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Most people know that their pets need flea and tick medication in the warmer seasons and fall, but what you may not realize is that your pet could benefit from year-round flea and tick prevention. While the risk is less in the colder months, it is not impossible for your pet to pick up fleas and ticks when the weather turns cold. As long as the temperature is above freezing, which is 32º F, ticks can still be active. Most notably, Blacklegged ticks, which are carriers of Lyme disease, can hang on during above freezing temperatures.
Fleas, like ticks, are much more hearty than you may realize. Fleas can live quite comfortably in your house or on animals year round. This means that even when the temperatures drop, fleas can stay alive on your pet, on wild animals, or in your house. Fleas are notoriously hard to be rid of once they enter a household. Fleas can live in fabrics such as carpet, drapes, bedding, and furniture. If your pet goes outside and interacts with any wildlife, such as a cat catching a bird or a dog catching a squirrel they can pick up the fleas of that animal even during the winter. The best course of action when it comes to fleas is to stop them before they become an issue. That's why site, along with most vets, recommends year-round flea and tick prevention.
The Cost of Fleas and Ticks
When it comes to the cost of dealing with fleas and ticks, there are quite a few variables that need to be accounted for. When it comes to fleas, costs can include monthly flea prevention or the cost of flea treatments for your pet after an infestation along with the cost of ridding your house of fleas. It's obviously much more inexpensive to prevent fleas than the treat and exterminate fleas. The cost for monthly flea prevention usually ranges between $30-$60 per month; having pet insurance can greatly reduce this cost. While each plan is different, flea and tick prevention is typically covered under most plans.
The costs to treat fleas and then remove them from your home can be much greater. The flea medication that you give your pet, including flea shampoos, usually ranges between $40-$60 dollars. The cost of removing fleas from your home varies depending on the method used to exterminate them. Keep in mind that some of the less expensive means of flea control will need to be purchased more than once to manage your flea problems. You'll need to decide which level or treatment your flea problem merits. Remember, it's never just one flea. A flea can lay hundreds of eggs in a matter of hours.
Foggers or Bombs: $5-$20 (one per room. An entire house may cost upwards of $100)
Lawn Spray: $20-$40
Pest Control Contractor: $100-$300
As mentioned above, it's never just one flea. A flea can produce up to 600 eggs in one month. Depending on the conditions present in your home, such as temperature and humidity, it can take as little as 12 days or as long as 180 days for a flea to from their larvae to adult form. We've outlined the flea lifecycle below.
- Eggs: The adult flea uses your dog as a place to take its blood meals and breed. Fleas either lay eggs directly on the dog where they may drop off or deposit eggs into the immediate surroundings (your home or backyard). Because the female may lay several hundred eggs during the course of its life, the number of fleas present intensifies the problem. The eggs hatch into larvae that live in carpeting, cracks or corners of the dog's living area.
- Larvae: The larvae survive by ingesting dried blood, animal dander, and other organic matter.
- Pupa: To complete the life cycle, larvae develop into pupa that hatch into adults. The immediate source of adult fleas within the house is the pupa, not the dog.
- Adult: The adult flea emerges from the pupa, then hops onto the host.
This development occurs more quickly in a warm, humid environment. Pupa can lie dormant for months, but under temperate conditions, fleas complete their life cycle in about three weeks. The inside of your home may provide a warm environment to allow fleas to thrive year round.
Ticks are a little different from fleas in that they need three different hosts in order to complete their lifecycle. The tick life cycle is comprised of four stages; egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. During the adult phase, a tick can lay several thousand eggs on the ground at one time. Since ticks can't jump, they lay their eggs on the ground where their young them climb up pets when they start to feed. Read our outline of the tick life cycle below.
- Eggs: The adult tick lays her eggs on the ground, and the eggs then wait to hatch until warmer temperatures are present.
- Larvae: Known as seed ticks at this point, the larvae will emerge from the ground and will find their first host. They will attach to a host and stay for several days feeding. After several days the larvae will detach and fall back to the ground.
- Nymph: Post feeding from their first host, a tick is now classified as a nymph and will seek out its second host. Again, once well feed the nymph will detach from its host and will fall back to the ground. The Nymph then molts and transforms into an adult.
- Adult: After molting the adult will find a third host and then mate.
Protect Your Pet Year Round With site
There are a lot of choices when it comes to finding the right flea and tick prevention and treatment for your pet. To find the best flea and tick medication for your pet talk to your vet. You should also talk with your vet before trying any new flea extermination procedures. If you want to learn more about flea and ticks and how they affect your pet check out our online archive on the subject. We're proud to offer more than 10,000 vet approved articles for our readers.