If you have pets, chances are you also have fleas in the house. If not, consider yourself lucky because these annoying little insects tend to stay when they first move in. This is why you should protect your home against fleas by preventing them from entering in the first place.
Fleas don’t transmit diseases very often, so they aren’t really that dangerous to your family and your pets, but fleas in the house can make life a living hell. There is no question in my mind that flea bites on humans and pets are some of the most frustrating things to deal with. That’s why I made this website. To show you how to get rid of fleas and prevent them from ever coming back.
As a bonus, you will also learn how to protect your home against ticks. They can be quite dangerous to your family and your pets because of the diseases they carry, but luckily many flea treatment products also work against ticks.
How to spot flea bites and fleas in the house
Flea bites don’t necessarily hurt, but they can itch, which is uncomfortable enough as it is. They look like small clusters of spots with a red area around them. Fleas usually bite several times in one area to see if they can find blood. Other insect bites typically leave swelling around the area, but this is not the case with flea bites, or at least not much, unless it’s caused by an allergic reaction. Some people and pets suffer from flea allergy and they react much worse to flea bites than others. Pay attention to your kids if they get bitten, which might happen a lot because they are closer to the floor and more susceptible to flea bites.
One thing you can be sure about, no matter how many flea bites you get, is that your pets are more affected by fleas in the house than you are. You can only do so much to protect your home against fleas and it’s almost impossible to be flea-free all the time. The best way to prevent a serious flea infestation is by spotting it fast. I always use a flea comb on my dog, especially during flea season, to catch the fleas before they are dragged into our home – and we haven’t had fleas in the house for many years now.
What to do if you find fleas in your home
So, you’ve found fleas in your home. Now what? Well, you’re going to want to take action immediately. Not only is a flea infestation annoying and off-putting, but it can also be dangerous to your pets. As I mentioned, fleas can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in your dog or cat, and may even transmit parasites such as tapeworm.
Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” for a flea infestation in your home. Because of the flea’s life cycle and habits, completely ridding your home of an infestation may take as long as a few weeks. The fastest way to deal with an infestation is, of course, to call a professional exterminator. They are not cheap, so let’s see if we can get rid of the problem ourselves first.
Dealing with the fleas
If you want to get rid of fleas in the house or yard, you need to know what you are dealing with. There are many different types of fleas, but they are usually two or three mm long and either brown or reddish. They feed on animals by sucking the blood out of them. In the early stages, before they become adult fleas, they feed on flea dirt or flea droppings from fully grown fleas. They can remain in their cocoons for a whole year and won’t wake up until they feel the vibrations as someone walks by. This means that a flea infestation can be on pause for a whole year in an empty house, and wake up when someone move in.
Most fleas in the house are pet fleas, but there are also human fleas that live on human blood. These are pretty rare; usually the fleas you see just bite and then jump right off. Human fleas are mostly seen in agriculture where they feed on pigs. If you get too close, they will jump onto you and start biting and feeding. You can feel them crawling all over your body and the flea bites will start itching. Pet fleas will mostly bite you on your hands and arms when you’re in contact with your pet, or on your feet and ankles. If you pick up a blanket which your pet rests on, the fleas will often also jump up and bite you. Places where your dog or cat sleeps are usually the ones with the most fleas and flea eggs.
How to get rid of fleas on your pets
A good majority of the time, flea infestations begin with your pet. As there’s no sense in killing the fleas in your home if Whiskers is just going to bring in more the next time she stops home for some kibble, you’ll want to address your pets first.
1. Bring out the flea comb
Combing your pet is the best way to remove any fleas it may be carrying. Use a flea comb and be sure to give some extra attention to the tail and neck of your pet. Any fleas recovered during this process should be discarded into hot, soapy water.
2. Discard or wash your pets bedding
Next, you’ll want to deal with your pet’s bed or bedding. In the case of extreme flea infestations, discarding these things is probably your best bet. Always make sure anything you discard is disposed of in a sealed bag or container, so as not to cause an infestation elsewhere.
At the very least, you’re going to want to make sure your pet’s bedding is thoroughly washed. If your infestation is relatively small and you choose to wash your pet’s bed instead of discarding it, you’re going to want to wash it once a week for at least a month. This way any remaining eggs, pupae, and/or larvae will be destroyed.
3. Use effective flea control products
Once you’re satisfied you’ve removed any and all fleas from your furry friends, make it a point to talk with your vet. If your pet is indeed the source of the infestation, chances are the flea control product you’re using is ineffective. Your veterinarian can help choose the protection best suited to your climate and the type of flea in question.
How to get rid of fleas in the house
The first step in preparing your home to be cleaned of fleas is getting everything you possibly can off of your carpets. Everything (within reason) must go. Every inch of carpet you’re able to vacuum will increase the likelihood of you being able to remove the infestation completely.
1. Vacuum all carpets
Next, you’re going to want to vacuum your carpets thoroughly. Before you do though, here are a few things to keep in mind. One, keep an eye out for what is known as flea dirt, which is dried blood and flea feces that resembles flakes of pepper. Vacuuming and removing flea dirt is absolutely essential to successful flea extermination. This is because flea dirt is the primary food source for flea larvae. Removing this food source will help to destroy future generations of fleas.
You’re going to want to give special attention to any areas of carpet or pieces of furniture where you see dog or cat hair. Fleas tend to favor the places where your pet sleeps. And don’t forget that nozzle attachment your vacuum came with, by the way. Fleas can easily hide in corners, cracks, and heating vents.
Aside from the obvious picking up of fleas, their eggs, larvae, and pupae, there are reasons that thoroughly vacuuming increases the chances of successful flea extermination. For one thing, the heat of the vacuum tricks fleas into leaving their cocoons early. This is essential to the process, as flea cocoons are insecticide resistant. Also, when you vacuum the nap of your carpet rises. This will allow for better penetration of the flea treatment product, which is the next step in the process after cleaning.
Pro tip: Steam clean the carpets
It should be noted that in the case of extreme infestations it may be desirable to steam clean your carpets before vacuuming. Even if this is the case, don’t neglect to vacuum thoroughly after steam cleaning in order to reap the additional benefits vacuuming can bring to bear.
2. Clean all non-carpeted floors, furniture etc.
Before starting flea treatment, there are a few more things you’re going to need to do. Once you’ve vacuumed all the carpets in your home, you’ll need to sweep and vacuum all non-carpeted floors too. You’ll also want to carefully vacuum your furniture and cushions, as well as your bed, bedding, and pillows.
3. Get rid of the vacuum bag (very important)
Once you’re satisfied that all the surfaces in your home have been cleaned and vacuumed (and vacuumed again), dispose of your vacuum bag in a sealed bag or sealed container.
4. Use insecticide
Next, you’ll want to use an appropriate insecticide like flea spray to kill any remaining fleas, larvae, pupae, or eggs. While insecticides are effective to a degree, many do not completely kill all flea pupae. Because of this, you will likely see a few fleas over the next week or so. Don’t panic, keep vacuuming regularly. As mentioned earlier, vacuuming coaxes fleas from their cocoons. Once free, they are susceptible to any residual insecticide.
5. Natural flea treatment
How to get rid of fleas in the yard
As with most home infestations, prevention is always the best way to avoid a repeat performance of your own personal flea circus. You’ve made sure that Fido and Mittens are flea-free and properly protected – now we’ll turn our attention to the yard.
1. Trim tree branches
We already know that fleas avoid sunlight. Pruning low-hanging tree branches may allow more sunlight into your yard, making it a less attractive place for fleas to congregate.
2. Mow the lawn often
Keeping your grass cut short will also help reduce the number of fleas in your yard, as short grass provides fewer shaded nooks and crannies where fleas can hide from the sun.
3. Treat the yard with pesticides
If you find there are still fleas in your yard, you should consider using an outdoor pesticide that specifically targets fleas. Be sure to read and follow all directions carefully before applying, as some insecticides may be harmful or even fatal if used improperly.
4. Take the natural approach
I can understand if you don’t want chemicals in your yard. Luckily, there is a safer, non-toxic method called beneficial nematodes.
Protect your home against fleas
When you have discovered a flea infestation in your home, you need to do anything you can to make their stay as unpleasant as possible. Start by figuring out how bad the situation is and then take appropriate measures to get rid of the fleas.
Vacuum everything daily, including floors, carpets, furniture and so on. You need to wash everything that has been in contact with your pets, like bedding, blankets and pillows. Also consider using a flea bomb if you have many fleas in the house and the situation feels out of control.
Dealing with a flea infestation in your home can be an involved, time consuming project. The fastest, surest way to deal with a flea infestation is always to call a licensed professional. If you follow the steps described above, though, there is a good chance you’ll be able to handle the problem on your own. Thanks for reading my guide, I wish you all the best in your fight against fleas.