Fleas - Safe Control Measures
Excerpts from Steve Tvedten's book "The
(Used here with permission.)
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[First Strike Measures for Fleas]
INTEGRATED PEST CONTROL MEASURES
Preventing fleas infestations is always easier than removing them. The
simplest and least expensive way is simply not have pets or only to keep
them inside or outside at all times. It helps not to let your pets roam.
Remember to keep your pets and their bedding clean at all times and to
comb your pets with a flea comb at least weekly, especially during warm
weather. Flea combs have very close teeth which remove fleas from your
pet. Most pets love this attention. Dip the comb in hot, soapy water or
enzyme cleaners to kill the fleas you "catch". If you choose to use dangerous
flea collars you must replace them on pets about every 3 months. It is
better, however, and safer to wash your pets weekly with a good pet shampoo,
or wash them with a human shampoo and a mixture of orange oil (which is
available at health food stores) as an aid in flea destruction. Please
note that many pets and people can get skin irritations and other health
problems because of their exposure to the poisons in organophosphate flea
collars and other direct applications of toxic insecticide poisons in sprays,
dusts, shampoos or dips. Proper control of fleas always involves controlling
the fleas on your pets as well as controlling them in the infested areas
of your home. There are many veterinarians who recommend weekly applications
of a lightly misted flea spray containing Precor, which is an insect growth
regulator, IGR, and/or sprays containing pyrethrins and pipernol butoxide
as a control especially during the peak flea months in your area. Some
pet owners have told us they have had success using diluted enzyme cleaners
or Avon's Skin-So-Soft lotion directly on their pets or in their pet's
bath water for safer flea control on their pets. There are many kinds of
home and commercial flea preparations available for flea control on pets,
but we suggest you check with your veterinarian and follow his/her professional
advice. Great care must be taken, however, especially in the case of cats
as they lick themselves and might swallow enough insecticide poison or
shampoo to damage themselves. Please note there are many skin problems
which can make your pets scratch, (as though they had fleas) that are caused
by other factors, e.g., overbathing, diseases, etc., this is why it is
wise to see several veterinarians before treating your pet for imaginary
fleas with poison.
IPM OR LEAST-TOXIC FLEA CONTROL SUMMARY
Routinely monitor population levels and keep a log of your observations.
Restrict your pet's access inside your home.
Vacuum on a weekly basis during the year and daily in late summer and early
fall when flea populations increase. Dispose of the filled bags by burning,
composting or sealing in a black plastic bag and/or placing in the freezer
for a few days or in a sunny location outside in a black plastic bag to
Weekly remove and wash all bedding and rugs with which pets come in contact.
Flea comb your pet regularly. Dip the comb in soapy water or enzyme cleaner.
Bathe your pet if the flea population starts to build up.
Only if the above procedures are insufficient, try an insect growth regulator
(IGR) formulation to prevent adult flea emergence.
Spot treat infested areas indoors/outdoors with insecticidal soap and/or
an IGR or a least-toxic product following the label instructions carefully
and protecting yourself and others while applying them. Try spraying the
carpet and lawn with natural soaps or Kleen KillŪ preformed enzymes
at a diluted rate of 4 oz. per quart.
Try a professional steam-cleaning, enzyme- or boron based cleaners and
daily vacuuming and/or negative ion plates first. Boron is toxic if ingested.
(Web Mistress Note: A little license was taken with title
and some emphasis. However, the content is correct as it appears
in "The Best Control)