Fleas in the House
We have had a real battle with fleas this year, both with our dog and cat and also with the house. A recent frost brought temperatures down to 28 degrees. Did this kill all the fleas so we don’t have to worry about them until next spring? Also, what do we do about the fleas in the house?
Many of us have looked forward to winter and the “killing frost” that will end our flea problems. A mild frost, however, will not kill all the fleas. We generally tell people that it takes a 20 degree temperature to do the job. Often it is late in November or into December before temperatures drop that low.
Since cold weather has no effect on indoor fleas, you must treat your pets and your house separately. You can use a lot of time and energy killing fleas in the house. If they are not yet dead outdoors, your dog and cat will continue to bring in the pests and reinfest the house.
You want to keep your pets comfortable and free of fleas during the transition to cold weather and through the winter just as you do during the warm seasons. This means continuing to protect them now from outdoor pests and later making sure the house is flea free.
Many animals have skin that is overly sensitive to fleas. They need a “vacation” from fleas so their bodies and skin can become desensitized to the flea allergen. If they can go into spring with normal skin, they will be less sensitive to the new crop of fleas.
Soon it will be time to call an exterminator or prepare to treat your house yourself. Don’t forget the garage where it may not get cold enough to kill its flea population.
It is a good idea to continue checking your pets daily for fleas even if it is below 20 degrees outdoors and if you have treated your house. Don’t wait for a scratching pet to tell you that you are still harboring fleas.