giant flea infestation

Here in central southern Oregon we are being told (as if we need to be) that we are being besieged with a new kind of flea. I’m almost ready to believe it too. Our cat gets washed almost weekly using sergeant’s skip flea shampoo. This cat is almost 10 years old, the first time I washed him, the water in the bath was almost bloody, I felt like such a schmuck for allowing it to go so far, I’ve never seen an animal this infested. We’ve been using Frontline on the back of his neck but he has began losing hair where we put the frontline. Several cats in the neighborhood have had the same reaction as well……..So, in the past three days we have torn out the carpet and have put in a wood floor which we will paint with an oil based paint in hopes that any eggs or pupae will die. All corners of the floors and walls are being caulked and seams spackled. I cannot believe that an infestation of fleas could ever get this incredibly out of control. Have you heard of this year being any worse for fleas in any state? I measured one flea over an 8th of an inch long!

If you review our FLEA CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn there are many different species of fleas active in the USA. Though most have names that seem to indicate they might be “native” to a specific animal, in fact most all can cross populate. In other words, a cat flea will find a dog to be an ideal host. A rat flea can easily feed on a bird; a human flea can live on a cat. As you may imagine, with this unique capability it’s entirely possible you have an “off” popular flea that’s seemingly very active this year. And if this particular species is a flea that’s not too common in your region, it could well come across as a “new” species. But is it something different from what we already have? I doubt it.

Now to back up that scenario it is safe to say the fleas have been bad this past year. My own observation is simple: we had more rainfall in 2009 which continued into 2010 and in my pest control experience (which exceeds 30 years), I’ve seen a direct link to the amount of rain and the general population of certain insects. And the flea is one that seems to be directly related to rainfall in a “congruent” sort of way. Translation? The more rainfall we get around the nation the more the flea population seems to explode.

At this point I suggest you start getting control of this problem by first changing flea strategies with your cat. For starters, I’d get some of the OXY ITCH RELEIF for your cat along with the MELALUCA SHAMPOO. I also recommend not putting that concentrated material directly on her anymore but instead opt for a more gentle product like the WATER BASED FLEA SPRAY. No doubt your pet will be better off since this is a more gentle approach and in the long run, it will do the job at a lot less of the cost.

As for the house; no doubt you need to isolate any area that might be a problem. To do this you’ll need to install some FLEA TRAPS in the home. They’ll no doubt help to isolate and monitor the local activity so that any room or area still showing flea activity can be treated. I’m not sure what you’re attempting to accomplish with the caulking and spackling since fleas don’t migrate or travel; as our article explains they only reside on hosts and their environments so you can’t “seal” them out since they can’t get in even if you kept your doors and windows wide open. The fact is with fleas they need something in the home to breed on and in most cases this starts with the pet. From there it will move to carpets, bedding, couches, chairs, blankets and other parts of the home out in the open but most definitely not in cracks or crevices. With that being said, if the traps begin to collect fleas in one region of the house, do a good inspection to figure out what is allowing them to breed in this area and then treat accordingly.

For those areas, the PRECOR 2000 might be the way to go if you’ve converted everything to hardwood floors. It’s good for all the furniture, place rugs and other areas where the pets frequent. As our article explains, the local fleas you have must be reproducing somewhere and since you’ve been treating the pet, I’m sure the cycle is going on somewhere in the home. True the rugs being removed should help but in my experience, this never solves the problem. It basically is just a “band aid” and if you don’t get a real treatment in place within a month or two of the change, you’ll be right back where you started with or without carpeting. Good luck!

Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:

Flea Control Article:

Oxy Itch Relief:

Melaluca Shampoo:

Water Based Flea Spray:

Flea Traps:

Precor 2000: