For some reason this spring and early summer we have seen rapid increases in flea populations.
Fleas tend to be more of an itching nuisance than a threat to human health, primarily because the worst diseases they carried have been eradicated.
The chief sources of flea infestation in the home are family pets. Indoor fleas thrive in floor cracks, carpets, upholstered furniture and pet bedding. Fleas, of course, are also abundant outside; larvae burrow into the top surface of the soil.
If flea problems are occurring in the house, the yard and on the pets, all three must be treated at the same time.
Use only approved products for treating animals. Dusts are acceptable because they generally are effective longer. However, the newer products such as Frontline and Advantage, contain an insect-growth regulator that can reduce subsequent egg and larval production and can be applied directly to the animal.
Outdoors, treat areas that pets frequent. Use only approved products to thoroughly cover and saturate soil and grass areas. Make sure that application equipment is carefully calibrated to measure dosages exactly.
In the house, thoroughly vacuum or sweep carpets, rugs, furniture, cracks and crevices. Be sure to reach under furniture and along baseboards. Discard the vacuum bag afterward.
Use a coarse spray (large droplets) in treating likely infested areas. It is always more effective to treat all carpets, furniture and baseboards at one time. After spraying, use total-release aerosol applications to reduce adult fleas.
Because flea pupae are hard to kill with insecticides, an additional follow-up treatment is usually needed 7 to 10 days after the first application. When using short-residual insecticides such as pyrethrins, two or three follow-up sprays at 5- to 10-day intervals may be required.
Don’t wait until fleas get out of hand. Begin your control program early for best results. Start a thorough sanitation program, regularly inspect pets for fleas and follow label directions on all pesticide containers.
For more information come by the Extension office and pick up a publication entitled “Controlling Fleas.”
We still a few spots available for the private-applicator training and test scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18, at the Wise County Extension office, located at 206 S. State St. in Decatur. The $45 registration fee includes study booklets, lunch and refreshments.
This class is for individuals who do not currently have a pesticide-applicator license. Those who have a license that has been expired less than one year are not eligible to take this class.
The class is limited to the first 20 paid participants.