For those of us with pets, we look forward to winter; we see it as a time when we don’t have to worry about pests like fleas that torture our animals. We look forward to a break from the sprays and gels and powders and medicines; all the things we try on our pets and in our homes to keep the blood suckers at bay.
Unfortunately winter does not necessarily spell the end of bug season.
Fleas are disgusting parasites that think nothing of hitching a ride on our pets, or on us, anywhere in our homes. One or two fleas may not seem like a problem, but it only takes a few to morph into a serious infestation in a matter of weeks. Winter is the best time to attack and mount a counter offensive against this invading pest that can be hard to find and even harder to eliminate.
Just because you don’t find fleas on your pet, doesn’t mean you don’t have a flea problem. That’s because adult fleas spend most of their time in your home rather than on your pet. Our pets are nothing more than a meal ticket and a place to lay eggs or hitch a ride. The female flea will lay eggs anywhere in the home, not just on your dog or cat. Not only are fleas a biting terror, some have tapeworm eggs which can infect your pet.
The perfect temperature for the flea life cycle is between 70 and 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity. Winter is the best time to attack fleas because lower humidity levels can slow down their development. They are still in the environment, but less active. If you have a flea infestation in your home, only five percent are adult fleas. The real problem is the remaining population made up of 50 percent eggs, 30 percent larvae and 15 percent pupae.
The lifecycle of a flea begins with the egg. An adult female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Eggs that have been laid on your pet will drop off onto carpets, furniture, your beds, your pet’s bedding, along baseboards and cracks in wood flooring. Winter is the best time to attack a flea infestation because under ideal conditions, the tiny white eggs will hatch from about two days up to a couple of weeks. The dry heat in homes slows the process and gives you more time to move furniture and do a deep cleaning of carpets, furniture and along the floor before the eggs move to the second stage.