Eradicating Fleas from Your Home

 

 

Active flea season depends on where you live; some places have to contend with them year round while others get to take a break during the cold winter months. Fleas can survive in a dormant state under the right conditions, such as in cold weather. Just because fleas aren’t actively bothering you or your dog during the winter, be aware they may still be present, waiting for the right opportunity. A single flea has the ability to bite your dog or cat more than 400 times in a single day, consuming more than its body weight of your pet’s blood. A female flea can lay hundreds of eggs on your unsuspecting pet, making him the unwitting host of many future flea generations.

The first step to eradicating fleas from your home is to treat the source of the problem. Most flea infestations stem from pets. Your cat or dog might have caught fleas while running around the yard, or from other animals during boarding or a play date.  Further, a common indication that your pet has caught fleas is witnessing them repeatedly scratching and grooming themselves. This is caused by the discomfort of the flea activity as the adult fleas feed on your pet’s blood. Be sure to treat your pet first, it makes no sense to treat the entire house if your pet is going to keep bringing fleas in.

Since the neck and tail of your pet are a flea’s favorite areas, try using a flea comb. In addition, drop any fleas you comb off into hot soapy water to kill them. Your veterinarian can provide a safe flea control treatment for your pet and your climate area.  Oral and topical applications start protecting your pet before the flea population begins to increase during the warmer months of “flea season.” Learning how to get rid of fleas ultimately means embracing prevention.

To prepare your home for cleaning be sure to pick up all of the stray items from all carpeted areas of your home. This includes clothes, toys, shoes, boxes, and papers. You want your vacuum to have access to all carpet and flooring throughout the home. Be sure to remove items inside of closets and under the beds as well. To protect other pets try to remove them from the home such as fish or birds. Be sure to cover aquarium tanks and bird cages, as well as any water dishes or food bowls. Turn off any systems that support the pet’s environment, such as aerators in fish tanks or heat rocks in reptile tanks. Ideally, you should do this when the entire family is also out of the house.

Before you move in for the kill, take a walk through every room looking for signs of fleas and their larvae. Fleas in a carpet can look like tiny dark specks which disappear just as quickly as they appeared. Fleas usually congregate in places where your pets sleep the most. Be sure to monitor your pet’s bedding for flea dirt, the adult flea feces, also can indicate activity. Flea dirt looks similar to coarse ground black pepper and may be seen in pet beds, carpets, rugs and other areas where the animal host rests. These specific breeding grounds need extra attention. Carpets and rugs are usually popular flea locations. Female fleas prefer to lay their eggs on the surface hair of the host. Shortly after, the eggs drop from the host and if those eggs drop on carpets, bedding or furniture, they become a flea infestation source.  Spray carpets and upholstery in the home. Fleas love dark places, so spray under furniture and in crevices. In Addition, some foggers are effective up to seven months, long enough to kill all the life stages of a flea in most cases. You may need to use two to three foggers depending on the size of your home. Also, it is important to invest in a reliable vacuum. A good vacuum cleaner is very effective at removing flea larvae, pupae, eggs, adults and flea feces. Carefully vacuum under beds and any other furniture that you weren’t able to move. Also, use corner attachments for baseboards, heat vents, floor cracks, carpet edges and room corners. Focusing on the elimination of just the adult fleas is not affective. You will shortly have a new generation of vampires to address. Vacuuming also helps to get rid of the dried blood and feces, resulting in the removal of the food sources of developing fleas. Further, vacuuming stimulates fleas to leave their cocoon prematurely. Since the cocoon is resistant to insecticides, this is an important step for thoroughly killing fleas. Also, as you vacuum, the nap of the carpet raises up. This makes it easier for insecticides to get deep down into the fibers where stubborn, developing fleas take refuge. After you complete vacuuming the carpets, continue vacuuming any hardwood floors, linoleum and tiles throughout your home. Then, vacuum furniture, upholstery, cabinets, cushions, pillows and even your bed. It is recommended that you seal the vacuum bag tightly and remove it from the home to prevent the fleas from spreading any further. It is important to repeat this thorough vacuuming every other day until the flea infestation is gone.

To rid your home of fleas it is recommended to call a pest control professional. Positive Pest Control can provide a safe, timely and effective multifaceted treatment plan for your home; addressing both chemical and physical methods.