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There are also many other products which will kill fleas on the pet and for which no prescription is needed. The drawback, however, is that some of these products may be less effective than the prescription products, but many really do help control flea populations. These non-prescription flea products include flea shampoos, flea powders, flea sprays, flea collars and spot-on products.
With any flea treatment it is necessary to treat all of the animals in the home in order to achieve complete success. In addition, you will likely need to treat the indoor and outdoor environment. When treating the indoor environment it is important to wash all bedding in soapy, hot water especially if the pets spend time on your bed. All of the carpeting should be vacuumed thoroughly and the vacuum bag thrown away. Steam cleaning the carpet can kill some of the larvae as well. Remember, though, that vacuuming and shampooing a carpet will still leave a good percentage of live fleas so some sort of chemical treatment may be necessary.
The entire house is now ready to treat. Several choices are available including highly effective foggers. The most effective products are those which contain both an ingredient to kill adult fleas and an ingredient to kill the other life cycle stages. The latter is called an insect growth regulator.
Methoprene is one such growth regulator. Aerosol foggers may not penetrate well enough, in some cases, to kill all the hiding fleas and larvae. Another option for indoor control is a sodium borate product that is applied to carpeting. You should consider calling a local exterminating company for an estimate and a guarantee that their procedure will rid your premises of fleas.
Flea eradication won't be cheap, either, but what price will you put on living free from flea infestations?
As for outdoor control, sprays and pelleted insecticides are generally used after dog houses and kennels are cleaned thoroughly. An insect growth regulator is a good choice here as well. Pyriproxifen, is more stable in sunlight and lasts longer outdoors than Methoprene.
It is important to know that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned the insecticide Chlorpyrifos (Dursban). Production ceased in December of 2000.
Certain non-toxic nematodes (tiny worms) can also be spread in areas of the yard which are warm and moist and which pets and fleas frequent. The nematodes feed on the flea larvae. And once there is a cover of snow on the ground, much of the major source of fleas is eliminated.
Be sure to consult your veterinarian regarding which methods and products will be best for you and your pets. Your veterinarian will be your best source for current flea information. It's a battle, so... good luck and happy flea control!
Image: Sugar Pond / via Flickr