Flea and Tick Control

Keep you and your pets happy with the least-toxic flea and tick control methods, including preventive maintenance, tackling ticks, light traps, how to remove a tick, a fowl approach and a new generation of pesticides.

| August/September 2002

Learn about non-toxic methods you can use for flea and tick control.

Does flea and tick control have you scratching your head? Keep you and your pals happy with these least-toxic methods.

It's a barely noticeable sensation, just a whisper of a tickle. You reach to brush away what you expect will be nothing mo re than a fly or stray piece of hair, only to discover a blood-sucking intruder seeking its next meal — on you. What's disconcerting isn't the discovery of that first flea or tick, but the creepy crawly feeling that if you've found one, many more are lurking nearby to take its place.

If you have animals — and what's a happy homestead without them — fleas and ticks are an uncomfortable fact of life for you and your pet. More than a nuisance, fleas and ticks can transmit a host of pathogens and skin diseases to humans and their furry counterparts. But you don't have to risk disease or watch your pets suffer. With a little diligence and the help of some new pest controls, you can get the upper hand during flea-and-tick season.

There are more than 3,000 different species of flea, but here in North America the most common one is Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea. Despite their name, these fleas are just as happy to reside on your dog.

A flea's life span goes through four stages. Research has shown about 5 percent of the fleas that infest your home are adults. The bulk of indoor flea populations are made up of pupae (10 percent), larvae (35 percent) and eggs (50 percent). Many common pesticides used to eradicate these pests kill only adult fleas, leaving 95 percent of the flea problem behind to leap up time and again.

Thoth Mer
2/26/2013 11:26:06 AM

I find it odd that an article on this site would be recommending pesticides for flea and tick control but not be clear about essential oils and garlic and yeast. Nor mention any other of the many herbs or methods of control. Yeast is used to raise the blood acidity level. That doesn't mean you can't feed yeast to a flea culture. I would think it is possible that a body chemistry process is part of what makes the yeast effective. What is being said here seems like one could also say if I feed my dog yeast then I can use him to make bread. Neither garlic or essential oil information is given as being different for dogs and cats. Cats can't process essential oils, and are also more affected by garlic, so yes, don't feed them garlic. And no, don't add essential oils to foods. But a little garlic, especially cooked, is fine for a dog. One could also use it only when a problem with pests occurs, then discontinue using it. Many oils are effective at keeping insects away, and those can be used in the home and even on some pets. What about natural enzymes in the yard that digest the exoskeleton of bugs? What about lemon grass, rosemary, thyme, cloves, and on and on and on? What about growing chrysanthemums, geraniums, and other plants that naturally ward off bugs from an area? Seems to me this article is a bit lazy and one sided.

4/2/2009 4:11:33 PM

A great tick-control product that is eco-friendly and simple to use is Damminix Tick Tubes. Sure we can protect our pets with flea/tick control but we need to be sure that our family is safe in our own backyards!

7/11/2008 2:38:01 PM

There's a nice simple related page for natural flea and tick control on Care2 worth checking out:

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