The Detroit Post
Wednesday, 01 December, 2021

Do Cold Weather Kill Fleas

James Smith
• Tuesday, 27 October, 2020
• 7 min read

You saw the cutest dog and decided she needed to become part of your household. Homeowners tend to underestimate fleas because we’ve been taught that they’re no big deal.

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Most of us assume that we can just head to the store and buy something and it will solve our problems like snapping our fingers. While it’s true that fleas enjoy living in the micro environment around and within the home where humidity and temperature conditions are relatively high, they can actually survive through a vast range of temperatures in both summer and winter.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here’s the answer to the question many homeowners have: There is no “wrong” temperature for fleas. Immature stages will simply go into dormancy waiting for a suitable host to come by.

Immature stages will continue surviving in the environment, while adult fleas will move on to alternative hosts. As you might imagine, this means that there’s quite a bit of diversity in the life cycle of fleas and how long various parts of it take.

Depending on both the species in question and various environmental circumstances, the entire flea life cycle may take anything between two weeks and two years. A single adult female flea can produce as many as 50 eggs per day.

After ingesting their first blood meal, females begin laying eggs within 24 hours. As with many other pests, with fleas there are four distinct phases which comprise the life cycle.

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A female flea will lay tiny white eggs on the feathers, hair or habitat of the host. Flea larvae mostly develop outdoors in cool, dark, shady places where pets play and rest.

They may also develop indoors in dark, undisturbed environments such as under furniture, along baseboards and in thick carpets. Stage 3: Pupa After about another 12 days, the larva rolls into whitish cocoons and become pupates.

Flea pupae may be found under furniture, in the soil, in carpets, on vegetation and on animal weddings. Fleas can remain in the pupa stage for up to five weeks, though typically they emerge from their cocoons as adults by day 13 and immediately begin looking for blood.

This is why returning to an abandoned house may expose you to a sudden attack by numerous fleas. Just because extreme weather won’t kill fleas doesn’t mean that certain times of the year aren’t better or worse.

Flea populations are highest during summer and fall when the conditions are warm and humid, similar to peak season for many other common household pests. Beyond temperatures, fleas tend to live and breed more heavily around where the pet sleeps.

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Something important to note is that when conducive conditions prevail, you only need to bring a single adult flea into your home to start an infestation. Outside the summer and fall, fleas tend to be less active, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally gone.

These medications are particularly effective for indoor pets that rarely leave the house. When done frequently, this method is effective in preventing flea infestation among pets.

In treating the environment, your goal is to kill not just adult fleas, but also eggs, larva and pupates. Contrary to popular belief, fleas can cause quite a disruption in your household, making your pets miserable and making you uncomfortable in just the place you rely on to relax and unwind after a busy day.

Though not as prolific during the winter, external parasites like fleas pose a risk to you and your pet’s health during every season. After biting, female fleas will feed on your pet’s blood (unless something disturbs them), mate and start laying eggs within 24 to 36 hours, explains Dr. Jason Drake, a board-certified veterinary parasitologist with Elan co Animal Health.

Adult fleas emerge from their cocoons when stimulated by vibration, pressure or carbon dioxide emitted from breath, and when temperatures can sustain their survival, says Dr. Drake. “ Fleas thrive around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s around this temperature when they complete their entire life cycle within just a few weeks,” Dr. Drake says.

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Failing to protect your pet from fleas during winter can be costly to her health. Flea infestations lead to scratching, itching, skin irritations and infections.

He explains, “Fast-acting products that kill ticks and fleas quickly are important to help prevent eggs from being produced and to reduce the amount of time ticks and fleas can transmit diseases.” Talk with your veterinarian to figure out the best year-round flea prevention strategy and product for your pet.

It's a pretty common disbelief that cold weather (winter time) kills flees. Some pet owners think the colder weather kills fleas, sadly this not true.

When hitching a ride on your pup, who goes in and out during the winter months, fleas can survive quite comfortably. Fleas and their eggs will survive through one night of freezing, probably more comfortably than you dog will.

In fact, It would take about 10 days of freezing temperatures of 37 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for the fleas to die. They also survive through the winter by finding warm areas in barns, garages, under decks, or anywhere cozy.

Flea populations are highest during the summer and the fall when it is warmest and humid. In order for reproduction to happen, female fleas need to feed on blood.

These eggs do not stay on your pet's fur, they tend to fall wherever your dog rests, walks, sits, sleeps. Larva develop best in cool, dark, and shady places.

The Pupa Stage: After another 12 days, the larva rolls into cocoons and became pupates. These can be found under furniture, soil, carpets, vegetation, and animal bedding.

Usually they will emerge from their cocoons as adults and start looking for blood around the 13th day. Once the adult flea attaches itself to the host, it will feed on its blood and ultimately lay eggs to start the cycle all over again.

Fleas will not die or starve if you leave a space empty for a long time. After about a week, the larvae will form a cocoon and go into a dormant state and eventually die in about 3-4 days.

Because of this, adult males can survive for about a week without a host if they are using minimal energy. Household pets should be treated with a combination of the following methods.

These solutions are applied on a regular basis to kill the fleas before they bite your dog. In addition, some spray on applications kill fleas when they come in contact with the chemical.

In some extreme cases, some people choose to treat the home for flea larva, eggs, and pupates with chemicals. They can cause you, your pets and any other host person or animal to itch and scratch, and in some cases cause a significant illness.

There are many pet owners that hope as the cold weather approaches, it will eliminate some fleas. In some cases an adult flea will die if it is exposed to temperatures that reach below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

You should not use cold temperatures as a reliable flea control method, as it is not a sure thing. When a flea is indoors, it can survive year round as they are protected from extreme temperatures.

A recent study has shown that simply by vacuuming, you can eliminate up to 90 percent of the adult fleas that are in your home.

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