It’s not unusual for a few fleas to hitchhike a ride home on your pooch, especially if he’s just visited a dog park. But what happens if just a few free-loading fleas turn into a complete home infestation? Too many people become exasperated with the situation and end up trying to live along side these blood-sucking parasites, believing there must be no way to get rid of fleas completely. This is not true! This article will discuss how to get rid of fleas in your house. You and your pets don’t have to live in flea biting hell any longer.
Treat Your Pets For Fleas
It’s simply not enough to treat only the environment- you must also treat your pets for fleas. Failing to thoroughly treat your pets for fleas will only lead to re-infestation of your home. Flea treatment for dogs used to involve the use of ineffective or time consuming products. These days however, treatment of fleas can be as easy as giving your dog an oral tablet or a drop of topical treatment. To learn more about these treatments, refer to the following article:
Cleaning To Get Rid Of Fleas
A flea infestation is a good excuse to get obsessive compulsive about cleaning. One of the most effective ways to reduce flea populations in the home is through the regular use of the humble vacuum cleaner. Before you begin any other environmental flea treatments, give your home a very thorough clean with a vacuum cleaner.
Fleas respond to heat and movement (floor vibration), because these things usually mean ”food”. Not only do adult fleas literally jump at the opportunity to feed on a host, but heat and movement can actually coax flea pupae from their protective cocoons for their first blood meal. This is a very important step. Insecticides are unable to penetrate the waterproof protective cocoons of flea larvae. The ONLY way to kill the fleas within these cocoons is to coax them out into the open. Vacuuming before the use of flea treatments will not only suck up fleas, eggs and larvae, allowing for convenient disposal, but any larvae that are secure in their cocoons will be stimulated to “hatch” and thus become vulnerable to the treatments that are to follow.
Before you begin vacuuming, insert a fresh bag into the vacuum cleaner. If you have a bag-less vacuum, ensure you empty out the dust compartment and clean any filters. Some people like to follow up by spritzing the inside of the dust compartment with a water/white vinegar solution or flea spray, as this can help neutralize any fleas that are caught by the vacuum cleaner.
Be very thorough with vacuuming. Use the different attachments available to get into all the nooks and crannies of your home, under the furniture and along all the baseboards (skirting boards) of your home. Use the max suction feature and make multiple passes over any carpeted areas. Also thoroughly vacuum furniture such as sofas or bedding, and wash any linen and drapes in hot water.
After vacuuming, you need to dispose of the vacuum’s contents, careful to avoid re-introducing any fleas back into the home. Carefully remove the bag from your vacuum cleaner outside and place straight into a garbage bag. Tie the back off and throw it into the trash.
If you have a bag-less vacuum, things are a little more tricky. Outside, carefully remove the dust compartment of your vacuum cleaner and place it straight inside a large garbage bag. While the compartment is still deep inside the garbage bag, remove the lid and any filters and tap off any of the contents inside the bag. Once the filters and compartment have been thoroughly cleaned out, remove them from the garbage bag and immediately tie off the bag and throw it in the trash. Rinse off the compartment with hot water if possible and dry thoroughly before reconnecting the filters and inserting it back into the vacuum cleaner.
These precautions are tedious but necessary to prevent the captured fleas from being re-introduced to your home.
Once your house is as clean as a whistle, it’s time to begin flea treatments to eliminate any remaining pests.
The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House
Calling in the pest exterminator is effective but pricey. Thankfully, there are many commercially available anti-flea products available on the market that you can use that cost a lot less than professional services. Flea bombs or foggers are currently considered to be the most effective weapon there is in the war against fleas. These products don’t only get rid of the biting adult fleas, but they also kill flea eggs and larvae. With the help of your vacuuming and the flea bomb’s residual effects, they will also kill off any fleas who happen to emerge from their protective cocoons. To learn more about flea bombs and other effective products, please refer to the following article:
How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House Naturally
Some people feel uncomfortable with using chemical-based products due to the associated health risks to their family, their pets or themselves. While it is true that incorrect use of some flea treatments may pose health risks, it is important to realize that the more “natural” alternatives are not always safer. To reiterate, just because a product is natural, it does not mean that product is completely safe. This may particularly hold true if you are concocting a home remedy for fleas, so you must take particular care when using these kinds of products.
Flea traps can be bought already made, or you may construct them yourself using household items. Flea traps use two key features; a light to act as a luring source of light and heat, and a tray of water or a square of sticky paper as a trap for the fleas. To create your own flea trap, place a small desk lamp (preferably one that uses a halogen globe) so that it shines over a large baking dish of water and dishwashing liquid. Leave this contraption in any area that fleas congregate such as behind sofas or next to beds. Leave it there overnight. In the morning, check to see how many fleas you caught- you should be able to see them floating in the soapy water. Some people have reported good success with the use of flea traps, however many people find they have to use the flea traps on a regular basis to keep flea numbers down.
The downside to flea traps is that they will only capture adult fleas, which ultimately make up only a small number of a flea infestation. Flea traps do nothing to kill off eggs or flea larvae. Additionally, self constructed flea traps may be unsafe if the light source becomes to hot and burns out or comes into contact with flammable objects such as drapes. Children or pets may also burn themselves by touching the hot globe or they may spill the tray of soapy water. Commercial flea traps are generally considered a lot safer and more reliable, though there have been reports of children and pets becoming stuck to the extremely sticky paper that is used to capture the fleas.
Ultimately, flea traps are a good hands-off way to reduce adult flea numbers if you want to avoid the use of chemicals.
Natural Flea/Bug Sprays
Again, natural bug sprays can either be bought commercially or mixed up yourself. Natural sprays can be mixed from diluting a drop of lavender, tea tree, rosemary or garlic oil in a large spray bottle with water. Any of these oils are considered to be natural flea killers or repellents, though caution is required. Even one drop of essential oil per spray bottle is considered to be a toxicly high concentration and should never be used to directly spray your dog, and should absolutely never be used if you share your home with a cat. Spritzing the carpet, drapes and furnishings may help reduce flea numbers.
Commercially available sprays are generally safer than mixing your own concoctions as the active ingredients get carefully measured. However it is still important to never directly spray your pets unless the directions specifically advise to do so. It may also be wise to restrict your pet’s access to areas that have been recently treated with these sprays.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural product that looks a lot like talcum powder, but is actually fairly effective at killing adult fleas. Sprinkle DE throughout the home, paying special attention to areas fleas are likely to congregate. DE is able to penetrate the flea’s protective exoskeleton and cause the flea to desiccate. Continue to use DE even afterthe apparent eradication of all adult fleas, as flea larvae will remain unaffected until they emerge from their cocoons as newly hatched adult fleas.
Fortunately, DE seems to be considered safe to use even in the presence of people and pets. Please note that it important to only use Diatomaceous Earth that is approved for pest control use. Using “Pool Strength” DE is ineffective against fleas due to the different manufacturing process.
Why is it important to get rid of fleas? People who have been living with a flea infestation for some time may become complacent to the presence of these parasites, considering them more of a general annoyance than a real threat. As such, they may not mind if some of the treatments they use are seldom effective. It is important however to treat fleas for what they are- blood sucking parasites that can pose serious health risks for you or your dog. A simple flea bite can lead to bacterial infection, tapeworm infection or severe allergic reaction.
Safely use the products that are proven to work and you will be able to get rid of fleas in your house.