You are at wit’s end dealing with fleas. The dog is almost bald. You have just paid out enough money to the vet that you figure you own stock in the practice, but at least you brought home enough flea-killing products for both the dog and the interior of your home to start your own small pet store. You are feeling good because you figure you have the battle against the little bloodsuckers licked.
Guess again. You have to broaden the battlefield and head outdoors to treat the fleas that lie in wait for the dog.
There are a few things you need to know before you begin the battle outdoors. Keep in mind that you won’t find fleas out in the open. The larvae need protection because they cannot take high temperatures. That defines the battleground, so prepare to treat the shady areas such as underneath decks and porches, around carports and the edges of woodland. If your pet has a favorite spot outdoors, be sure to treat that area as well.
There are several good commercial chemical products that you can use. Most are available at your local hardware store. Dursban, which is generically known as chlorpyrifos, Dragnet, Permethrin Pro and Ortho Bug B Gone are widely available and will do a good job.
However, these products are very poisonous and great care should be used in applying them. Follow instructions carefully.
A more natural method of treating is to use nematodes, which are bugs that eat fleas and other lawn pests such as grubs. Bio Flea Halt and Interrupt are examples of nematode products.
Diatomaceous earth and boric acid are also good natural flea killers. They abrade the exterior of the flea’s exterior and cause the fleas to dehydrate.
When using chemical sprays, don’t expect to see every flea on your property drop dead instantly. The chemicals will kill adults and larvae that come into contact with the insecticide within a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the spray will not kill flea pupae and not all of the pupae will hatch at the same time. Expect to apply insecticide sprays at least twice. More applications may be needed.
Be sure to remove all of your dog’s items (toys and dishes) before spraying. If spraying grass, mow the lawn before applying sprays.
Professionals recommend using a hose end sprayer or a dial-mix sprayer to apply outdoor flea treatments to get proper coverage. Pump sprayers do not work nearly as well.
Always read the application instructions before using an insecticide. If using Dragnet, figure on using about one ounce of the concentrated insecticide for each 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Figure out the square footage of your lawn so you can calculate the amount of insecticide you need. Put the appropriate amount into the hose end sprayer and add water according to the package directions. Gently stir the solution, but be sure to avoid contact with the chemicals. It is best to wear plastic gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when spraying the lawn.
Use a sweeping motion to apply the spray. Concentrate on the areas in which fleas abound.
Expect to repeat the process in 14 days. Severe flea infestations can take up to eight weeks time before there is a noticeable difference.
Perseverance is key to winning the war against fleas. Your dog will love your for your efforts!