Think flea season is over once the warmer months are behind you? You might need to think again, depending on where you live.
As you can see from this flea activity map, some areas of the country have a year-round problem. States on the west coast, the desert southwest, along the gulf coast and in the southeast experience flea activity all twelve months of the year.
Several other states only get a month or two break from pests in the dead of winter.
Controlling the bugs that bug your pets, and often the human members of your family as well, is challenging. But before you decide to treat your dog or cat more often or year-round with a chemical pest preventive, it’s important to understand the risks to both your animal and other family members.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Flea collars and sprays may seem like an easy solution, but they often contain chemicals that can harm your pets, your children and you.”
“Many flea and tick formulations are safe when used as directed, but two alarmingly toxic chemicals are found in some products. Called tetrachlorvinphos and propoxur these chemicals are potentially harmful to pets and their humans at the levels found in today's flea collars.
The humans at greatest risk from these chemicals are young children, especially toddlers who spend a lot of time hugging, stroking, and sleeping with their pets.”
Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) is found in cat and dog flea/tick collars, powders, and sprays. Propoxur is used only in the collars. Flea collars release chemicals onto your pet’s fur around the neck area, and then Fluffy or Fido spreads them around whenever they groom, scratch or lick their bodies. This of course means pets are ingesting the chemicals as well.
Both propoxur and TCVP have the potential to cause cancer in humans. TCVP is an organophosphate – organophosphates are thought to be neurotoxins that can result in childhood problems like learning disabilities and hyperactivity.
Of particular concern is the risk to kids that spend two or more hours a day in close contact with a pet or pets. Per the L.A. Times:
“Many consumers assume that whatever is on store shelves must be 100 percent safe for use around pets and children. But both these chemicals have significant health risks.
Though still allowed for use in flea collars, propoxur has been banned for use in homes for other pests, although the State of Ohio last year asked EPA to approve it for residential use to treat bed bugs. The EPA denied the request in June, citing the unacceptable risk to children.”