The Southern Home Bestuary: Living with our critter friends and enimies.

Fleas on dogs, cats and us
August 24, 2009, 7:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Fleas                                   Obnoxious                               Control populations

 The common black dog flea is not only causes my dogs to be

"I got fleas. You got fleas. All God's chillen got fleas," Persiphone.

"I got fleas. You got fleas. All God's chillen got fleas," Persiphone.

miserable throughout much of the summer months, but are particularly troublesome when they move inside. One obvious solution is to not let dogs into the house, but I will have my dogs in with me, fleas or not. We battle these things together.

 The most effective thing to use inside a house is a canned flea spray designed for area treatment. There are room foggers, but this puts the poison on all surfaces and much is waisted because the fleas only live in the carpet and near floor areas.  It also helps to vacuum prior to spraying and twice a week during the summer. All interior dog beddings are washed once a week.

 Outside fleas hide in dry soils and grasses and jump onto the dogs, and people, as they walk by. A good test is to go outside wearing a set of light colored trousers and do an inventory on the numbers of fleas you have sticking to the lower parts of your trousers. Outside areas can be sprayed by any pest-control firm, but there must also be a simultaneous treatment of both the house and the dogs.

 My hounds, actually mixed-breed Labs, do not much enjoy their treatments with “eu de flea spray.”  As I apply it I comb it through their fur which increases the probability of it contacting, and killing, any adult fleas.  After an initial treatment, it is usually necessary during the summer months to repeat the interior, exterior  and dog treatment cycle again in about two weeks.

 Topically applied anti-flea preparationsthat are applied about every 30 days ( they  last only about 20-days on my dogs)  help, but they can be overwhelmed if the in-house and outside flea populations are high. If your pet commonly has blood-red granular “dirt” (actually dried blood)  next to the skin, the fleas are there and breeding on him.   

 Spraying or bathing the dogs, by itself, gives them temporary releaf; but they quickly pick up another population of fleas the instant they go outside.

 To reduce the number of flea bites on you, the best preventative is to always wear socks. An easy way to trap fleas is to take a piece of strapping tape, stick them on it and then fold it over. Fleas are strong. They will often escape if not stuck on both sides.

Red wasps in the eaves
August 24, 2009, 7:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Red or Paper wasp   Sometimes deadly    Remove from conflict areas

 The red wasp is common throughout the Southeastern U.S. This is a

A nest full of large agressive red wasp inside a shed.

A nest full of large agressive red wasp inside a shed.

paper wasp in that it builds paper nests in dry protected spots such as under the eves of houses and anywhere  they have protection from wind-driven rain. These nests can be huge and may contain more than a hundred individuals, although all start with a single pair of wasps.

 As more nesting cells are added and the larvae hatch new cells are added throughout the growing season until first frosts when the adults are killed and the eggs in the cells are dormant. As they pupate they feed on insects (these may be spiders or caterpillars, depending on the species). Any spell of warm weather during the winter brings on a hatch, and this can kill an entire colony if repeated warmings and chillings cause premature hatching.

 Red wasps are particularly aggressive if their nest are disturbed and with chase and sting anything nearby. This is particularly troublesome for those who are allergic to ant, wasp and bee stings as this causes restrictions of breathing and can result in death. For such individuals, it is vital to have an antivenom kit on hand and rush to the nearest emergency room. The kits have a limited shelf life, so check their expiration dates at least every year. Each year people die from stings.

 A good preventative is to never reach where you cannot see. Nonetheless any person who is actively doing things around a southern farm is likely to be bitten once every few years.

 Canned sprays are available for wasp that may project for several feet. These will kill wasps the colony and cause any remaining survivors to relocate their nest.