by Wizzie Brown, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist

A proper flea management program has two parts- managing fleas on your pet and managing fleas in your environment. You may want to consult a veterinarian about flea control for your pet; there are numerous products on the market that work well.

If you find fleas in your home and you do not have a pet, inspect the attic and/ or crawl spaces to see if wildlife has moved into the area, bringing fleas with them. Remove wildlife with traps and then treat the area with an insecticide labeled for fleas. Once the problem is resolved, you may want to seal the area so that wildlife cannot move in again.

If you are a new homeowner with no pets and have fleas, it is possible that the previous owners had pets. Fleas can remain dormant for several months, but become active again when they sense vibrations of new hosts.

When you find fleas on a pet, you most likely will need to treat the pet, inside the home and the yard. Treatment should be targeted to areas where your pet likes to hang out.

There are many things you can do to help reduce fleas without the use of chemicals. Vacuum regularly, getting under furniture and along baseboards. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag in an outdoor garbage can at least once a week so the fleas do not hatch out and reinfest the home. Wash pet bedding in hot water. Bathe your pets regularly and use a flea comb to remove fleas. Avoid walking pets in known flea infested areas.

When treating for fleas, you will usually need to treat at least two times. The second treatment should occur 10-14 days after the initial treatment.

For more information or help with identification, contact Wizzie Brown, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist at 512.854.9600. Check out my blog at www.urban-ipm.blogspot.com