!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix together all ingredients
Knead dough until it forms a ball (approximately 3 minutes)
Roll dough until ½ inch thick
Cut into slices, twist into pretzels or use your favorite cookie cutter
Place dough pieces on lightly greased cookie sheet
Cook for 30 minutes
Let cool and serve!
Flea Prevention Checklist
Working Together to Keep Your Home Pest Free
• Vacuum all carpets and rugs weekly
• Wash all pet bedding in hot water regularly
• Give your pet a flea bath at the start of each summer or have your pet professionally groomed
• Groom your pet with a flea comb
• Mow your grass and trim bushes regularly
• Treat your lawns with an EPA and FDA approved flea treatment product that is safe for use on plants
• Avoid clutter in the yard and in the home (fleas flourish in dark and moist areas.. like grass)
A Summer Bonus: Mosquito Prevention Checklist
Although we don’t treat for these pests, we’ll do our best to help you keep them away.
Get rid of standing water
Do not over water your plants and lawns
Clean out your gutters and check your leach lines for faults Intersperse your home with lavender, marigolds, catnip, basil, peppermint, rosemary, citronella or garlic as a repellant