Where have all the fleas come from?

Dog and cat flea picture.docPet owners, here in Southern California, are itching to find the answer to the question, “Where have all the fleas come from?”

Even with the many flea prevention products on the market today, fleas are again, emerging as a major pest and the reason seems to be drought related.

Feral animals that would normally live in the hills, canyons and scrub country, are being driven, by the lack of water, food and shelter, in their normal habitats, into urban areas where these life sustaining necessities are plentiful.  Coyotes, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossums and especially rats and mice are dropping off their fleas as they set up residence in or just pass through our yards, parks and green belts.  Almost all warm blooded animals have a flea that prefers it over other hosts. For example, rats are bringing with them not only the rat flea but the sticktight flea which is not normally found on domestic cats and dogs but will feast on them nonetheless.

Yes, the itching and scratching is annoying and frequent scratching and biting by an animal can cause hair loss and anemia, in extreme cases, but the dangers of disease from these tiny critters is terrifying.  Fleas carry and transmit plague, hantavirus, murine typus, tapeworms, and other nasty viruses and bacteria.  One bright light in this gloomy saga is that, according to the CDC, fleas do not carry or transmit HIV/Aids. http://search.cdc.gov/search?query=Transmission+and+fleas&utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=cdc-main

What can be done to protect our pets and our homes from these bloodsucking insects?  A lot!   If you are already using a topical flea treatment on your pets and are still having flea issues, talk to your veterinarian, about switching products.  Topical and internal products do not stop fleas from being in your yard or where you walk your dog or where your cat roams, so fleas can still hop on and take a ride right into your house.  Consider treating your yard on a regular basis and remove anything that provides harborage for rats or other feral animals.  Here is a link to help you be as flea free as possible: www.corkyspest.com/fleas/index.html

Let us know how you are doing in the fight against fleas and what is working best for you.

Stay “Mosquito Free” while collecting and storing water for future use

The water conservation minded, dutifully collecting rain water and other runoff water to use in their gardens and landscapes, are finding mosquitoes in and around their collection barrels and buckets.

rain-barrel-1Standing water in storage containers is a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.  Don’t panic, there are several simple but effective things you can do to keep these pesky, biting insects out of the water and away from collection receptacles, small ponds, bird baths and anywhere else that water accumulates.

Barrel covers, mosquito eating fish, insecticidal tablets (containing BT, bacillus thuringiensis), efficient pumps and drainage systems, are all effective solutions for controlling mosquito populations.  An even simpler and still safe and effective solution, is adding a small amount of vegetable oil to the water.  A light oil slick makes it impossible for mosquito larvae to live in the water.  It has also been suggested that natural essential oils can be used in place of vegetable oil.  The success and safety of using essential oils hasn’t been completely verified but if you’ve tried it, let us know how it’s worked for you.

Like the idea of using free mosquito eating fish?  County agricultural and vector control departments will provide the fish free of charge.  Check out the following links:

San Diego County http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/deh/pests/wnv/services/chd_wnv_mosquito_fish_locations.html

Los Angeles County

http://www.glacvcd.org/vector-information/mosquitofish/

San Bernardino County

http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs/Depts/VectorControl/mosquito_and_vector_control_home.aspx

Riverside County

http://www.northwestmvcd.org/Northwestmvcd/Mosquito_Fish.html

Pest Control and the Drought

How the drought affects insects and pest control 

Current drought conditions are the most severe in approximately 1,200 years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  40% of California is in the “exceptional” drought category, which is up 23% from a year ago.

Flying and crawling insects, dependent on ever decreasing plant life, in fields, canyons and forests, are migrating to residential areas, back yards and public landscapes, in search of flowers, plants and water.

In urban areas, where water conservation is in force, many insects, including ants are heading indoors to find sufficient water to support their survival.

In anticipation of the increase in insect migration caused by the drought, we have changed our treatment programs to more effectively target invading insects.

Have you seen more pest activity in your yard lately?  Are you finding insects inside your home, that haven’t been there before?  Are insects getting out of control?

Blame it on the drought!

We Control Pests