Integrated Flea Lancaster County Management 444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A / Lincoln, NE 68528 (402) 441-7180 / http://lancaster.unl.edu 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 IngRedIenT) 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.