Please pass this information on as it may be useful to your pet loving friends.
If you have been to visit your vet recently, they may have told you that 'phase two' of the flea cycle is about to begin, but what does this mean? In the following paragraphs we will explain how fleas work, what phase 2 means, provide some advice on how to find fleas on your pets, and most importantly advise you on how best to deal with them.
Fleas, of course, are the parasitic insects that love to try and infest your pet. But did you know that the little black insects you may have seen on your pets are only part of the problem?
Adult fleas - the ones that jump around - are only 5% of their life cycle. Instead, fleas spend most of their life as eggs, larvae, or in cocoons.
Once a female flea has fed on an animal, it is able to lay eggs. Flea eggs are very difficult to recognise, as they are smaller than a grain of sand, and likely buried deep inside your pets fur. As your pet moves around, these eggs drop off from their fur and fall to the ground, where the egg could sit for months while it matures and waits for the right conditions to hatch. The most important condition to them hatching is warmth, and if sufficient heat is given, even from artificial sources (such as from a hoover) they will hatch
Once Hatched, the tiny flea larvae that emerge tend to feed off food left behind by its mother (flea dirt, a black dirt-like substance made from dry blood and excrement that may be seen on your pets) rather than on any animals itself. They like to bury themselves away in dark areas, staying away from light sources and moving towards heat, and can also generally be very difficult to find.
When matured, like many insects, a flea larvae will make itself a cocoon and will gradually change into an adult flea. The cocoons are very resistant (but importantly, not unbeatable!) and are able to sit for months or even years (depending on whether the egg's environment reaches favourable conditions) until the outside conditions are perfect for the adult fleas to emerge.
So now that you know the flea's life-cycle, what does 'phase two' mean? Phase two refers to a point during the year in which most of the adult fleas have died off, but now they have left plenty of eggs and young behind. You can expect to not see many of the jumpy black insects, but that doesn't mean that the problem has completely gone away, unless you've been appropriately treating your pets and their home.
This means that flea treatments applied straight to the pets are not very effective right now, but there are still things that you can do to kill the fleas that may be lurking in your home now. First of all, if you have recently treated your pets with a preventative product, such as 'Frontline Plus', then you will be fine, as Frontline Plus (unlike it's weaker, standard version of just 'Frontline' and other competitors) is designed to make sure that flea larvae never grow into adult fleas, and so can never harm your dog or reproduce. Note that Frontline Plus is a prescription-only drug that is only available at some in-store locations, which include both of our shops. The benefit of preventative products is that they are frequently more effective, as like many other problems, it is easier to prevent fleas in the first place than to deal with an infestation. Frontline and Frontline Plus will protect against re-infestation for 8 weeks. This means you should treat your pet 6 times a year to protect them from fleas.
However, if you have not treated your pet for protection, you may want to look into other flea solutions to your home, such as 'Frontline Homeguard', 'Beaphar Defest', or the 'Johnson 4fleas' Room Fogger or Household Sprays. These will be sure to kill the eggs, larvae, and cocoons, so that they won't be hatching and infesting your pets and homes in the near future.
If you're worried about the prospect of a flea infestation, be sure to check our 'Home Defestation' collection on our website, you'll be sure to get a good product at a good price.
We hope that you found this information useful and informative. If you have any questions, or need more help to fight fleas or get hold of products, feel free to contact us.
Hope to see you in-store once again sometime soon.
Henry Jackson, head of IT for Pet Food Plus More.