Apparently wildly swinging your head to a fast beat can cause injury. Who knew? (You know, other than all the head bangers in the world who wake up with a sore neck the next day. Other than them). Apparently scientists felt the need to take some money and study this:
The researchers attended hard rock and heavy metal concerts including Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row, and identified that the up-down style was the most common head banging technique. They constructed a theoretical head banging model of this popular style to examine the effect the range of head and neck motion has on injury severity. A focus group of ten musicians was used to calculate the average tempo of their favourite head banging songs.
The authors found that there is an increasing risk of neck injury beginning at tempos of 130 beats per minute related to the range of motion in the head banging style.
Well, ok, I was in sort of a zombie movie–you see, the entomology department at TAMU wanted a promotional video, and asked the on-campus film department to make it. They thought “hey, we could make a normal video, or we could make a zombie film!” So they did. I got an email sometime in August asking me if I wanted to be in the film, and if so, so please wear my steel toe boots. Intriguing! Anyhow, here’s the final result, cheesy lines, bad acting and all. Enjoy!
Ah, one of the best days of the year! Since we had such a good time (and since so many of our friends and family are far away) I thought I’d post our day here, with all the great pictures we took. Enjoy!
So the day got started rather early, as we still had a bunch of cooking to do. Actually, the day got started on Tuesday, when I was prepping for International Day of Baking Goodness (IDBG). Let me tell you, I don’t like mornings in the least, but there are 3 days of the year I happily get up during single digits: Disneyland Day, Christmas Day, and International Day of Baking Goodness. I had 13 things on the list to make this year, including prepping for Thanksgiving. So I began my prep on Tuesday, got up at 7:30 to cook on Wednesday (official IDBG) and only got through a few things. Ben, I miss you! We got through way more when you were in the kitchen with me.
Thanksgiving day also started rather early, what with all the cooking we had to do.
This is the morning cooking. Notice the pink camo. We live here now!
This is what we were doing so early in the morning. But don’t worry–it turned out most wonderful!
Here it is completely cooked along with the stuffing prep:
Then came time for pie! We used fresh pumpkin this year–those pumpkins are a bitch to get into at times. Dean had to break out the had saw when my sad little bread knife didn’t make a dent.
The table is set, guests arrive, let’s eat!
And that was basically the night. Good times with good friends and some good food. Loved it! We missed everyone who couldn’t be with us, and we hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!
So, I’ve had this conversation many times in the last month:
Them, walking into my house: “Hey, your living room doesn’t have a TV. Where’s your TV?”
Me: “In the guest room. We don’t use it much–we canceled cable two years ago.”
Them: “Wha…?!? But then how do you watch (insert random tv show here).”
I then go into a brief explanation of how to watch TV online, and it’s super awesome because I can see whatever I want whenever I want, and I can watch in every room in the house. Neat and fun for me!
Anyhow, the inevitable next question is “Where?” and that takes a heck of a lot longer to answer, so I’ve been telling people I’d write a blog about it. Now that I’ve told a bunch of people that, though, I sure as hell better write a blog about it, now shouldn’t I? Here I go!
Yep, I watch TV exclusively online (even when someone is actually watching TV on an actual TV–that way I don’t have to watch baseball or something stupid. I’m so sneaky!) How do I do it? Sheer force of will! And I’ve spent a lot of time looking for all the shows I want to watch. Here’s the list of places I watch, along with the good and bad points of each:
Like most network sites, this has both full episodes and clips. I hate just watching clips, so if you scroll to the bottom of this page, you’ll see a list of full episodes.
ABC ABC likes to bill itself as the first network to offer full episodes online. They have a special episode player, but I’ve found the player is kind of sketchy on my Mac. It works just fine on Vista, though, so as long as you have a PC this will work just fine.
Different from ABC, this has shows for tweens, I think. I don’t care, I love Gilmore Girls. This is another site that has both clips and full episodes, so you have to make sure you click on the full episodes.
They’ve got a bunch of stuff on here, including Family Guy, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Brothers (Go team venture!), Frisky Dingo, and Metalocalypse. There’s a bunch of others that I don’t really watch, but may start. Oh, and Ben! They have Boondocks!
Alloy TV This is getting a lot of press lately since it just signed Whitney Port (of “The Hills” and “The City” fame) to star in its newest scripted series. They only have a few show up now, but I’m thinking this may be the wave of the future. I’ll see if I can’t get into it!
So this is one of those iffy ones–the sites above all have commercials that are incorporated into the show. This site searches a bunch of different sites that stream video and lists the particular shows. These don’t have commercials, which is usually a sign that it’s not so legal. That and the fact that sometimes a link is down with a “copyright take down” notice. But whatever. I can usually find any show I want on here, though, and that rules. Just don’t click “yes” on any pop ups–that’ll install something stupid on your computer.
Amazon has just come up with a video on demand service that allows you to download various shows and movies for a small fee (or free for some of them! At the moment you can watch the Walking Dead for free!). You can also sign up for season passes and pre-order shows and movies. There are also some rumors about a ad-driven service that Amazon may offer to its Amazon Prime members, but there’s nothing substantive about that information yet.
America’s Test Kitchen This is EASILY my favorite cooking show…who knew I could watch episodes online?!? Best day! They’ve got 10 full seasons of the show up, without commercial breaks. I could spend days watching this, I tell you!
During the writer’s strike, a bunch of actors started doing online work (that was part of the reason for the strike, after all). This site is part of that movement, and has a bunch of original programming.
Bravo TV Oh, Bravo. When will companies learn that being bitchy about content just makes me not want to watch it? Bravo currently has 5 episodes (count them, 5!) from their shows up. Sigh. Here I am, wanting to support their advertisers, but they just won’t let me! Maybe they’ll get better.
Cast TV There are sites like this popping up everywhere at the moment! This is another site that trolls tv streaming pages and collects the videos. What’s new about this one, is it includes things like Amazon TV, where you can pay to download episodes. It has a lot of free content as well, but if you want to keep a copy of an especially good episode, you could find where to get it here, legally.
The network site has a lot of clips, but only a few full episodes, but they tend to be the newest or most popular episodes. Besides, CBS makes their shows available to other sites like Hulu.com or YouTube, so I reward them by going to their site and clicking on ad links and such. They’re shows include NCIS (usually the last two or three episodes), Jericho, The Unit, CSI (and all the spin offs–just don’t let me catch you watching CSI Miami! That show blows goats), The Mentalist (a sad rip off of Psych, I think. Watch the original instead), The Price is Right, and several soaps. They also have short clips from all their shows, but I only like to watch full episodes, so I won’t list them here.
Chiller TV This is a site that rotates horror tv shows, movies, and web-exclusive content including the Eyegore Awards. They don’t have a stable list of things, but it’s fun to check back and see what’s up.
Country Music Television
CMT has turned to a lot of reality shows, and most of them are available here. You can watch Hulk Hogan’s Championship Wrestling, My Big Redneck Wedding 2, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team 3 (Yep, I’ve watched all three seasons. What?), Gone Country 2, Outsiders Inn, Redneck Dreams (this sounds intriguing…), Made in America, Mobile Home Disaster, Trick My Truck, The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search (this isn’t such a good show, and I keep trying to like it. Just fair warning), and I Want to Look Like a High School Cheerleader Again.
MSNBC has a lot of content online, but I only like watching the Rachel Maddow show. The new episodes are usually up by 8 pm every evening, and you can watch the whole show or just certain portions.
Sony Pictures owns this site, and is currently trying turn this into something cool. At the moment it has some stuff on it, but they’re trying to get more classic TV episodes and movies soon. Keep checking back if you don’t see anything you like.
This is a pretty good site for watching TV, and they have a good number of shows. The only problem is they put up shows a few days after they air, so you have to be careful if you don’t want to be spoiled. But not really that big of a deal. Besides, new 90210! Also: Stylista (it’s a pretty good reality show about people trying to work at some magazine), the new 90210, Gossip Girl, Privileged, One Tree Hilll, America’s Next Top Model, Smallville, Supernatural, Everybody Hates Chris, The Game, Easy Money, Valentine, The Harms Way, 4Real, and Reaper.
Discover, TLC, Animal Planet
These three are together because the networks are owned by the same group and all three share a full episode player. They have a pretty good list of shows, but they all have an expiration date.
DIY Network I found this through HGTV, and just spent an evening watching Sweat Equity. There are a bunch of full episodes on this page, and they seem to be rotating all the time.
This is a site powered by SciFi that does reviews on tech products and whatnot. They have some good episodes, and keep them all archived.
This is a fan driven site where people upload various episodes. It’s not my first stop to try and find something to watch, but it does have a lot of video, so I tend to just browse here when I’m bored.
Fine Living Network
While this doesn’t have all their shows (Mom just told me about a Martha Stewart one that I want to see. Maybe this will be put up soon). At them moment, FLN has Any Given Latitude, Travel in High Definition, We Live Here, What’s Your Time Worth, Real Estate Confidential, Shopping With Chefs, All-Girl Getaways, Cool Kids’ Parties, Great Cocktails, and Fine Living Specials.
I think Fox is one of the better sites on which to watch episodes. They seem to have a bunch of stuff up, and I haven’t noticed any expiration dates yet. They also have clips up, but, like I said, I don’t watch them. They are currently playing American Dad, America’s Most Wanted, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, Bones, Cops, Family Guy, Fringe, Hell’s Kitchen, Hole in the Wall (a funny concept, but a boring show to watch for too long), House, King of the Hill, Kitchen Nightmares, MADtv, The Moment of Truth, Prison Break, The Simpsons, TalkShow with Spike Feresten, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, ’til Death
I don’t think all of their shows are up, but most of them are, which makes all the difference. Right now, they play It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy, Testees, and 30 Days
GAC (Great American Country) You can watch new country music videos here. Of course, you can do that at Launchcast (which is Yahoo’s music site) too.
For those of you who want to catch up on Gossip Girl, this site streams all the episodes from all the seasons from a variety of sites. Some get take down notices, but I’ve been able to watch most of the seasons so far without any trouble. The newest episodes are on CW, which has a much better quality.
HGTV is also a great place for watching shows. They don’t have all their content, but what they do have is good quality and never expires. I caught up on a lot of different shows. They currently have: Color Splash, Curb Appeal, Design Star (all 3 seasons), Designed to Sell, Gardening by the Yard, Ground Breakers, HGTV Dream Home, Hidden Potential, House Hunters, House Hunters Int’l, My First Place, My House is Worth What?, Miles of Style, National Open House, Over Your Head, Property Virgins, Red Hot and Green, Rate My Space, Sleep on It, Spice Up My Kitchen, Summer Showdown, and The Stagers
Hulu Hulu is the (in my opinion) the end-all-be-all of TV sites. They have contracts with many of the major networks, which means episodes are uploaded quickly and are of great quality. They also have movies and clips from a bunch of different shows. What I really like about them is you can list the shows and filter by full episode, have an alphabetical list of all the shows, have a list by most recently added, or search for anything you like. It’s a very easy site to use and watch, and it’s the first one I turn to every day.
Internet Archive The Internet Archive is noted for it’s collection of old websites, and now has begun to collect moving images, including movies, television shows, commercials, and propaganda films. Joy!
Joost really wants to be like Hulu, but just fell short. I think they tried to focus on the social networking aspect of TV watching–you can create a profile and share your favorite videos with your friends, which would be a nice thing to do…that is, if the rest of Joost was any good. The biggest problem I have is there’s no way to filter by full episode, so if I want to find a full episode of any show I have to manually go though all their listings and find the one that has the right length. Their search function is sketchy as well, and only sometimes pulls up what I want to see. I think they put so much effort into the MySpace-esque aspect of the site that all the rest fell by the wayside. Perhaps if they had made it a good TV site first and a friend site second things would have worked. I keep it on my list in hopes that it will get better, because I’d really like to share good shows with other TV lovers (Earl!). Leave it off your list for now, though, unless you want to take hours finding something to watch. If so, add me as your friend and tell me what you find!
Once again, this is a place where actors could go to do independent projects. Lisa Kudrow just launched a series on here that is pretty good. The site is all original content, and a lot of it is very engaging.
This has a limited number of full episodes and movies to offer, but it’s better than nothing at times. Besides, it has a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Neat!
Most all of MTV’s shows are online now, and put up pretty much right when the shows air live. Sometimes their player is a bit sketchy–for a few weeks there it kept trying to install cookies on my computer, but eventually that went away. Never let these sites install anything! Stupid sites. They’ve also recently started taking down episodes until after the season is over. So annoying! Maybe I’ll start downloading the shows out of spite.
My Easy TV I really haven’t explored this very much, but it looks like a pretty comprehensive list of online TV resources. I’ll have to spend a few hours and see how it all works eventually, but I’m looking forward to doing that.
Most of NBC’s stuff is on Hulu, which is where I tend to watch it, but sometimes they have exclusive stuff on their own site. I check it every once in a while just to make sure I’m not missing anything.
ON Networks This is an original programming site that includes a show by Amy Pohler of Saturday Night Live fame. They’re getting more and more content, so I think I’ll have to make them one of my regular stops.
From what I can tell, they have most PBS shows in full length up. They are working on getting all content up, but the site is still in beta. I’m expecting that they will have a really great site soon. I’ve spent a few days catching up on NOVA, so I haven’t watched much else, but I will very, very soon. Go public television!
Project Free TV
This looks a lot like Alluc.org or one of those others, and they seem to have most of the shows I can’t find on Hulu. Yay!
Reality TV Fan
I’ve noticed that some reality shows aren’t up online (it was really hard to find Project Runway there for awhile) and this site captures and posts them the same night they are broadcast. The shows are broken up into 10 minute clips, though, so that can be a bit tedious for general watching. I like the site, though, and I’m able to watch all the best reality shows right on time. This is my second stop after Hulu.
The Research Channel This is pre-taped lectures on various subjects. You can watch the lectures, or just listen to the audio. Some pretty interesting stuff here!
Revision3 I just found this online-only tv station while surfing my RSS feeds. They have the normal jumble of “what’s new/cool/funny/embarrassing online!” type of content, but also specialize in original shows that are only streamed through the site. I’m starting to follow more and more of these types of shows, and this looks like a great place.
Not all their shows are up here, but there are a few good ones, and every once in a while they’ll feature a fantastically bad movie. That’s always good for a laugh. They are currently playing Santuary, Ghost Hunters, Scare Tactics, Destination Truth, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, and Ghost Hunters International.
Not much here yet, but it promises to get better. At the moment they’re playing Kojak, Miami Vice (yep, that one), and Simon & Simon.
This site is a lot like Hulu (my current fave), and offers a nice selection of TV and film.
This was big news when it came out, and it is as awesome as it sounds. Everything’s there! Never miss an episode! Wooo!
About half of their network content is up on the website, but it’s pretty good quality. As soon you click to the page an ad starts playing all loud, though, which is super annoying. At the moment, they have full episodes of 1000 Ways to Die, DEA, Factory, Game Trailers TV, I Bet You Will, Manswers, Murder, Pros vs. Joes, and Real Vice Cps Uncut.
I dunno–they say they have full episodes up, but they way they have them broken up is weird. I’m hoping they get it turned around soon, although I must admit I’m not missing much. They don’t have too many good things up that I can’t get elsewhere: 10 Items or Less, Frank TV, The Bill Engvall Show, My Boys, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me, Married with Children, and Blue Collar Comedy: the Next Generation.
This only has a few shows up, but may add more. At the moment, they have Raising the Bar, Charmed, and Angel, as well as Full-Length Movies.
With new original programming and a larger line up of ” classic” shows (i.e. shows from the 80s), TV land has become a force to be reckoned with.
This is another amalgamation site that has a lot of different shows. I include it on my list because it has a bunch of the British shows I can’t seem to find anywhere else. Be careful, though…some of the shows come with a pop up that will install crap on your computer.
This network only has 5 shows up, and they’re all the first season (Starter Wife, Dr. Steve-O, Burn Notice, Psych, and Monk). I’m pretty sure you can also get all of them on Hulu, but whatever. Reward the network!
I haven’t explored this one much, but it seems like they just have the latest episodes of some of their shows, along with clips from others. If I ever get into these shows, I’ll have to find them on another source probably. This is a good way to find out what shows are out there, though.
Yahoo TV There are a lot of full episodes on Yahoo, but there seems to be nothing unique about this site versus all the others. You might find something you like here, though.
Well, that’s it (so far). I left off some of the networks that I just don’t care fore (Nick and TV land spring to mind) but if you like those, I think they show full episodes. If you know of any I left off my list, let me know!
Update: So I’ve found some more places to watch–as I find more and more I’ll add them to the bottom here.
Quicksilver Screen Found this one when I was looking for a place to watch Trailer Park Boys online. They seem to have a bunch of things listed, including movies, which is always a nice source to have.
Fear Net Just found this one. It specializes in horror stuff, and you can watch lots of clips and trailers, as well as full episodes of some sort of horror genre show,. They also have a few free movies (including Leprechaun 5: In the Hood. Oh yes, they made that) all of which look B-tastic and horrible. I’ll happily watch! Well, I’ll happily watch with the lights on, in the middle of the day, and then sleep with my headphones playing Disney music, but whatever.
TV.com Apparently CBS has owned the rights to TV.com for awhile, and now they’re finally doing something with it. They are attempting to rival Hulu.com by making deals with several pay networks (HBO, Showtime, etc) for their shows, and using TV.com to post many CBS shows, as well. Given that CBS is notorious for not putting their stuff up online, I’m rather excited by the prospect. At the moment, it just seems to be an amalgamation of clips and episodes, with no real way to sort them effectively (I’m very fond of Hulu’s “new video” sort in the full episodes group. That way I can find the newest episodes, which I know are full episodes. This doesn’t do that yet). They aren’t going to be fully opperational for a bit, though, so maybe it’ll get better.
Snag Films This is a free documentary site–they have small and big budget things (such as Super Size Me) all streaming, for free. W00t!
France 24 A 24 hour world news site, which covers everything from politics to science from an international standpoint.
Asian Horror Movies Just found this site, and it’s exactly like the title says–a long list of Asian horror movies. If you’re into that, this is the place for you! (I’m looking at you, Ivan!)
Crunchy Roll This is a great site for Anime, if you’re into it (or want to get into it). I may try one of these days…who knows?
Academic Earth Free video lectures on a variety of subjects, from many prestigious universities. Awesome!
Classic Cinema Online This site has lots of old movies, and uses the time of year to feature several centered around a theme. I can’t wait until Christmas to see what old-timey Christmas movies I can discover!
I just found this site by following the epic Felicia Day on Twitter. This has original comic content, and hosts episodes of The Guild! (Fabulous if you know anyone who plays online games). Gonna have to spend an evening catching up on these new finds.
Whose Line Is It Anyway
This is a site with all of the Whose line episodes, USA and British, for free with no pop ups. Thanks whomever did that !!
So since sweetie left for the longest business trip EVER, I’ve been keeping myself busy doing things around the house. I want him to know about it, so I’m posting some photos for him. Read on!
First off, it looks like we have raccoons or something coming into the garage. I found these stashed behind the fridge. I gave what was left of them to Tasha and Dovie. They thought it was the best day ever, what with having two cookies and all.
I started pulling up the small ponds in the backyard, and found this pair beneith some of the stones. Tasha was facinated. I had to wash her mouth out 4 times after she tried to eat the toads. The toads are fine. Stupid dog.
I also found this ant colony. Tasha was also interested in these, but she learned much faster to leave the fire ants alone.
Then the ice maker acted up. I learned that the mechanism that magically runs the ice maker can suck in things from the freezer. Here is the ice maker eating a bag of old feathers I was keeping for my Acarology class. Old feathers make gross ice.
Mao did not want me to read. He’s beginning to put up with the cuddle game quite a bit more. He’ll learn eventually! DJ hasn’t changed much–he’s still annoying as ever at 2 in the morning. Although he is loving the one-person-in-the-bed thing…he doesn’t get kicked at night, and he gets to choose between sleeping at the foot of the bed or taking over a pillow. I also watched him pet-block Mao this morning–DJ was purring next to me, and saw Mao get off the cat tree and jump to the bed for some lovin’. DJ was having none of it, and pounced Mao in mid air, knocked him off the bed, then came back for more cuddles. What a Darth Quarcog move!
Anyhow, back to the outside. I took several days, and many gallons of sweat, to clear out some brush:
Oh, and one of the succulents is blooming!
I’ve repurposed the pavers used for the ponds into edging for our flower beds. I like how it looks…and it was free! That makes it look even better.
I did attempt the horrid task of taking up the fugly linoleum in the solarium, but that didn’t last long. I got two tiles kinda up, then gave up and had some chocolate milk. The milk was good.
Finally, I made the long, long drive to Ikea, and bought beautiful bookshelves for my library. I love my library! Here it is:
I moved my harp to the living room where the cuddle chair used to be:
So, that’s it! That’s what I’ve done for the past 3 weeks while Dean’s been gone. Well, that and run a crap-ton of research, get some fly colonies started, write a few presentations, teach, get my dissertation committee together, go to class, do my homework, and take a few midterms. You know, all that boring stuff. Sweetie comes home on Friday! Woot!
My friend Jory is having problems with a flea infestation in his new house. Here’s what he has to say:
So, I moved into a new place a week ago Sunday. The woman there before me got two kittens about 3 weeks before she moved out. And there are friggin’ fleas.
So far, I’ve tried the following:
* I bombed the place with foggers TWICE. Within 20 minutes, the fleas were jumping around in the kitchen again!
* I put flea powder on the carpets
* I had the carpets steam-cleaned
* I have put diatomaceus earth around the kitchen and other places I’ve seen the fleas.
* I’ve got a flea collar in the vacuum and have been vacuuming about 6 times each day. (Pretty much every time I need to walk into a room or leave it again.)
I’m not even sure where the hell the fleas are coming from anymore, but it seems to me they’re living in the kitchen, which doesn’t even make sense. The kitchen has a linoleum/vinyl floor. The edges curl up to the kitchen cabinets, so I’m theorizing that they’re living/laying eggs under the lino, which is protecting them from the foggers and allows them to jump out moments later and appear under the kitchen cabinets from seemingly nowhere.
What do you think? Ever heard of fleas living under lino?
Thanks for your help!
Ah, the never ending battle against blood sucking insects. Fleas have got to be some of the most annoying, because they seemingly appear out of nowhere and last for ages! Well, onto the questions.
First off, a little bit about fleas. Fleas are a wingless, blood sucking insect that feed on animals (and therefore humans). There are good number of different flea species, but the most common flea causing problems in a household is the cat flea, or Ctenocephalides felis. The good news with this flea is that it doesn’t transmit plague (unlike the rat flea which spreads bubonic plague). Since I don’t have a specimen to identify, I’m going to assume that Jory has C. felis. The bad news is it is still a blood sucker, and therefore still really annoying to anyone unlucky enough to get infested.
Most fleas spend their time on animals, blood feeding for several days or until they are groomed or knocked off. The cat flea doesn’t infest humans (i.e., doesn’t stay on humans for long periods) but can and will bite humans for a blood meal. Flea bites present as small, round, red marks, usually on the ankles or lower legs. People who are sensitive may see raised bumps and experience intense itching and rashes. Sever allergic reactions take approximately 12-24 hours to develop, and can last over 7 days. In the case of a bad reaction, a topical antihistamine cream, and an oral antihistamine may be used to treat the symptoms.
Fleas have a relatively simple life cycle, which makes interrupting said life cycle easy. The female flea must take a blood meal in order to produce eggs. She then lays her eggs within 2 days of her first blood meal. The eggs are found in pet bedding, carpet, upholstery–that sort of place. The eggs are tiny (1/50th of an inch), white, and generally round. They are rather delicate, and can be dried out by many products. A single female flea can lay up to 27 eggs per day for around 9 days.
The female flea also excretes what she doesn’t use of the blood meal as feces, often termed “flea dirt” which serves as food for her young. The feces looks just like dirt, and can most easily be seen in the fur of infested animals. FYI–if you were to place this dirt in water, it would rehydrate and turn the water bright red. Science is fun AND interesting!
The eggs hatch between 2 days and 2 weeks after being laid (depending on temperature–optimum temperature for this species seems to be between 80 and 90 F, with a relative humidity of 70%. They will hatch at lower and higher temperatures, just not as quickly or readily. They don’t seem to hatch below 50 F) into a small, worm-like larvae. These larvae are the most vulnerable stage. The larvae live in the carpet, bedding, or upholstery, feeding on flea feces in those same areas. The larvae go through several stages, or instars, in this form, and stay as larvae for as few as 6 days, to well beyond 2 weeks, once again depending on temperature.
Once the larvae have finished their instars, they begin to collect debris in their immediate area–things like hair, dust, dirt, fibers, etc. They use these debris and a silky material produced by their saliva to construct a hard casing around their entire body. This casing is almost impossible to see, because it is to completely camouflaged with its surroundings. The flea undergoes a complete metamorphosis inside the casing, where it breaks down its body into its basic components and reforms it into the adult flea form. This stage is very hardy–it can take a lot of stress and abuse without dying. In fact, most insects use the pupal form to survive adverse conditions, such as winter or drought. Fleas are no exception, and it is very, very hard to kill the pupal stage.
Pupae take between 7 and 10 days to emerge into adults. However, if conditions are adverse, they newly formed flea may stay in the pupal casing until it is all but guaranteed a blood meal after emergence. This is why an empty home can suddenly have a flea infestation right after you move in. Fleas can stay dormant in the pupal stage for months at a time, waiting to sense a blood meal. Vibrations caused by walking and moving appear to trigger the dormant insects into emerging all at the same time. Fun for all involved!
Newly emerged adults must have a blood meal to survive. They will attach to any animal that happens to be in the area, feed, mate, and repeat the cycle.
So, in an indoor habitat, let’s assume that the average temperature is 75 F most of the time. This would put the life cycle at 1 week for the egg stage, 10 days for the larvae, and 10 days for the pupae (approximately). That’s about 27 days for a flea to go from egg to adult. Assuming Jory moved into his home and didn’t notice any adult fleas when he went to look at the place, then all the fleas he’s dealing with now were in the earlier stages of development–egg, larvae, or pupae. So what should he do?
Provided you don’t have a pet that is re-infesting the house, fleas are rather easy to control. The simplest thing to do is vacuum. A recent study showed that vacuuming up any stage other than pupae kills the flea (so eggs, larvae, and adults are all killed by the vacuum) so the first step to control is to vacuum any and all areas that are infested. Make sure you include upholstery, beneath furniture, and along edges. Jory mentioned that he thought there may be some fleas beneath the linoleum. Remember that all an immature flea needs to survive is flea dirt, so it’s very possible for fleas to live in all kinds of habitats. Vacuum wherever fleas are suspected.
Flea bombs are a way to quickly kill adult fleas, but they present their problems. They must be used in a tightly closed area, and are designed for specific square footage. If you attempt to use a bomb incorrectly, it will not kill the adults at all. Secondly, there are really only a few pesticides licensed for indoor use. Fleas have this annoying ability to evolve, and the more they are exposed to a pesticide, the more likely they will become immune from it. Jory has tried the flea bombs, and says they fleas come jumping out right afterwards. This tells me they have been exposed before, and are now immune to whatever is in the bomb. I suggest finding another type of bomb with a different pesticide in it, or simply physically remove the fleas with a vacuum.
Diatomaceous earth is a great way to kill eggs and larvae. The fossilized diatoms act as razor blades, cutting the integument of the fleas to ribbons, and causing the fleas to dehydrate or bleed to death. This doesn’t work as well on adults, but works a bit. Spread the DE around any areas where fleas are found, wait a bit, then vacuum it up.
The biggest thing to do is wait. Remember the life cycle–you can easily kill the eggs and larvae, but the pupae are a pain. You may have to wait them out for up to 2 weeks. Vacuum at least twice a day, wash bedding, and clean upholstery, and within a month you should have interrupted the life cycle. Good luck!
Update: I’ve gotten a lot of questions about outdoor habitats, so I thought I’d add what I do whenever I move to a new place.
I have dogs and cats. These dogs and cats love going outside and bringing back whatever critters they find (the least of which is fleas!). Fleas are often found in the yard, especially in areas where an animal sleeps on a regular basis. This is a very common place to find flea larvae, in fact. As your pet sleeps outside, he will allow the adult fleas to drop flea dirt into the soil, and feed the flea larvae. If you don’t treat the outdoors as well as the indoors, you will end up reinfesting your house every time your pet walks outside.
When I move into a new place with a yard, the very first thing I do is treat the yard. Since I have pets and a garden, I HATE using chemical sprays outdoors (besides, I don’t want to kill off the fireflies and other awesome things I have back there!). So, I instead rely on flea nematodes–a microscopic worm-like organism that feeds on the flea larvae and lives in the soil. I buy mine from Amazon, and sprinkle the entire back yard, focusing on the areas where my dogs and cats sleep.
Now, keep in mind that this is a long-term treatment, and won’t completely eliminate the fleas in your yard right away. Instead, the nematodes will reproduce from year-to-year, providing long-term control. Bonus: these nematodes also feed on other undesirable plant pests like plant-eating beetles and some flies. Excellent!
Once you have treated the entire back yard, you can keep an eye out for where your animals sleep. After my pets have settled on an area, I buy another box of nematodes and heavily treat the preferred areas. I repeat this step every two years or so (depending on the flea infestation I notice each spring and summer). I tend to have no fleas in the back yard by the end of year three, and only have to spot check every once in a while. Good luck again!
For those of you who don’t know, I live in Texas. Over the past few months we’ve been having epic rain storms, and the moisture, coupled with the warm weather, has been a boon for fleas around here. We’ve also had an influx of stray cats and other warm-blooded animals trying to get out of the rain, which means our domestic animals have been fighting a flea epidemic the like of which I haven’t seen in a long time.
This epidemic prompted me to start looking for new flea treatments. You see, with my normal maintenance, we haven’t had to deal with a bad flea season in a long time. This one took me by surprise! Luckily, in the years since I’ve had to do emergency flea treatments, there have been some new developments in the flea control market.
The one that I found that has worked the absolute best is Nitenpyram, sold under the brand name CapStar, or its generic name CapGuard. The chemical binds to the neural system of insects, and causes death within a few minutes or so. It comes in pill form, which is administered to cats and dogs over a certain body weight. The chemical is ingested by ectoparasites (like fleas) through blood feeding, and the fleas die 30 minutes after the animal takes the pill.
I was a little skeptical about this treatment, but I must say it worked beautifully. One of our cats was especially heavily infested (he’s awfully friendly with the neighborhood cats), and he spent about an hour scratching and running around as the fleas began to die off. They didn’t go quietly–I could see the suckers running around his fur, and I can only imagine how much that itched! By about 2 hours post pill, however, he was completely flea free for the first time in two months.
This pill is supposed to continue to kill off fleas for about 48 hours before the chemical is completely eliminated from the animal’s system, so it needs to be used in conjunction with a repellent (like Advantage or Frontline) to ensure the fleas don’t reinfest. It’s a great way to remove the fleas from animals, though, so you can get that population knocked down!
The capricorn beetle, thought to be extinct in England since the late 18th century has been found hanging out on the side walk. Experts believe this wood-feeding insect may have hitched a ride on some imported wood pallets from a distant country, but are still intrigued by its arrival and subsequent discovery. The specimen was turned over to athorities and sent to the local butterfly reserve.
The World Health Orginazation has just released a comprehensive report, written by various pest athorities, about the status of urban pests. This report is meant to be a basis for public policy. The orgination asked leading experts on various pests to put together as much information about each pest as possible. The pests covered in the report include cockroaches, dust mites, bedbugs, fleas, pharaoh ants, fire ants, flies, body lice, ticks, and mosquitos. There’s also information about vertebrate pests, as well as a section on allergic asthmas.
The best part, though, is it is published on the web for free:
Killerstartups.com just announced the creation of a new research resource: ISpecies.org. The service is simply a specialized search engine that allows for the targeted searching of a specific species. The engine mines everything from Wikipedia to Google Scholar and gives you a list of articles, the Wiki entry, up to 5 pictures, and a variety of other resources all about that organism. Excellent!