It’s been over a month!

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsIt’s been over a month!
Ace asked 1 month ago

Hi Adam,
I think I’m going to go crazy, we’ve been treating my dog for fleas for over a month now- October was his first treatment of Advantage (which does absolutely nothing for him). I first noticed fleas on him in late October, but know he’s had them longer because before I was brushing out MOUNDS of flea poop that I always assumed were just dirt (he loves rolling around in the grass like most dogs). It wasn’t until November that I saw one on his ear & that’s when everything got bad. I went out & got advantage- which again, is terrible, for his next treatment I’ll definitely be trying frontline. We give him flea baths & then wait 4 days before treating him with the medication (Bc we heard the flea shampoo creates a barrier) which is a complete lie Bc within those 4 days so many eggs are laid on him, even though the shampoo says it prevents reinfestation for up to 30 days- yeah right. Meanwhile, we washed all the sheets including his bed, & I vacuum EVERYDAY & it’s been over a month. I have hardwood floors and only 2 carpets upstairs that also get vacuumed each day. I put flea spray like sentry & vet’s best on them (they also get sprayed all over the house). I got a flea brush to brush out eggs & fleas- which btw I would probably get out hundreds of eggs each day- EVEN once advantage had been applied. It got so bad that I purchased the expensive seresto collar- which I later heard was bad to use in conjunction with advantage. No worries though bc it worked for all of 2 days. Still saw & seeing fleas. THEN I decided the problem had to be the lawn. So I purchased the advantage lawn flea spray & hosed down everything. I then followed with Apple cider vinegar spraying Bc that’s how paranoid I became. I even sprayed it on my poor dog Bc I ran out of products (Bc keep in mind it’s been over a month of this process) let’s just say we thought we were in the clear Bc we hadn’t seen anything for a WEEK. I was so happy. Then today, I thought, I haven’t checked my dog for fleas in so long, I’ll check just in case. Well..what do I see when I run the brush through? TWO fleas on him. Looked tiny but still there & very much alive. I forgot to mention that throughout this process I’ve been using a lamp & bowl of dish soap to catch adult fleas in. WHICH btw had not caught any fleas for a WEEK, so where did my dog get these new fleas from??! PLUS it snowed yesterday so HOW are these fleas still alive?!?! I do not know what else to do. He’s so lazy & only goes outside to use the bathroom & then is inside for the rest of the day. I’m broke from all these treatments & products as well as covered in flea bites on my ankles & feet. Please help I don’t know what else to do. 

Ace replied 1 month ago

ALSO, I forgot to mention that we’ve bombed the house TWICE now. Nothing. I mean it gave us a week of not seeing fleas….but in conjunction with everything else we’ve been doing they should be GONE

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 3 weeks ago

Ace,

I am sorry to hear about your flea problem. It sounds fairly severe given the amount of flea dirt you were finding.

It sounds like you may have had some unrealistic expectations related to how quickly fleas can be eradicated. Flea infestations often take at least 8 weeks to resolve with proper treatment. This has to do with the flea life cycle, and the habitats of different life stages. I will try to quickly break down the important details.

Pet treatments (Advantage, Frontline, shampoo, collars, etc) primarily kill the adult fleas. Once adult fleas find a host, they stay on the animal permanently. So pet treatments are effective against the mature stage. Unfortunately, only 1-5% of infestations are composed of adults.

95-99% of infestations are eggs, larvae, and pupae living hidden in the environment. Upon hatching, the larvae avoid light. So they burrow deep down into protected micro-habitats (the base of carpets, cracks in hardwood, under leaf litter in yards, etc). Sprays can’t penetrate into their refuges well, so many immature stages will survive insecticides. It will take some patience, as the immature stages all need to mature, emerge, and die as adults before the infestation ends.

Still, sprays with an insect growth regulator (IGR) are useful. IGRs stay active for 7 months indoors, and can stop eggs from developing that may fall onto the ground in the future. IGR sprays are good from preventing re-infestation.

The flea life cycle, from egg to adult, takes 17-26 days indoors. So, even if pet treatments, like Advantage II, are killing the fleas, the animal will continually be re-infested with new fleas that are emerging from the environment. It can take a few hours for them to succumb to the insecticide. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see fleas on treated animals. However, they shouldn’t survive long enough to lay eggs. So, it’s strange you are seeing eggs.

The tiny fleas you saw on your dog is a somewhat good sign. It means the fleas are newly emerged and haven’t fed yet. Fleas don’t grow after they reach adulthood. However, their abdomens do double in size once they are engorged with blood.

Please see our page on How to get rid of fleas for comprehensive control information. Mainly, the steps include: 1) Spraying the environment with an IGR spray, 2) using flea drops on the pet (like Advantage II or Frontline Plus) for at least three months, 3) vacuuming regularly to help eliminate immature stages and force the emergence of quiescent cocooned adults.

To help save money, you may want to take a look at generic versions of Advantage II for dogs.

Let me know if you have further questions. There was a lot of cover, and I may have left something out.

I hope this helps!

Warm regards,
Adam

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