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How to get rid of an indoor flea infestation
Cheap and easy ways to control household fleas
This is a detailed article on different ways to control in home flea populations if you are a cat or dog owner like myself. I recently came into a new found flea infestation after a three week vacation from home. Our pets went on vacation with us and when we came home we found ourselves immediately attacked by a massive swarm of fleas.
Due to the great time we had on vacation we were low on funds when we returned so calling in the professionals was out of the question. After some research and testing we found cheap and almost free ways to rid us of these menacing monsters.
Let's start from the basics.
What are fleas?
Fleas are extremely resilient wingless insects that are parasites and feed off of the blood of humans, cats, and dogs. They also feed on many other animals but we are focusing on household fleas which mainly effect us and our pets. There are over 2000 known species of fleas across the world. They grow to about three millimeters long with specialized hind legs made for jumping. Fleas can jump over six inches high and more then a foot in length. Fleas have an extremely tough body and under normal circumstances are nearly uncrushable.
Female fleas are said to lay about fifty eggs per day. The eggs can hatch in two days and fledgling fleas can grow to maturity in two weeks depending on the temperature, humidity, and food supply. With that being said and indoor temperatures usually staying around room temperature it is easy for an uncontrolled flea population to get out of hand. It is estimated that one female flea can spawn nearly one trillion fledgling fleas in her lifetime.
Flea pupils survive in cocoons during the winter months. Heavy snow and moist springs causes them to thrive and leads to exploding populations in the summer. Adult fleas can live for up to a year without feeding on a host and must feed before laying eggs.
What harmful effect can a flea bite have?
Some people are allergic to flea bites and will suffer from irritations and unsightly rashes. Fleas can also transmit diseases like murine typhus fever and my also pass stomach flu. In some cases fleas have been known to pass severe infestations of tapeworms to humans. People can also suffer related rashes and sores due to scratching. Fleas are also known to spread various other bacteria and viral ailments, however they are NOT known to spread HIV or AIDS.
Removing the Pest
How Do I Eliminate Fleas in the Home?
Eliminating flea population in the home is a tedious task. Do not go into it half heartily. You must have a military mindset and the war is not over until no fleas remain. One female flea can repopulate the entire lot in less then six months.
There are two primary steps to take when trying to rid yourself of a flea infestation. The first step is kill the adult fleas and the second is to prevent newborns from being hatched. Most pesticides can be used to kill adult fleas but they generally have no effect on pupil larvae. In conjunction with pesticides you must use a growth regulator which halts the reproductive system of the fleas. Without using a growth regulator eradicating a flea population is nearly impossible.
You must attack fleas in all areas of the home and pay special attention to areas where you pets like to frequent. Vacuuming and carpet cleaning also play a big part in flea control. When attempting to get rid of the pests vacuum thoroughly and often as fleas like to hide inside your carpet. Most people believe that fleas live on their pets. This is false. Most fleas spend less then 10% of the time actually on your pets. Most household fleas are in random paces throughout the house not just on your pets.
Pest Control - Guaranteed Flea Control Products
Here are some pest control products that will aid you in trying to eliminate your flea infestation.
Home Flea Remedies
Getting Rid of Fleas Using Items You Have at Home
After looking around and trying to find natural non-invasive treatments for fleas I discovered fleas don't do well in soapy water. Using one of the techniques described in several articles I placed white bowls with soapy water under night lights throughout the house. By the next morning each bowl was filled with drowned fleas. This technique is guaranteed to work with no effort on your part in helping to reduce your household flea population. After I noticed how well the bowls with soapy water was working, I then did a few personal experiments with soapy water.
I purchased a bottle of Dawn dish liquid and a spray bottle with a misting effect on the nozzle. I filled it half and half with water and dish liquid and shook it up. I wanted to test it on fleas to see the effects so I put on long white knee socks and walked through the house. Fleas are highly attracted to white materials. Soon my socks were nearly covered with fleas. I walked outside thinking that even if nothing did happen there would at least be less fleas inside the house. When I sprayed the fleas with the 50/50 dish liquid I instantly noticed the fleas dying on contact. This seemed to be working even better then traditional bug sprays.
I also started washing the dogs with dish liquid since it was much cheaper then "dog shampoo" and it seemed to be just as effective if not more and had absolutely no adverse effects on the dogs. Now I use dish liquid exclusively when bathing my dogs. I then used the spray bottles on upholstery, the carpet, and everywhere my dogs liked to frequent along with vacuuming and carpet cleanings.
After about two or three weeks of this the fleas were nearly non-existent. I was still not satisfied that they were completely eliminated so I purchased Raid insect foggers and placed them throughout the house. I wanted to be sure they were gone so I probably used twice as many as necessary. ~War Mentality~
After I bombed the house then I purchased an industrial flea growth regulator and sprayed it in all areas of the house that the foggers appeared not to reach. These areas included under couches, chairs, tables, and appliances. I also bought food grade diatomaceous earth which is pet safe and you can find at your local Home Depot and spread it liberally on the carpet and outside in the front and back yard.
Diatomaceous earth is an abrasive which is very fine to the touch and highly deadly to fleas and other insects. Food grade diatomaceous earth is human and pet safe. If you are using it indoors be sure what type you are using to ensure your pets will not be harmed.
If anyone has any other effective home remedies please leave them in the comments to help other who may be facing the same problem.
Amazon Pet Supplies - These may be helpful in flea control
Please leave a comment and let me know how you won your battle against household fleas.