Fall Flea Control
Usually people think of fleas as a summertime problem because of the warm weather and other insects. In actuality, fleas do not care what time of year it is. All they care about is the temperature and the humidity because these are the factors that stir the development of new fleas. Depending on the weather conditions, flea eggs and especially larvae will die because of these extreme weather factors. The most suitable conditions for flea growth are in the late summer and early autumn. Temperatures at this time are perfect and humidity can be quite suitable for flea growth.
Dr. Chris Hasselbeck describes this situation as,
“An example of the environment affecting flea control is what happens seasonally in Nebraska. There is usually a rise in flea populations every Fall. This is because of the weather change that occurs in the Fall of stable temperatures and increases of humidity. Another reason is the wildlife in neighborhoods such as opossums and raccoons. The conditions for maintaining fleas on these animals greatly improve because of climatic conditions. Pets also have much more restricted grooming due to increased thickness of their fur in the Fall. Less than half of opossums have cat fleas on them during the height of the hot, dry summer. By the time you get deep into Fall, 100% of opossums have cat fleas.”
“This condition factors into what we hear each Fall, “This product worked wonders all summer, but now it does not work so well. It has nothing to do with resistance. It has everything to do with numbers.” With an understanding of flea control, one can see if the conditions will be just right for a “flea outbreak.” Below is an excerpt from Dr. Hasselbeck on Nebraska flea summers.
The Nebraska Summer
Dr. Chris Hasselbeck said during a discussion on fleas, “You don’t have to be a genius to predict what’s coming for your pet. Just based on average temperatures and the rainfall that we are already are experiencing in Nebraska, I predict that we will have a substantial flea problem this Fall in Nebraska.” The weather was creating suitable conditions for flea growth about three weeks earlier than usual.
A number of phone calls from concerned veterinarians and pet owners confirmed Dr. Hasselbeck’s statement – Fall flea infestations in Nebraska were bad. “This is probably the worst flea problem I’ve seen in years. “ Dr. Hasselbeck said. “Veterinarians and pet owners tell me their flea control products are not working as well as they used to. In actuality, the matter is something else.
They were seeing the end product of a flea development process that began back in August, when we started getting average temperatures and lots of rainfall to increase the humidity.” The flea boom that Dr. Hasselbeck describes is not just limited to Nebraska; it can be wherever there is warm temperatures and high humidity.
Key points for Fall flea control are:
• Temperature and humidity conditions are suitable for the growth of fleas. Pay attention to local weather conditions so you can be ready for the outbreak of flea cases that occur during these conditions.
• Complaints about product effectiveness often reflect a particularly high flea pressure. That is why fleas are noticed much more.
• Understand how modern flea products work.