Taking a walk in the park with your pet and enjoying some fresh air can be rewarding, but quite often a side effect of spending time outdoors for an extended period of time is that you or your pet (or both of you) may be bringing home fleas. If you don’t quickly clean up and wash your clothes once you are home, those fleas that have hitched a ride on your pet or your clothes may have migrated around your home, and that’s when the real problems begin. So how to get rid of fleas?
If you do happen to find fleas on your pet or come down with itchy bites due to fleas, it’s quite likely that you are dealing with a sizable infestation. This is because the active adult fleas actually make up a very small percentage of the total flea population in your home. Over 90 percent may be in earlier stages of development (eggs, larva, pupae).
Flea eggs and flea larvae are often nestled deep in the fibers of your carpet, furniture or your pet’s sleeping area, waiting to reach adulthood so they can multiply and create an even bigger problem. A flea infestation in the home means more than just itchy, annoying bites on you and your pet–they are a health hazard that needs to be taken seriously.
Early detection and swift action afterwards is key to protecting you and your family from the threat of fleas and the parasitic diseases they carry around. By arming yourself with knowledge and the tips in this article, you can put a stop to a flea infestation before it gets out of control.
A Little About Fleas
Fleas are a parasitic insect that is very tiny, reaching up to 2.5mm long. There are over 2,500 different species of fleas in the world and they survive off a variety of different hosts. When viewed up close (preferably under a microscope) you’ll see that they have reddish brown colored bodies with a shiny coating.
The body of a flea is covered with tiny hairs which help them to maneuver easily through the fur of an animal host. While fleas are wingless, they have astounding jumping abilities which help them to land onto a host when the opportunity presents itself.
The main food source of an adult flea is blood. A hungry adult flea will bite into their host and feed off the blood until they get their fill which serves as fuel for them to breed a new generation of bloodsucking parasites!
Detecting Fleas in The Home
When you have a flea infestation in your home, there is no place which will be immune to their presence. The larvae and flea eggs are often placed deep inside the carpets fibers and even in the furniture.
Aside from the main areas mentioned, fleas also like to hide in places where there is less foot traffic and sunlight. When you don’t see fleas themselves, the best indicator of fleas being present is spotting what is known as flea dirt. Flea dirt is feces and dried blood, which looks like small specs of black paper. These can be spotted easily on light colored rugs, near your pet’s bedding, or even on your pet itself.
Treat Your Pet
Most often the gateway to fleas infesting a home is through your pet. So treating your pet should be the first step in tackling a flea infestation. Something you can do is use a fine toothed flea comb. These flea combs trap the fleas in the teeth, allowing you to kill them easily. Focus your combing around the collar, behind the ears and tail as these are prime spots where fleas hang around.
Mix soap and hot water in a bowl and keep it beside you during the process, combing through your pet and dipping the captured fleas into the bowl. The hot soapy water will kill the fleas. You could also use tweezer to pull stubborn fleas off of your pet or just give your pet a bath in some specialized flea shampoo or dip solution.
Using a pet shampoo for fleas or a pet spray for fleas is beneficial, it is something as a pet owner you should always have on hand. Harris has developed a green, natural flea and tick spray for your pets, Harris Natural Flea and Tick Spray. Great smell and easy to apply and very effective in killing fleas and ticks on your pets.
Clean the House
Getting rid of fleas off of your pet may give your pet relief, but it isn’t the end of your flea troubles. Another aspect of flea control is lessening clutter in your home. The more clutter there is in your home, the more hiding places fleas have to work with. Clear the infested areas of any items that you don’t need and toss them or keep them outside until you do some serious sanitation.
Removing items off the floor area, shoes, baskets, etc will make it easy to vacuum the areas that fleas and their eggs will be located.
Change the positions of heavy furniture so that you can have access to all four corners. Things that haven’t been infested should be placed into bags and stowed away in cabinets during the cleaning process.
Clean and mop the floors of your home and make sure to wash out bed sheets, clothing and fabrics you suspect are infested. Most of all clean and wash the areas wear your pet sleeps.
If you have a flea infestation inside the home then you will want to use a flea spray aerosol to apply to the floors, rugs, carpets and even drapes. Make sure to allow the area to completely dry before you reenter. As a pet owner, having Harris Flea Solutions on hand can help you make sure you can eliminate and reduce a flea population quickly and effectively. Our products are available locally in hardware stores and you can search with our store locator, under products.
Vacuum Your Home
Vacuuming is one of the most effective, non-chemical ways to create a substantial dent to the indoor flea population. As we mentioned before, the majority of a home flea infestation consist of flea eggs which are most likely lying deep inside the carpet. A powerful vacuum can dislodge those eggs from those tight spaces and suck them right up.
Vacuuming also affects flea larvae and pupae. Flea larvae mainly survives on flea blood and feces. By vacuuming your taking their primary food source away. Flea pupae, which are hiding out inside of cocoons, are immune to flea killer sprays because of the protective shell they are in. Vacuuming creates a disturbance and speeds up the process by which they will exit from the pupation state, allowing them to be sucked up and eliminated.
Aside from paying much of your attention to the carpet, use a vacuum that also has attachments that you can apply on furniture, sofa cushions and can penetrate little crevices of your bed frame, mattresses and etc. Make sure that if you are using a canister vacuum, you clean it out with hot water to kill the fleas inside. If you’re using a bag vacuum, toss the bag out immediately as flea eggs will hatch in the bag over time.
If you have the means and could afford to, go the extra mile and steam treat both your carpet and your furniture as steam and high temperatures will immediately kill fleas and provide an extra layer of control.
Last but not least, no indoor control flea program can be successful without the use of some professional quality flea killing sprays and products. A flea killing aerosol spray works greatly to kill both adult fleas and hinder the development of flea eggs and larvae. Apply the flea killing spray on the floors and in every crack and crevice. Some are even safe to spray onto your couch and furniture. Once the spray has dried, you can vacuum up the remains of the fleas and the remnants of the spray.
Other great products we suggest using are flea killing sprays which are safe to spray directly on dogs and cats to kill fleas and powders which can be sprinkled on carpets to kill any lingering fleas.
If you’re still on the fence when it comes to getting rid of fleas in your home, the tips provided above should convince to give DIY flea control a try as it could save you a lot of headache and money in the long run.