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May 2, 2010 at 12:53 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The Life Cycle of Fleas - How to Stop Fleas in Their Early Stages

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

When it comes to fleas, prevention is the key to keeping them controlled. Once your home and pet are infested with fleas, it can take weeks or even months to rid them from your life. By understanding the life cycle of fleas, you may be able to control them or prevent them more easily if they do become a problem in your home. Each flea starts out as an egg, hatches into larva and then grows into an adult. The process usually takes anywhere from three to six weeks. After an adult has its blood meal, it will lay eggs on its host. The eggs laid on the pet will usually fall onto bedding or carpet, making carpets, rugs, furniture and bedding ideal homes for flea eggs. A pair of fleas may produce up to 20,000 eggs in three months time! Eggs can hatch into larvae in 2-12 days. Larvae feed on microscopic food matter around them, usually found in carpet. They measure about 3-4 mm long and will molt two times. Older larvae spin a cocoon and stay in it anywhere from one week to a year.

Stop Fleas in the Early Stages

By addressing fleas, eggs and larvae on your pet's body and in your home, you can help stop fleas before they begin. Many natural methods can control or prevent a flea infestation:

  • Fleas love dry skin, so some people give their pets olive oil with their food to keep their skin and coat conditioned. Avoid over-shampooing your pet as this can cause dry skin.
  • Garlic in small doses may help to repel fleas due to its anti-parasitic properties. You can give these in tablet or powder form, or better yet, skip the processed garlic and use raw garlic, which is more effective. You can spread chopped or diced raw garlic on to a slice of bread with peanut butter and your dog will think it's just a tasty treat.
  • Other scents that may help to repel fleas are cedar, lavender oil mixed with rock salt, and eucalyptus leaves. Place these under furniture or rugs to have the greatest impact.
  • Plant marigolds outdoors is to repel fleas and other insects from invading.
  • You can also hire professionals to spray inside and around your home, but most sprays and foggers "for professional use only" are toxic to pets and humans.
  • When vacuuming, put flea powder in the vacuum bag to kill any fleas you suck up, or they will hop right back out. Moth balls also work. Remember to change your vacuum bag frequently when you are dealing with a flea infestation. You have to be vigilant and vacuum daily for weeks to make sure you get all the eggs and larvae.
  • Another natural remedy that may help is to sprinkle salt on your carpet and let it sit for a few days before vacuuming. The salt will get down into the carpet and dry out any eggs before they can hatch. Putting salt into your vacuum bag can also work for any eggs that have already been vacuumed.

Remember that the best way to get rid of fleas is to be proactive and prevent them before they invade your home and life. Understanding the life cycle of fleas can serve you when it's time to fight them off. Don't risk the health of your family or pets - control flea infestations with natural means and start living your happy, healthy life again.

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