Many homeowners believe that once the weather drops below freezing, that their flea troubles are over until the following spring when flea eggs outside being to hatch and latch on to their indoor/outdoor pets. This is, unfortunately, not true as many new home buyers who have never owned pets can attest. Fleas can be indigenous to a home as flea eggs can not only live from season-to-season – but for up to three years – laying in wait for the perfect environment and climate to spring back to life.
Simply put, the best defense against a flea infestation is a good offense – and an early one. If you live in a variable climate, late winter/early spring is the crucial time to begin the battle because if you wait until you see or feel fleas, it is generally too late to completely rid them from your home and pets. The science shows that flea eggs hatch at about 70 degrees and require at least a humidity index of at least 50%, but there is no reason to wait until the conditions are ideal before acting.
As temperatures being to creep into the 60’s – especially in humid climates – get out your home steam cleaner or call a professional carpet and upholstery cleaner to give your entire home a good steam cleaning. Killing the eggs and larvae before they progress is the single best way to living a flea-free existence. Steam cleaning all upholstery, carpets, window treatments and even hardwood floors at least twice before the temperatures reach ideal hatching heights will break the flea cycle before it begins. Also, begin the habit of vacuuming at least three times per week during this critical time.
If you do have pets, early spring is also the time to apply the popular monthly flea and tick treatments. Since they generally last for 30 days, beginning when the temperatures are approaching the high 60’s will ensure protection once the heat and humidity really sets in – and repeating the process with vigilance is crucial. Even if your pets are indoor-only, it is important to treat them because humans can actually carry fleas into the home from the outside and they will attach themselves to your pet. Grooming your cat or dog with a good flea comb at least 3 times per week helps dramatically reduce your risk of becoming infested. Be sure to have a warm glass of soapy water available to immerse the comb after each stroke and empty the soapy water into the toilet after grooming.
While your pets should always be treated and groomed from year-to-year, the amount of preventative work done in the home can lessen the longer you go without evidence of an all-out infestation. Finding one or two fleas on your pet does not indicate that your whole home is affected, but once you start getting bites or see fleas in your carpet or bedding, it is bad news. If you go two or more seasons without seeing them in your carpets or on your furniture, you can probably rest assured that you have things under control. It is always a good idea to steam clean once or twice a year and vacuum as much as your schedule allows, but being as vigilant as in years past is probably not necessary.