Fleas are a nuisance; they are harmful to pets as well as their owners. They cause scratching, anemia and harmful parasitic infections in cats and dogs and huge distress to their humans. Fleas also tend to be difficult to pinpoint and a single flea lays hundreds of eggs in her lifecycle. This makes it even more difficult to get rid of an infestation. Flea control requires an integrated pest management approach which means that you cannot rely on a single product or method for control. While you can always go for professional pest control treatment for eliminating fleas; they can be expensive. So today we will be discussing important tips and tricks you can use at home to control fleas and prevent infestations.
Tips and tricks to eliminate fleas forever
1. Vacuum the house thoroughly
Thoroughly vacuum each room in the house. Make sure you reach behind furniture as well. Also vacuum upholstered furniture. Seal the vacuum bags and discard them outdoors. This is an important tip to remove the source of new fleas.
2. Use Diatomaceous Earth or Borax
Buy food grade Diatomaceous Earth powder or Borax detergent such as Borax Booster from Wal-Mart or other home depot stores. Liberally dust the powder of your choice all over the carpets. Do not forget to apply under the beds and furniture. You can use a brush or a broom to sweep the powder everywhere. Do not vacuum these areas. Let the powder remain on the surface for 3-4 days. Avoid sleeping in the treated rooms as the dust can be harmful to human lungs. Also relocate pets to a safe area during the course of treatment.
3. Vacuum again
On the next day, vacuum the house as you normally do. The Borax/DE powder acts as a dehydrator and dries up tissues and organs of fleas. It also contaminates the food sources left by adult fleas for the larvae. This prevents them from feeding and progressing through the life cycle stages.
4. Use a flea shampoo for bathing your pets
Start by bathing all your pets with a vet approved flea shampoo. Wet the coat and thoroughly apply the shampoo working up a lather. Let the shampoo remain on the pet’s coat for at least 10 minutes. This is necessary to kill eggs and larvae on the pet. After bathing your pet, dry its coat completely. You may need to bathe it twice a week until the infestation is under control.
5. Use spot treatment
Flea spot treatment or drops are an effective way of flea control. Your vet will suggest the right one based on your pet’s age and weight. Apply the spot treatment medicine in between the pet’s shoulder blades. These medicines remain effective even after bathing the pet or if it swims or gets wet in the rain. However, you need to reapply most products every 4 weeks. Most vet approved flea products contain medicines like Fipronil or permethrin which are considered safe for pets.
6. Groom your pet frequently
Combing your long-haired pet is an important part of flea control. Use flea combs with fine teeth which can capture fleas, ticks and other parasites. As stated above, bathe the pet every few weeks to prevent fleas.
7. Clean the pet’s environment frequently
You need to clean and vacuum regularly to prevent flea infestations. Flea eggs can remain dormant in the pet’s environment for a long time. So make sure you seal or cracks and crevices and vacuum the house every couple of days. Also wash all pet bedding and linen to eliminate eggs.
8. Mow the grass
Fleas tend to hide in grass so, if your pet spends time outdoors, you need to trim it short. This is necessary to prevent flea harborage. If possible spray some Nematode solution on the grass and plants. This is a biologically safe method of eliminating fleas in yards.
Declutter the lawn and patio as well as your indoor area. Piles of wood chips, toys, old junk items etc are a surefire way of inviting pests like raccoons etc under your patio desks. Many of these animals carry fleas, ticks and other blood sucking parasites on them. So remove the clutter in order to prevent flea infestations.
10. Set a flea trap
Indoors, you can set a trap to capture fleas. A dish of soapy water near your sleeping areas is all you need to catch the buggers. Place a warm light bulb in the room as fleas are attracted to warmth. This trap is only effective for adult fleas but it is a great way of preventing larger infestations. Note that this method won’t work for trapping fleas already present on the pets. You can also buy commercially available plug-in flea traps which are also very effective.
FAQ about flea products
Flea products such as Frontline are readily available online or you can get them at your vet’s. These medicines are effective in killing ticks and fleas within 24-48 hours. Here are some common questions which pet owners have about flea products:
- Does the flea have to bite my pet in order for the medicine to work?
The answer is no. Fleas are affected the moment they come in contact with the pet’s hair coat.
- I am seeing even more fleas all of a sudden! Is the product not working?
Many flea medications like Frontline make fleas hyperactive. As a result, they come up to the top coat which leads us to believe that they have increased in numbers.
- Why am I still seeing fleas despite using the medicine?
Those are the newly hatched fleas. You need to keep treating the pets on a monthly basis to break the indoor flea cycle. Continue vacuuming the place to eliminate eggs.
- Can I use flea medicine along with other flea products?
Many pet owners use flea or tick collars along with shampoos, powders, sprays or spot treatment. However, it is sensible to let one product work its magic instead of using several products at once. Always read the instructions on the package or ask your vet about combining different flea products.
Fleas are difficult to eliminate because many pet owners do not use all-year round flea protection. Continue using vet approved flea products all through the year, even in cooler months when fleas lay dormant. This will ensure a flea-free home all year round.
Got fleas? Find out which products work in 2019, with my updated flea control product comparison chart.