DIY Tips for Getting Rid of Fleas in Your Home
Fleas are prolific breeders. They can lay 1,500 eggs in their lifetime so it’s no wonder they spread in your home so effectively. In 21 days, one flea can become 1000 in your home and on your pet. This is why getting rid of fleas as soon as possible is key.
Fleas can make things very uncomfortable for you, your family and your pets. Read on to learn some easy DIY tips for getting rid of fleas once they’re in your home.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are the adult stage of a wingless parasite that lives by eating the blood of mammals such as pets and humans. This creature is well adapted for this. They have mouth parts that pierce the skin of cats, dogs, and humans.
Fleas are only about 1/8 of an inch long but the bite is very uncomfortable. The other life stages of the flea are eggs, larvae, and pupae. Eradicating fleas is about destroying these other life stages as well as the adult fleas themselves.
Once a flea lays eggs, they are dispersed around your pet’s body and your home. They are likely to end up in bedding, carpets, and anywhere your pet goes.
Larvae hatch from the flea’s eggs within a few days. They prefer damp, dark places such as carpets, under and in furniture, in bedding and in shady places. Larvae turn into pupae when they form a cocoon around themselves.
The larval stage can last for many months or just a few weeks. The adult fleas come out of the cocoon and then look for a host. That host can be a dog, cat or indeed a human. They stay on the host throughout their life, laying eggs and feeding.
Getting Rid of Fleas
Getting rid of fleas takes persistence and dedication.
Just removing the adult flea does not eradicate the other life stages. After adult fleas are destroyed, eggs can hatch and before long, the infestation is back. It’s important to break the cycle of flea reproduction if you hope to solve the problem.
Treat Your Pet
Pets can carry flea infestations. Treat your pet for fleas and complete the treatment thoroughly.
If there is still a problem seek advice from your vet. Ask for the recommended treatment for your pet and one that is effective in your climate. It has to be effective against fleas, eggs, larvae, and pupae.
If there is more than one pet in the house, treat all the pets. Don’t allow pets to visit your home from outside. A playdate for your pet might seem fun but it could also bring unwanted fleas into your home.
Vacuum your home regularly. Vacuuming picks up both fleas and eggs from carpets, upholstery, and flooring. Move furniture and vacuum under it.
Vacuum curtains and upholstery too. Pay special attention to areas where your pet sleeps, eats or plays. Pay close attention to any hiding places for fleas such as cracks, dark places or difficult to get at places.
Use a vacuum bag that you can dispose of without touching the contents. Vacuum daily while you are trying to eradicate the fleas and weekly thereafter. Empty your vacuum cleaner each time you clean well away from your home and pets.
Fleas cannot survive the heat of steam. If you have a heavy infestation have your carpets and upholstery steam cleaned.
This may not kill all the eggs but it will disrupt the flea’s reproductive process. Be prepared to steam clean again once the eggs have hatched.
Bedding, especially pet bedding, is a wonderful habitat for flea larvae. It’s moist, warm and visited regularly by warm-blooded potential hosts for the adult fleas. Regularly washing bedding will reduce the infestation.
If your pets find their way into your bed or your children’s bed it’s likely that fleas will be in your bedding too. Washing bedding more often helps control adult fleas and their other life stages too.
Wash at the highest heat setting allowed for the material. Dry bedding using a dryer at the highest permissible temperature. If it is a very severe infestation, you may need to dispose of bedding and buy new.
A flea comb is a fine-toothed comb designed for catching fleas. Comb the hairs on the body of your pets paying special attention to the neck and base of the tail. Dip the comb into soapy water regularly to clean off the fleas and kill them.
Do this flea combing regularly to keep track of how effective the other techniques are proving. Do it outside, so as not to spread the fleas around your home.
Chemical treatments contain insecticides. These can be damaging to other life so try using more environmentally friendly solutions.
Put a solution of dishwashing liquid on a small plate. Place it under a lamp so it warms up. The fleas will be attracted to the warmth and moisture and get caught in the sticky liquid.
Change the contents of the plate daily. Repeat the treatment every night.
Fleas don’t like citronella and rosemary so use these to deter the fleas from taking residence in your home.
You may resort to chemical treatments or flea foggers. If you do, follow the instructions closely so as not to harm yourself, family or your pets. If you use a fogger you will need to remove electronic devices, plans, and your pets and family from the home for a time.
Whatever treatment options you chose, don’t forget that fleas could be hiding in the most surprising places. A favorite pet toy, a discarded sock under the bed or a crack in floorboards could all be hiding places. Don’t forget to treat these places.
Final Check and Prevention
Once you have cleaned everything thoroughly and followed all the advice is the fight over. No, it isn’t. Getting rid of fleas takes persistence.
Use the flea comb regularly and look for fleas. Watch your pets for signs that they have irritating fleas biting them. Repeat the treatment if you have any doubt.
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