Making Fleas Flee and Ticks Take Off
Every spring and summer, fleas and ticks cause misery to people and animals. On pets, they can spread disease and parasitic infections. Then, once they're bored with frolicking in fur, they may decide to feast on you! Ouch!
How do you get rid of them - without harming your pet, your family or the planet? Here are some tips:
- Most commercial flea and tick sprays contain carbaryl, which works by attacking pests' nervous systems. But carbaryl also can harm developing fetuses in both animals and humans.
- Fortunately, there are less-toxic alternatives. For example, some pesticides contain pyrethrin, a natural ingredient made from chrysanthemums. It works just as well, though it still should be used with care.
- Many pesticides don't affect insects' eggs and larvae, which represent 95% of the flea population. That may require a kind of pesticide called a "growth regulator." They keep eggs from becoming adults.
- Another way to keep fleas off pets is to add garlic and brewer's yeast to pets' meals, which makes pets taste bad to bugs. Many such products are sold in pet supply stores. But pets may need to take these remedies for several weeks before they work.
- Don't overlook the basics. Keep your pet clean. Use a fine-toothed flea comb on your pet to remove existing fleas. And don't forget to dust and vacuum regularly. Fleas simply hate clean homes.
(NOT SO FUN) FACT: For every flea found on your pet, there may be as many as 100 more lurking nearby!