How cold must it be to end the “flea season?” I live in the St. Louis area and currently it’s down in the low 30s upper 20s at night, but warms to 40s-50s during the day. Last week it was in the 70s. If it warms during the day, will the darn things continue to be active? My pets have been plagued since July despite a visit from the bug man in August to spray inside and regular applications of Frontline. From what I have read, I suspect I need to do some serious vacuuming and call the bug guy back. I was hoping for a reprieve when the cold weather hit.
If you read through our FLEA CONTROL ARTICLE, there are three things you’ll find discussed.
1) Fleas infest pets, the home and the yard. The least important is the yard. So if you keep a pet inside the home, you can have fleas all year long. It makes no difference what the temperature is outside since the flea cycle can be completed on all three of these areas. So to answer to your first question: flea season never ends inside the home or on most any animal and though it will “shut down” over the winter, this is clearly just a dormant time for them as they don’t actually die so I have a hard time saying they’ve “ended”. Additionally, they’ll be “active” in the home regardless of how warm or cold it gets outside during the winter.
2) Our article also explains that pets treated with products like Frontline will no doubt have less fleas breeding on them. And based on the time involved since you first started treating, I’m pretty sure your pet isn’t involved at this time which leads me to point 3..
3) You can’t kill the flea pupae and if the home is breeding them (which I’m pretty sure is happening right now at your house), the pupae can keep hatching for 3-9 months following the initial treatments. And as our article further explains, the constant spraying will kill off the adults that are out but until you get all the pupae to hatch, you’ll still be seeing them as developing pupae mature and hatch out. Based on what you’re saying, it sounds like there is a lot of pupae still hatching and I expect that will continue till the supply finally runs out.
At this point spraying on the top will help. So too will be vacuuming as well as some of the other points we mention in our article. But one pro active thing you can do right away is to install some FLEA TRAPS. These will no doubt get the flea pupae to hatch out much faster so that in the end, these traps will help reduce the amount of fleas both your pets and you absorb (see more on this post about FLEA TRAPS IN HOME FOR RENT).
One last point I feel I must make; the cold actually prolongs the flea season. This happens because people typically turn on the heat and inside the home, the air becomes very dry. You see, fleas need water. And during the warm, summer months when it’s hot and humid, they can complete their flea cycle in 7-14 days. But when the temps drop and air moisture is low like it is in a heated home, they will take a lot longer to develop. In some cases the 7-14 day summer cycle can be extended to 3-6 months! So in the end, the conditions now present are actually working against you essentially enabling the fleas to linger much longer than they would if it was still warm. You have to be careful; sometimes getting what you want isn’t always as good as you might have thought and this definitely applies to the problem cold weather creates when it comes to flea infestations.
In summary, spraying more often with something like PERMETHRIN once a week will help. And setting up some Flea Traps will really help. But not till all the pupae are used up will you finally be flea free.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Flea Control Article: www.flea.net/flea-control
Flea Traps: www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page22.html
Flea Traps in action.. www.flea.net/flea-traps/rental-property-with-fleas.html