Few insect pests are as well suited for survival in the modern world as the flea. Its life is nasty and brutish, but far from short enough to please the humans and animals that find themselves sharing a home with these tiny bloodsuckers.
Adult fleas spend most of their time in carpets and upholstery, only jumping onto your pets (or you) when reproducing. A female flea needs a drink of blood before she can lay eggs, which are then usually laid directly on the host animal. (Keep reading. It gets better.)
Flea eggs are round and light-colored. They are not attached to the infested dog or cat in any way, and they quickly roll off. Because of this, your pet's favorite resting place is also likely to be your home's main flea nursery.
The eggs hatch within a few days of laying. The emerging larvae look like white worms, though they're too small to be easily seen by the naked eye. Larvae live in floor cracks, carpets, upholstered furniture and pet bedding. They can eat (and thrive on) virtually any all-natural matter, including dust.
The larval stage lasts between a week and a month, after which the larvae form silken cocoons and enter the pupal stage. These pupal cocoons become encrusted with sand and dust and are thus all but impossible to spot. The adult is fully formed after a week or two but won't emerge until it senses something warm (like your cat or your leg) nearby.
Any flea control program requires several methods of eradication and treatment before your infestation is eliminated. Here are some suggestions for all-natural flea control, which you'll find fairly easy to do successfully.
Stainless steel flea combs have closely set teeth that effectively dislodge fleas and eggs from your pet's hair. One side of plastic combs has even finer teeth, especially useful on the coats of cats and fine-haired dogs.
Grooming your pet with one of these combs will directly reduce the adult flea population. Check the comb after every pass, and dump fleas into a container of soapy water. Make sure you keep track of the approximate number of fleas each combing turns up. If the count rises sharply, you'll know it's time to step up your flea control efforts.
2. Flea Bath
A flea bath should be your next step towards reducing your pet's flea population, and may be a necessity for thick-furred animals which are hard to comb. Flea baths work primarily by drowning the pests. While you can achieve some control with water alone, you'll greatly increase the effectiveness of the bath by adding an all-natural soap containing a mild insecticide.
3. Dietary Remedies
Several of our products are designed to repair the damage done by flea allergies. Pets Alive! relieves pets' itching and sore skin. Among Pets Alive! ingredients, there are no products made from corn, a common pet allergen. It's very effective in soothing the annoying and painful itch that drives pets (and pet owners) to distraction.
We also recommend using a Skin & Coat Formula supplement which promotes lustrous fur and helps alleviate skin problems.
4. Outdoor Flea Control
Grub-Away Nematodes have been shown to be effective in controlling flea larvae in your lawn - often the source of your pet's flea infestation. Just spray it on the areas of your lawn where pets often stroll or play.
All this may sound like a lot of work, but most pet owners will never have to resort to all the measures described here. Determine the frequency and level of your flea control efforts by checking how many fleas you find on the comb each time you comb your pet.