A Guide to Chemical-Free Flea Control
As an owner of two cats and a dog, all of which are indoor/outdoor, I have had my share of struggles with pests over the years. But none have tested my time and patience as much as fleas. Before my daughter was born, and before I was aware of the harsh toxins included in pesticides, I would turn to chemical flea treatments, specifically the drop treatments to combat fleas. Though they were expensive, especially for three pets, we had the money to spare, and I lacked the knowledge of any alternative methods.
However, it wasn't until my cat got sickly and started losing patches of fur, that I began to wonder what health risks those chemicals posed, not only for my pets, but also myself and my partner. It was around the same time that I began to learn the dangers of chemical household products, and began the task of switching out my products for greener choices. Although I am not positive that the flea drops were the cause for my cats health problems, I can honestly say that after about a month or two of discontinued treatments, my cat’s fur grew back and I haven’t had any problems since.
Though I was glad to be rid of the pesticide, I soon found my household completely bombarded with fleas. Yet I refused to use anymore chemicals on my pets. I was determined to find a natural toxin-free solution for flea control, and with a little research I was able to combine different methods to create my own flea regime.
Now, I say regime because it is extremely difficult eradicate fleas completely, and it takes a lot of work to do so. I choose to do this because having a chemical-free household is very important to me, though I understand if other’s simply do not have the time to commit themselves. I might also mention that having three pets takes much more effort to control an infestation, as compared to just one.
Steps for Chemical-Free Flea Control:
1. Vacuum and Sweep Daily
This is a crucial step in ridding one’s home from these little jumping pests. Vacuuming and sweeping is the most effective way to remove flea eggs and larvae, which makes up around eight-five percent of the flea population in your home.
2. Flea Comb Pets Daily
This is important for removing those bloodsucking adults. I find the best method is to use a bowl of soapy water to discard the caught fleas while combing your pet. It is not necessary to use pesticide soap to kill a flea, regular soap will do the trick.
3. Use Herbal Extract Sprays on Carpets and Furniture Daily
There are certain herbs that fleas are naturally resistant to, and some that can actually kill them upon contact. Peppermint oil and clove oil is an example of that. I recently found a great product that is made up from the above oils and extracts called Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray. This is a wonderfully effective treatment to spray on furniture and carpets daily, as it kills adult fleas on contact and works as a deterrent as well. Lemongrass oil also works as a good flea deterrent, though I have noticed that it does not kill fleas on contact.
4. Use Diatomaceous Earth on Carpets Twice Monthly
Diatomaceous earth is an ultra fine natural mineral that has many great uses, one of which being pest control. This mineral is really light and powdery and works because its tiny particles break down the exoskeleton of insects, leaving them unable to retain the moisture necessary to survive. Sprinkle the product over carpets and furniture, and brush it into the material with a broom. Then follow up with a thorough vacuuming. Be aware that due to this product’s powdery consistency, it does make the room quite cloudy through this process.
D-earth is also great for any insect with an exoskeleton, and can be put in walls, and around the perimeter of a home, as well as throughout yards and lawns to combat pests.
5. Bathe Pets Twice Monthly
It is not necessary to use harsh pesticidal soaps when bathing your pet. Regular soap is very effective in killing adult fleas, and a thorough scrubbing works well in dislodging many eggs and larvae. Just work the soap into a thick lather and leave on your pet for seven to ten minutes. Follow up with a flea combing to remove any adults and eggs that stayed lodged on your pet.
6. Use Alternative Herbal Drops Monthly
There are concentrated herbal drops that can be used as an alternative to the commonly used chemical flea drops. These drops are concentrated herbal oils and extracts that are safe for your pet, and works as a deterrent for fleas. I really enjoy these because they have a nice smell, though your pet may be a little overwhelming for the first day. I advise applying down the ridge of the spine after giving your pet a bath, on dry fur, as these products are not waterproof.
While I admit that the above steps can seem like a lot to keep up on, once the initial infestation has been eradicated it is not as necessary to keep such an intense regime, and it becomes a much more manageable solution.