According to the Farmer’s Almanac the term “dog days” was originally coined by the ancient Greeks for the position of Sirius, or the “dog star” in the night sky.
We now use this phrase for those summer days between early July and late August when it’s just so dang hot it’s “not fit for a dog.” Either way, the dog days are definitely here. And if there is one pest associated with hot summer weather and dogs, it’s the flea.
This time of year is prime time for fleas, as they thrive in temperatures between 75-85F and like lots of humidity and moisture. Fleas are small and brownish red in color, they don’t have wings and so they can’t fly but they can jump: as high as 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally. They can jump from dog to dog or from dogs to you. And while we are in the midst of the dog days of summer, we want to mention that they’ll also gladly feed on the family cat, birds, rabbits, and humans. As with mice or any other pest, there’s never just one. If you see one flea on your dog or cat, assume there is more. Fleas are known to multiply quickly and a few can turn into a full blown infestation if you’re not careful. Whether you decide to treat your flea problem yourself or call in a professional, successfully eliminating fleas is a process requiring meticulous attention to detail, preparation and follow up.
- The first step is to treat all pets in the house. Even birds, hamsters, gerbils and ferrets can keep a flea infestation going. Bathe your pets in a good flea shampoo, and follow up with a flea collar or other treatment. You can also see your vet for prescription strength products. All the pet bedding must also be washed thoroughly.
See your vet for ongoing flea treatment for your four-legged friends.
- All floors must be treated as well as bedding and upholstered furniture. Wash your bed sheets and covers in hot water. Remove everything off the floors, including inside your closets and under beds. Mop laminate, tile or hardwood floors in your house with a bleach based detergent.
- Check your animals for signs of fleas or flea dirt especially after they’ve been outside. Just like ticks, fleas like longer grass, so keeping grass short in your yard will help discourage flea infestations on your property.
- Cover any fish tanks and remove your pets when you do the actual treatment.
- Once you’ve treated the fleas inside or had a pest control company treat your house the next step is to vacuum floors and furniture. Don’t mop the treated areas, wait at least a week. You should ideally be vacuuming once a day for a solid week, then three times a week for the next 4 weeks. Change the vacuum cleaner bag or empty the canister EACH time you vacuum, and dispose of the contents away from the home, as fleas can survive, escape the bags and re-infest your home.
This process is time-consuming but, if followed carefully and in tandem with either professional or treatment, will rid your home of fleas. You’re probably wondering how you can avoid having a flea problem in the first place. Here are some ideas:
- Vacuum and keep your home clean.
- Inspect your pets regularly for signs of fleas. Use a flea comb when the coat is wet. See your vet for flea prevention treatment.
- Keep your lawn grass short and free of rodents who carry and spread fleas (rats, mice, raccoons and opossums). Siani has a trained wildlife technician who can help with these critters. Bonus tip: Chrysthanthemums, spearmint and lavender either in pots or the soil around your yard/garden may act as a natural flea repellent. Plus they smell great! Win-Win!
- Flea eggs hatch within 2 to 12 days, so even after you’ve treated, you may see new fleas in this time period. Don’t panic, if you’ve called us to treat your home, the new hatchlings will die off.
As always the Siani Pest Control crew is well trained and ready to help rid your home of fleas or any other pest, so you and your best friend can enjoy the waning dog days of summer.