Fleas are a year-round problem in the Portland area because of our mild climate
Fleas thrive when weather is warm and humid, but fleas can survive year-round in our mild Northwest climate, and they especially like pets who live indoors. And fleas are… let’s face it, icky! But they can also cause several health issues, including flea allergy dermatitis, tapeworms, and they can transmit diseases. If the infestation is bad, pets can develop more serious complications, including iron deficiency anemia.
That takes us to the real point – how do you get rid of fleas? Anyone who has dealt with a flea infestation knows it can be tough to get rid of them. To understand how to effectively eradicate fleas, we first need to understand the flea life cycle.
- Adult Flea – These live exclusively on the host by feeding on blood. Adult fleas start feeding within minutes upon finding a host. Adult fleas can live for 100 days. Female fleas can start laying eggs 2 days after feeding, and they can lay hundreds of eggs.
- Eggs – Adult fleas deposit eggs on the host, which fall into the environment- carpet, furniture, bedding, etc. Flea feces also fall into the environment.
- Larvae – Eggs hatch into larvae 1-10 days later. Eggs hatch better in warm, humid environments. The larvae can crawl into warm moist areas. They depend on flea feces in the environment for food (yep, EEW!). They like to lie between floorboards, in the corners of rooms on carpet, and on or near pet bedding.
- Pupae – Larvae complete development in 5-12 days, then spin a cocoon and become a pupae. Any movement will stimulate the pupae to emerge from its cocoon. This movement includes animals or people walking through the yard. Fleas can be dormant in the pupae stage for 6 MONTHS! Fleas in the pupae stage are very resistant to insecticides.
Now that you understand the flea life cycle, you can see how eliminating every stage of the cycle is essential to completely rid your pet and home of fleas. Each stage is eliminated in a different way, so having a multi-faceted approach is necessary to get rid of those little buggers once and for all!