The dirty truth about fleas

When fleas are spotted in the home, it’s our pets that take the blame. But did you know that for every flea you see, there could be a much bigger problem hiding in the bedding, carpets, furniture and floorboards of your home? The truth is, flea eggs, maggot-like larvae and pupae represent 95 percent of a flea infestation, and they thrive not on your pet, but in the places your pet likes to snuggle – on the couch, under the porch, even in your bed.

A problem waiting to hatch

Within as little as eight weeks, just two fleas can produce up to 2,000 eggs. Your pet shakes these tiny white specs off himself and into your home where they quickly develop into maggot-like larvae and spin silken cocoons, becoming pupae. In their pupae stage, fleas can lay dormant for up to a year waiting for the right conditions to hatch into adults. That means, as long as you have eggs, larvae and pupae hiding in your home, you’re always at risk for a sudden, itchy infestation. Consider these uncomfortable facts from

* The adult fleas a pet owner sees represent only 5 percent of the flea population. The other 95 percent – eggs, maggot-like larvae and pupae – hide in your home.

* A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day.

* Eggs hatch into maggot-like larvae in two to four days.

* Larvae are repelled by light and burrow into the fibers, cracks and crevasses of your home.

* In their cocoon stage, fleas can lie dormant in your home for up to a year.

Why infestations thrive

Most flea products only treat adult fleas. The eggs, larvae and pupae are allowed to thrive in your home, hatching into repeated adult infestations. Not only do many products fail to prevent an infestation, they also leave a sticky residue on your pet that can wash away, or rub off onto furniture, carpets and even children. To truly prevent an infestation, you must break the flea life cycle. And that means killing flea eggs and larvae before they become adults.

Break the cycle

The way to prevent a flea infestation is to rid your home of developing flea populations. That means making sure those flea eggs never develop into nasty maggot-like larvae. Many veterinarians prescribe an insect growth regulator to stop flea eggs from hatching. When female fleas feed on your pet’s blood, they’ll pass on potent killing power to their eggs and any existing larvae that feed on excreted blood. Products like SENTINEL (milbemycin oxime/lufenuron) Flavor Tabs even combine flea prevention with heartworm and internal parasite protection in one monthly tablet.

Before peak flea season hits, talk to your veterinarian about making sure your home isn’t playing host to a vicious flea infestation cycle. To locate a veterinarian or get more information on protecting your pet and family from parasites, visit

Dogs must be tested for heartworm prior to use. In a small percentage of treated dogs, digestive, neurologic, and skin side effects may occur. Please see full product insert for more information.