Some pet owners will already have had the unfortunate luck to discover that fleas are a problem throughout all year round, but some may not. Micro-climates in homes, gardens and parks allow them to survive during the coldest winters; however fleas are a bigger issue in summer as warmth and humidity can speed up their life cycle. An abundance of wildlife also contributes to the flea population your pets are exposed to outdoors. These factors increase the risk of developing a flea infestation within your home during warmer months.
It’s important to know the difference between ‘hitch-hiker’ fleas and a home infestation. The adult fleas seen on pets come directly from the environment – such as an infested home, garden or park. They hatch from cocoons hidden in the environment and jump straight onto your pet. If these cocoons are from a source outside the home, then the fleas seen on your pet are known as ‘hitch-hikers’. Provided you are treating all cats and dogs in your home throughout the year with a product like FRONTLINE® Spot On, hitch-hikers will be killed before they lay the eggs that would contaminate your home. However, if the fleas are coming from cocoons hidden within your home, then you have a home infestation and this needs further treatment.
Because the flea life cycle is sped up during summer, if you’re not treating all pets regularly, hitch-hikers from external infestations will survive on pets and start laying hundreds of eggs. These eggs are not sticky and fall out of the fur wherever your pet wanders. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae that crawl away from light settling deep into carpets, between floorboards and underneath furniture. Larvae then spin cocoons and begin transforming into adult fleas. Cocoons hatch when stimulated by vibration and fleas jump directly onto the new host from the environment.
Home infestations can occur regardless of how clean your home is – the only way to prevent a home infestation is to treat all pets regularly throughout the year.
Have you ever wondered what do dog fleas look like?
Breaks in protection (even during winter, a time pet owners may have thought flea problems didn’t occur) allow hitch-hikers to survive on pets and contaminate your home with eggs. During winter the life cycle is slower and cocoons in the home are not hatching frequently – you won’t realise an infestation is developing. By the time summer comes around, the flea population hidden in your home will be extensive and your pets will consistently be covered in fleas. You may even find that you’re being bitten around the ankles.