Monday, September 01, 2008

Is Resistance Futile?

Live Flea or Die

Well, flea season is in high gear here in southern California. For years now it's been a non-issue. We've been using Frontline and the results have been amazing. It's a truly fantastic product. When I was a kid, having pets meant having fleas. That's just the way it was. Then along came Frontline and the world changed. All of a sudden fleas were a thing of the past...and with them, flea borne diseases. Better Living through chemistry indeed.

Then a couple of weeks ago Tibby (pictured above along with your author's rather handsome leg) came back from doggie day care covered in fleas. We were horrified especially since we thought he was current on his Frontline- "How could this be?" we wondered.

We bought some flea shampoo and redid his flea treatment. In short order the dog seemed fine but now the cats suddenly were infested. Then I began to wonder: "do fleas develop resistance to Frontline?"...OK it wasn't me, it was The Wife...truth be told I was pretty incurious about the whole thing but this is my story and I'm taking the where was I...oh yeah...well it turns out they do. A quick web search turned up this:

This seems simple and even obvious. If you want to make a resistant population then keep exposing the population to the same insecticide and after enough generations your population will be resistant. If you switch to another insecticide, the group will be totally sensitive to the new insecticide. After a few more generations, change again.

Lesson learned. Rotate flea control products.

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