Integrated Flea Management by gabyion


                                            Flea                                                                                                                                                                                               Lancaster County
                                            Management                                                                                                                             444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A / Lincoln, NE 68528
                                                                                                                                                                                             (402) 441-7180 /
                                            Barb Ogg, UNL Extension Educator

                                                                                         Vicki Jedlicka, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

                                                                                                                                                                                         Barb Ogg, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
Jim Kalisch, UNL Department of Entomology

                                            Highly magnified view of a cat flea                                                                          A flea on a cat                                                                    Highly magnified view of flea
                                                         (male).                                                                                                                                                                           larvae with the tip of a pin.
                                                  Dogs and cats are at risk of getting                                                       do not fly, but have strong hind legs                                                     have seen an increased number of
                                            fleas. In Nebraska, flea infestations                                                            which they use to jump from host to                                                       flea infestations in the last few years.
                                            usually get started in the summertime,                                                           host.                                                                                     Experts do not understand the reasons
                                            after pets come in contact with                                                                       Flea bites are extremely irritating                                                  for this increase. Some people believe
                                            infested pets or after they walk in areas                                                        to pets. Large infestations or extreme                                                    cat fleas may be developing resistance
                                            where infested animals have spent                                                                sensitivity may result in intense itching                                                 to the pet-care products, but this has
                                            time. In the U.S., the most common                                                               and weight loss. Fleas have been                                                          not been verified.
                                            flea species carried by both cats and                                                            known to transmit diseases. Fleas on
                                            dogs is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides                                                            cats and dogs are the intermediate                                                                    Life Cycle
                                            felis. Compared with other flea species,                                                         host for Dipylidium caninum, better                                                            In order to understand all the
                                            the cat flea has a very wide host range.                                                         known as the double-pore tapeworm,                                                        steps needed to eliminate a flea infes-
                                            Wild animals carrying cat fleas include                                                          which infests dogs, cats and some-                                                        tation, it is important to understand
                                            raccoons, opossum, skunks and foxes.                                                             times, humans.                                                                            the flea life cycle.
                                                  Sometimes petless families have                                                                 Because fleas do not spend their                                                          Adult female and male fleas need a
                                            to deal with fleas after a visit to the                                                          entire life on their host animal, they                                                    blood meal before mating. The female
                                            pet store or after the kids have played                                                          are nearly always associated with                                                         flea lays 30–50 eggs on the animal each
                                            with a neighborhood dog or cat. A                                                                animals that regularly return to the                                                      day. She may live 4–25 days. The eggs
                                            flea infestation may result, after a flea                                                        same nesting sites.                                                                       are not attached to the animal and
                                            infested wild animal, like a raccoon                                                                  Beginning about 1995, the                                                            fall off wherever the animal sleeps or
                                            takes up residence in a chimney or                                                               number of flea infestations decreased,                                                    walks. The eggs fall into the carpet, pet
                                            crawlspace.                                                                                      due to the use of effective animal care                                                   bedding or yard.
                                                  Fleas are small, dark brown                                                                products that kill adult fleas on the                                                          Indoors, eggs hatch into tiny,
                                            insects whose bodies are hardened and                                                            animal. But, extension entomolo-                                                          light-colored wormlike larvae which
                                            compressed from side to side. Fleas                                                              gists and pest control professionals                                                                        Continued on next page

                                              Please Read — We are providing information about flea control to help you, the consumer, be more informed
                                              about flea control so you can make more intelligent decisions about products. We recommend you work with a veterinarian
                                              before you use flea products on your pet. It is important to read and follow label directions. It is also important to use a
                                              product on the animal for which it is labeled. Products which can be used on dogs may not be appropriate for cats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Know how. Know now.
                                                                 Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
                                                                                                      cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture.

                                                                 Extension’s educational programs abide with the nondiscrimination policies of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
                                                                                                                                and the United States Department of Agriculture.
live deep among the carpet fibers, in       larval stage in the pet’s environ-                 time, adult fleas will still bite your
cracks and crevices or pet bedding.         ment by disrupting the flea life cycle             pet because it does not kill adult
Outdoors, flea larvae are most likely       and preventing the recurrence of adult             fleas.
found in shady locations, often where       fleas.                                           • Spray Treatments: Instead of using
animals spend time. Larvae feed on                This step begins by laundering               lufenuron, you may choose to treat
organic matter. After several larval        and steam cleaning/vacuuming:                      carpets and other surfaces with an
stages, the larva spins a tiny silken       • Wash pet bedding in hot water to                 IGR spray to break the flea life cycle.
cocoon and pupates within it. Adult            kill flea larvae. If animals sleep with         These growth regulators prevent eggs
emergence from the pupa is stimu-              family members, all bedding must be             from hatching and larval fleas from
lated by vibration and an increase in          washed.                                         pupating into adults. Use products
carbon dioxide, which indicates a host      • Steam clean or vacuum carpets thor-              which contain one of these two ac-
is present. The newly emerged adult            oughly everywhere the infested pet is           tive ingredients:
immediately jumps on the host and              allowed to roam.                              • Methoprene (Precor, Siphotrol). This
begins feeding.                                   After laundering and vacuuming,              IGR has been in the market for many
     The entire life cycle usually takes    it will be necessary to treat with an              years and has proven to be effective.
a month or so; time is dependent on         insect growth regulator (IGR) where                This IGR breaks down quickly in
temperature and humidity.                   pets spend time. Focus on locations                sunlight, but works well indoors.
                                            where pets:                                      • Pyriproxifen (Nylor, Archer) does
           Flea Control                     • go in and out of the house                       not break down in ultraviolet light as
     Flea control can be challenging        • sleep and rest                                   quickly as methoprene so it lasts in
because of all the different places         • jump off beds, sofas and chairs                  carpets for many months. If outdoor
that must be treated. The goal of flea      • spend time with family members                   treatments are needed, products
control is to eliminate existing adult            When pets spend time outdoors,               which contain pyriproxifen should
fleas on pets; then take actions to         it may be necessary to treat outdoor               be used.
eliminate larval fleas that develop off     areas, especially shady locations.
the animal.                                 Effective products which effectively                What About Foggers?
     1. The first action is to treat        control flea larvae with little to no                A fogger (or bomb) can be
the animal to kill adult fleas. The         negative impact on human or pet                  thought of as total-release-aerosol.
newest animal treatments are often          health include insect growth regulators          The insecticide is released into a mist
prescribed by veterinarians, but some       (IGRs).                                          which dissipates in the room. Unfortu-
effective older products can now be               There are several IGRs which can           nately, foggers do not penetrate well in
obtained at pet supply stores. Some         be used:                                         carpets where larval fleas are hiding. In
products may be purchased on-line.          • Program® is a once-a-month oral                general, they provide poor flea control.
Even if purchased on-line or at a pet          treatment which effectively steril-
supply store, we encourage pet owners          izes the female by preventing eggs                     Resistance to
to visit with their veterinarian when          from hatching. Data shows that                        Animal Products
using animal care products.                    within seven days after lufenuron is               The recent animal treatments to
     What about traditional flea treat-        fed to the animal, virtually 100% of          prevent or control fleas have been very
ments? Flea shampoos and powders               the eggs laid by female fleas failed          effective. But, because flea infestations
cost less than the animal preventative         to hatch. If you use Program®, all            have been increasing, it is possible
treatments listed above, but they              cats and dogs in a household must             we are seeing early resistance to some
may not be as effective. Shampoos              be treated because any untreated              of these products. If you are having
and powders will need to be repeated           animals can infest your household             problems controlling fleas, and have
regularly.                                     with fleas. If you already have a flea        been using the same flea prevention
     2. The second part of                     infestation, lufenuron will break the         treatment on your pet, consider using
managing fleas is to control the               flea life cycle, but, for a period of         a different animal treatment.

Table 1. some common products used to treat adult fleas on animals
 PRoduCT (ACTIve         MeTHod ReseARCH ResuLTs/CoMMenTs
 Frontline™ (fipronil)   topical     Death of fleas and ticks usually within 24 hours. Monthly application killed 97% of fleas on pets
                                     and 98% reduction of off-host life stages. May be found at pet supply stores.
 Advantage™              topical     Single topical application provided 95% control of fleas on cats and dogs. There was also a 98%
 (imidacloprid)                      reduction of off-host life cycle stages. May be found at pet supply stores.
 Revolution™             topical     Synthetic ivermectin. Selemectin killed 98% of fleas on dogs (36-hr) and cats (24-hr). Protected
 (selemectin)                        dogs for 21 days and bathing animals did not affect its effectiveness. Revolution is the only one of
                                     these medications that also prevents dog heartworms, ticks, ear mites and sarcoptic mange. It is
                                     more expensive than other treatments, but is effective against more parasites.
 Capstar™                oral        Same chemical class as imidacloprid (Advantage). Nitempyram starts working within 15 minutes.
 (nitempyram)                        Within 30 minutes, adult fleas are dislodged. All of the fleas were killed within eight hours.

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