Specific to sandy soil S Alabama FLEAS

kept(6)February 20, 2013

I wanted to ask this question specifically to those of you living in Southern AL with sandy soil. Hope this is not totally inappropriate on this thread. Are fleas a serouis problem for those of you with pets? What has been successful? I lived in NJ for a time and we had similar soil. Fleas were horrible.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Fleas were certainly a problem for my pets when I lived in coastal SC. I soon learned to treat the animals once a month with a product from my vet. Grooming should become a routine, the old fashioned flea comb provides a real service.

I also found an insect growth regulator (IGR) for flea called Precor which can be safely used on surfaces inside. It really helped reduce the indoor population. Precor is not an insecticide, but an IGR only.

Finally, call your local extension office for information on predatory ("beneficial ") nematodes. When used properly, these little guys can be really helpful in sandy, southern soils.

A three step program is important...on the pet, inside, and outside.

What NOT to use are flea bombs, a multitude of toxic flea shampoos and /or dips, flea collars, strong sprays for the yard. We can't sacrifice the health of our pets (and us) for immediate fixes without giving the longterm applications a chance.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 6:49AM
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Fleas can be really difficult to treat and it can take some time to get rid of them. The following solutions can help you decay fleas easily.

Lemon solution
Salt Water
Aloe Vera Juice
Dishwashing Liquid

Here is a link that might be useful: flea treatment

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Ok, some of you will not like what I have to say. We lived in a 100 year old house for several years. And we live in the far southeastern corner of Alabama with sandy soil. The house was off the ground on huge rocks for a foundation. Old houses down here have nothing in the walls for insulation and are open from the ground to the attic. In other words, when you have a flea problem under you house (from 100 years of dogs sleeping under the house) there is no way to stop them from coming in the house. We could not crawl to every spot underneath the house to treat because of a huge mound of dirt under the house. There were big cracks between the baseboard and floor, cracks between floor boards, cracks between boards in walls. You should get the picture. The flea problem we had the first year we moved in was horrendous. We tried everything: flea bombs, twice the recommended number of flea bombs, flea traps, every spray we get get our hands on, flea dips for the dogs and cats. Everything. Nothing even slowed them down. And the only way to combat the problem is to do whatever you are going to use to spray AFTER you have throroughly! cleaned every square inch of your house. Literally. Then two weeks later you have to do it all again (because any flea egss that were laid previously will hatch then), then it has to be done two weeks later.

What I am trying to convey to you is this: if you live in the Deep South and have a flea infestation this is one situation where it is absolutely essential to have a professional come in and spray. And I am someone who would rather have a crop fail than spray. Yeah, you don't want to be breathing stuff, getting it on your body, etc. etc. But flea bites aren't exactly safe either. I have several friends here who have been through the same battle and came to the same conclusion we did. Call someone in to take care of it for you! Keep your animals on the flea collors. In the long run you will end up with much less chemical being used in your house. Please! trust this advice!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Also, the friends who faced flea infestation were dealing with it at the same time we were. Apparently the problem was in a very large area here. So, yes, it can be a huge problem in Alabama. And prevention is far easier than a cure.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Hey Dell,
Thanks for the reponse. Iv'e been trying to find you! It seems I remember you are from the area we plan on moving to. If you are open to it I would love to chat with you more about all kinds of things regarding the Silverhill/Robertsdale area. You can send me a direct message if you care to.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:09PM
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A couple things have been touched on here that need to be stressed on any flea control program. The life cycle of the flea. The flea egg is a pretty durable capsule and pesticides can not penetrate and kill the eggs. The eggs must be dealt with either pre or post hatch (preferably both) as part of a comprehensive control program.
Grooming and treating your pets is just the start, next the entire home must be cleaned (vacuumed with the best vacuum you have) to include all surfaces where eggs may be present to include floors, furniture and linens. Ideally the vacuum should have a removable and disposable bag and sufficient filtration that the eggs aren't just blown through and out. The bag must be removed and disposed of. I've known several programs to fail over the years because the client (yes, I used to be a PCO) would vacuum but would not empty the bag and the flea eggs would just hatch out inside the vacuum and reinfest the house.
Post hatch treatments are required to handle those eggs that are missed (you can never get them all) and this should be a combination of both a residual pesticide plus IGR for a one two punch. If you are loath to use a residual the IGR (insect growth regulator) is a must. Fleas go through several instars and the IGR kills by preventing the fleas from maturing to adults.
Now this deals with the fleas inside but the program also needs to consider where the fleas come from, the yard. The yard and anywhere pets may roam needs to be treated as well.
I won't go into specific products but just wanted to get the thinking in the direction of a multi step process as that's what it takes. BTW if this is approached and done right you will actually use far less chemical because you will be targeting with specific treatments as opposed to nuking everything in sight like most folks do with bug bombs.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 9:20PM
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