What are my next steps?

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsWhat are my next steps?
Catmom421 asked 4 months ago

I am at my wit’s end. I have 6 cats. In September, right before Labor Day I helped out a coworker and took in an older cat who needed a new home. Throughout the month, I noticed little rust spots in my bathtub. I finally decided to google it and I have fleas. I used a flea comb on the cats that allowed me to and noticed a ton of flea dirt. I treated each cat with Frontline on 10/6. I still brushed them and vacuumed like a mad woman. I washed everything. About a week ago, roughly 3 weeks after the Frontline my cats were infested again. I talked to  my vet who told me to give them capstar and to try Advantage II. I did the capstar on 10/27 and the Advantage II the following morning. I cleaned and washed everything again. I washed their beds, the blankets in my home, etc. Following the Advantage I have noticed fleas when my cats get up. They are not jumpy and very easy to pick up. I drown them in soapy water. I vacuum 3x’s a day. I also vacuum the sofa and beds. After some heavy duty cleaning, I was getting ready to take a shower. I had a flea on my hip, chest and shoulder. They were easy to pick off and kill. However, I still seeing some jumpers. I don’t really have any bites nor do others in my home. I live on the 3rd floor and my bedroom has slanted ceilings so I need to have my boxspring and mattress on the floor. It is higher than most but I do find a few fleas in my bed. I also had my son put on white socks yesterday and walk through the house 3-4 times, each time he picked up about 7-10 fleas. I used sticky tape and then drowned them. I am afraid to sit down on my sofa and I haven’t slept in days. I am literally exhausted. I come home from work and vacuum and pick up half dead fleas. 
I’m hesitant to treat with insecticides however, if you feel this will help get rid of them quicker I am all for it. I have a can of Knockout spray I can use. What is making me sick are the fleas dropping off of my cats after they get up. Is this the result of the Advantage? Should I retreat the cats next week with another dose since it seems my infestation is pretty bad? Finally, how many generations am I contending with?
Thank you so much!

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 4 months ago


It is normal to continue seeing fleas for 8 around weeks (sometimes longer) after treatment begins. This is because only 1-5% of the infestation are adult fleas. 95-99% of the population are eggs, larvae, and pupae living in the environment, usually deep within carpets.

When you saw fleas on your cats after Frontline treatment, the cats weren’t reinfested, they were just acquiring the new adult fleas emerging from the environment. It can take a few hours for the fleas to succumb to the insecticide.

Before the infestation ends, all of the immature stages in the environment need to mature, emerge, and die. You should be contending with the last generation at this point. With your pets treated, the fleas shouldn’t be able to lay new eggs.

The life cycle, from egg to adult, lasts 17-26 days in homes. However, cocooned adults can enter into quiescent state for up to 5 months while they wait to detect a host. This stage can cause control problems. Heat and pressure trigger emergence, which is why frequent vacuuming is highly recommended.

Environmental treatments, like the Knockout spray, are most useful because they contain an insect growth regulator (IGR). This compound (pyriproxyfen) mimics natural insect hormones that regulate development. Exposed eggs and larvae can’t reach adulthood. Unfortunately, sprays don’t solve the problem immediately, because many of the young fleas live deep within carpets where insecticides can’t penetrate. The main benefit of the IGR sprays is that they remain active for 7 months. So they can help prevent re-infestations or future infestations, with any new eggs falling onto the treated substrate and being unable to mature.

So, the environmental sprays aren’t necessary, but they are very useful for adding a second layer of control and for preventing future problems.

The fleas dropping off of your cats is a good sign. They are succumbing to the insecticide in the Advantage.

If the infestation is severe, you can retreat with Advantage early (as per the instructions, which should be adhered to closely).

If the fleas went noticed for a while, then they may have had time to lay a large number of eggs. You could be dealing with a relatively severe infestation. The longer it went unnoticed, the worse it will be. However, with pet treatments employed, there shouldn’t be a new generation now.

I hope this help!

Catmom421 replied 4 months ago

Thank you so much for your response. I’ll keep up the vacuuming and treat the cats as per my vet’s instructions.
I believe the fleas were brought in the house September 1st. I noticed October 5th. They were treated the 6th and again on the 27th.
I just want to sleep…