Doc Sez "Yes, YOUR house..."

Dr. Monfort Says “Yes, In YOUR House ” - Part 2

Last column we found Dr. Monfort, patient man that he is, explaining to devoted client, Kathy, owner of the Cutest-dog-in-the-world, why she might still be seeing the occasional flea on Cutest, as well as how she just might have fleas…in the house. Doc discussed treating the yard throughout any weather short of freezing for flea population control. Now it’s time to move on to checking the flea population in Kathy’s house.

At any time that your pet goes outdoors anywhere, she may pickup a flea. AND she may bring that flea indoors. AND the flea may jump off in the house. AND now we have a flea in a very flea-friendly environment. Fleas like human environments. The temperature, humidity and food sources (pets and humans) can set up a perfect storm of flea reproduction.

So, how can we have fleas in the house without our knowing? Fleas, like people, have preferences for their meals. Fleas like warmer body temperatures over cooler body temperatures. Your dog or cat has an average body temp of 102.5 degrees; the average human body temp is 98.6 degrees. Until there are so many fleas that they have no choice, fleas will choose to bite the warmer animal. An adult man will probably not get bitten until the fleas are carrying the sofa out of the room. Fleas like light colors more than dark colors. Fleas like females more than male. Fleas like youth more than age. A little white female kitten is target of choice. A little human baby girl is next favorite. (There’s research on just this topic; I couldn’t make this stuff up) Now, we should be able to agree that not being bitten is not an accurate method to assess the possible flea population in the house.

People being thrifty, it’s always easiest to convince them to set up the “famous-free-flea-trap” to see what the house may be hiding. This is a low-tech method to judge how many and where the fleas might be in your house.

Recipe for the famous-free-flea-trap:

Shallow rectangle cake pan; ½ inch water in the bottom; 3 drops of dishwashing detergent; And a desk or table lamp (a light source about 18 inches above the water).

Each night as the household goes to bed, choose a location on the floor, in a room that your pets inhabit, and set the pan of soapy water and the lamp on the floor. Leave the lamp on and turn off the other lights in the room. Though the night, the fleas will jump up to the lamp, (remember that fleas like warmth), fall into the soapy water and drown. Count them in the morning. Check several rooms/sites over the course of a week. More on fleas and you next post.

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