Posts Tagged ‘insecticide’

     We have a magical little instrument in our clinic that causes fleas to appear on demand. What is this mysterious device?

     It’s a flea comb! (And no, it’s not actually meant to give fleas that fancy pompadour they’ve been craving.)

     Drag one of these combs through your pet’s fur and watch it grab fleas and flea dirt alike. To kill the fleas, pop them with the metal handle (such a satisfying  sound, really) or dunk them in a jar of rubbing alcohol.

     Flea combs are safe to use on dogs and cats and won’t interfere with topical flea and tick treatments. Be sure to get one on your next visit to our clinic.  After all, it may be Winter for another week, but the bugs are already hoppin’!

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     …don’t let the bedbugs bite.  That’s getting tougher than ever:  the U.S. is being hit with a resurgence of these nasty bugs since the most effective pesticides have been outlawed.  Boo.  And now comes word that our pets may be bothered by the little blood-suckers, as well.  That makes sense; bedbugs live on blood and they aren’t terribly picky about the source.

My dog scratches all the time and has bug bites, but I don’t see fleas.

     If your pet’s been keeping you awake nights with the sounds of constant scratching and chewing, and you’re plagued with itchy welts, too, bedbugs could be the culprits.

How do I find the little suckers?

     Get a flashlight, pull back the sheets and mattress covers and look for specks of blood, droppings, shed skins and eggshells and the little brown bugs themselves.  Inspect behind the headboard and all around the mattress and boxspring, especially at the seams.  Check nearby furniture, including chairs, nightstands, and bureaus.  The bugs like to insert themselves into the thinnest cracks and crevices, so examine all spots, however small.  Remember to inspect the undersides of furniture, as well.

EEEEK!  I found some!  Now what?

     If you discover an infestation, call a professional licensed exterminator for help.  Some companies use insecticides to combat the bugs, while others use extreme heat-producing appliances.

Where do bedbugs come from?

     Well, kids, when a mommy bedbug and a daddy bedbug love each other very much – oh wait, that’s not what you meant, is it?  We’ll save that story for another time.  Bedbugs can be transported in on used furniture, clothing, and suitcases.  I’ve made it a habit to travel with a Maglite and carefully check the bed and other furniture in hotel rooms.  For Craigslist fanatics, beware the Curb Alert – free furniture is not a bargain if it comes with bugs.

If I have bedbugs, does that mean my house is dirty?

     Bedbugs don’t distinguish between dirty homes and clean ones.  They’re just looking for a food source and that is you.  And sometimes your pet.  Cleanliness has nothing to do with it.

Are bedbug bites dangerous?

     They’re more annoying than anything.  The bites may become infected due to excessive scratching.  Otherwise, bedbugs are not known to transmit disease.  In severe infestations, though, a patient may develop anemia. 

Where can I go to see bedbug photos that will freak me out and make me feel itchy all night?

     Glad you asked!  The College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky has an awesomely informative PDF on bedbugs here.

How many beds could a bedbug bug if a bedbug could bug beds?

     Tragically, that question remains unanswered to this day.



Some information for this article was gleaned from an interview between Clinician’s Brief and Dr. Susan Little.

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Don’t forget –

     Grab a free tube of Advantage with each four-pack Advantage you purchase through August 31st.*

*Free tube must match four-pack type.

     Plenty of people are fighting the good fight against fleas, but it is admittedly frustrating.  Here’s why:

1.  Fleas LOVE our hot, humid climate.  They’re having a party and your pet is the buffet.

2.  A single flea (that’s right – it doesn’t have to be married) can lay 1,000 eggs in its lifetime.  1,000 eggs per flea that end up in your yard.  1,000 eggs per flea that end up in your HOUSE.  Yikes.

3.  Larvae cocoons (called pupae) can live from between 1 week and 1 year before hatching out as adults.  That means just when you think you’ve got things under control – BAM – the fleas hatch out and they’re hungry.

4.  Flea eggs do not remain on your pet – they fall to the floor.  Many pet owners treat only their pets thinking that they are killing the flea eggs, too.  In actuality, one must also treat the house with an insecticide rated to kill flea eggs.

5.  Fleas will hitch a ride into the house on you, your pets, your friends, your mother-in-law and even the cable guy (whenever he finally shows up.)  Each new influx of fleas means treatment must continue.

     There are more reasons than those five, but I can see you’re depressed, so I’ll stop now.  Before I go, I’ll add that we carry Fleabusters Powder – an awesomely safe and very effective form of flea control for the house.  It even comes with a satisfaction guarantee.  Fleabusters Powder is non-toxic to pets and people.  Babies can crawl on the carpet after application.  If your baby doesn’t have enough muscle tone to crawl yet, this may not apply.  If you don’t have a baby, I will channel your mother and ask “So whatya waitin’ for?”

     As for the never-ending battle against those tiny vampires (vampires are SO “in” right now), remember:  Treat the pet, the house, and the yard.  Don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  You can do it.  Hire a professional if you need to.

~~ Jennifer (LCVC Manager)

P.S.  That black crumbly stuff on your pets is flea dirt, not eggs.  Flea dirt is dried blood that has passed through the flea.  I think you know what I’m getting at.  Worse than that, flea dirt is FOOD for flea larvae.  Now that’s just gross, but it helps them live.  If you see flea dirt on your pet and in your house, clean it up and get rid of it.  Don’t feed the fleas.

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