Fleas are a literal pain in the eyes because of their size. Something you have to strain your eyes to see is a nightmare for all pet owners. However, the ones on your pet only represent a negligible percentage of the entire flea population in your house. To help you get rid of this pesky insect for good, we bring you the ultimate guide on how to get rid of fleas.
Fleas lay their eggs and hide their larvae in places that are hardest to clean. You will find their eggs hidden deep in carpet fibers, in your pet’s bed or even in furniture. If there are flea eggs in your home, your pet will inevitably get them in their hair.
Lucky for you, there are multiple treatment options from home remedies to professional treatments that you can use to get rid of fleas from both inside your house and your yard. But before we begin, let’s get to know the insect first.
What is a flea?
Fleas are minuscule wingless parasites that suck blood from their victims. They commute from one place to another by jumping and are capable of making some high jumps. Vertically, they can jump up to 18 cm and horizontally, they are capable of making 33 cm jumps.
Fleas not only feed on animals but also on humans. However, because the human body has a less dense coating of fur, these parasites usually attach themselves to pets.
Female fleas feed on blood and leave waste excretions on the body for the larvae to feed on. If you see the coat of your pet covered in brown bits and pieces, you may be looking at the baby flea’s food source. It’s very easy to get infected with these parasites as they are everywhere, and they are incredibly tiny. They also reproduce very quickly if not treated right away.
Do not make the mistake of letting them be and take the necessary steps to eliminate these fleas from your home. Here are a few home remedies that you can use to get rid of fleas naturally.
We all know rosemary as a herb that’s frequently used as a food condiment. However, the plant also has numerous health benefits. It is a natural antiseptic, and its strong scent acts as an organic flea repellant. Here are two DIY home remedies that involve the use of Rosemary that you can use for flea treatment and prevention.
Rosemary Flea Powder
Grind some rosemary, rue, wormwood, fennel, and peppermint into a powder using either an electric grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle the powder over carpets, furniture, window sills and especially on your pet’s bedding. The combination of the herbs can be used effectively as a treatment as well as a preventive measure as it repels these insects.
Rosemary Tea Bath
If you’re looking for an organic remedy to help you rid your pet of fleas, then rosemary tea is the one for you. Simply bathing your pet in rosemary tea can deal with even the worst kind of infestations.
To prepare the tea, boil a few fresh sprigs of rosemary in water. Once it comes to a boil, let it simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then, strain the leaves and let the tea rest overnight. Wash your pet with the tea and don’t rinse it off. You will witness miraculous results.
Dish Soap Trap
For the dish soap trap to work effectively, you must use it at night as that is when fleas are most active. To prepare this mixture, you need to mix dish soap in a bowl of water and place it in the room where you witness the most flea activity.
Fleas are known to jump when they need to commute from one place to another. The dish soap acts as a glue trap for these insects. Once they jump in, they won’t be able to get out. For improved results, you should change the mixture every night.
If you aren’t able to locate the fleas in your home, utilizing a powerful industrial vacuum can solve your flea problems. If the machine has enough power, it can suck up both the fleas and their eggs from the depths of your carpets, bedding, and furniture.
To increase the effectiveness of the vacuum, you can couple vacuuming with multiple products.
Sprinkle it all over the carpet and furniture. Then, using a hard brush, thoroughly massage it into the fabric. Then vacuum up the entire place and empty the contents of the machine soon after. Seal the emptied contents in a tightly sealed bag and throw it in the trash can outside your house.
Salt, like baking soda, is a very effective flea treatment when accompanied by vacuuming. It acts as a dehydrating agent for fleas. However, it only targets adult fleas, making it less useful than baking soda and not a permanent solution because fleas reproduce faster than they grow.
Also, when treating with salt, after sprinkling it, you need to leave it to rest for a day or two for it to make a difference. Unlike baking soda, this is not an instant solution. For the salt to dehydrate the insects, it needs to be in contact with their bodies for some time before you can vacuum up the dead bodies.
Diatomaceous earth works like salt and kills fleas by dehydrating them. It is a fine powder made from the microscopic remains of fossilized algae. When an insect comes in contact with the powder, it damages their exoskeletons, which, in turn, dehydrates them.
Sprinkle a thin layer of the powder over areas where there is suspected flea activity and let it rest for a couple of days. Follow it up with thorough vacuuming, and you will have effectively gotten rid of the fleas in your home.
Although diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans, you should use the food-grade versions to ensure that it’s safe to use.
Heat and soap is a flea’s worst enemy. You can use a steam cleaner all over your furniture or specifically on areas where you observe the highest flea traffic. Heat and detergent combined turn into poison for these insects. Do note that it is not safe for use on infected flea animals or for your yard. We will provide solutions for both later on.
Natural Flea Sprays
After vacuuming, we suggest you follow up on the treatment with some natural flea sprays as an added precautionary measure.
Citrus sprays are another excellent natural home remedy for treating fleas, mainly when utilized after vacuuming. To prepare this remedy, cut a lemon into thin slices and boil it in a pint of water. Let the solution rest overnight before you strain it into a spray bottle.
Lightly spritz all your furniture, carpets and particularly your pet’s bed with the spray. It not only leaves your house smelling clean and fresh but also kills and repels fleas.
Besides lemon, there are a few other ingredients readily available at home that you can use to create a flea treatment spray. In a large container or spray bottle, combine:
- Vinegar – 2 liters
- Lemon juice – 500 ml
- Witch hazel – 250 ml
- Water – 2 liters
Mix all the ingredients well and use this mixture the same way as you would the citrus spray. Both these organic sprays are safe for use on and around pets, children, and humans.
Flea Repelling Plants
As a final home remedy, we suggest using some specific house plants. Some plants produce certain oils, chemicals, and compounds that fleas hate. You can place these plants inside and around your house to keep insects away. The plants that keep these parasites away include:
- Penny Royal
Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers so you can even plant them in bushes around your house. They will not only keep the fleas away but also add beauty to the garden.
Flea repelling plants are not the only way to keep these insects away. You need to remove possible inhabitation places from your yard. Remove anything that could invite them to make a home in your garden.
How to Get Rid of Fleas from the Yard
Flea bites are harmful to both pets and humans. As such, a flea-infested yard can be a nightmare for all pet owners. To remove these insects from your yard, you can follow these simple steps.
Trim the Branches and Mow your Lawn
Fleas love cool, shady, and moist places. You will most probably find them in and under overgrown bushes, grass, and trees. Simply trimming excess shrubbery can save you a lot of money that you may otherwise end up spending on extensive chemical treatments later on.
Regular trimming allows for increased sunlight. Fleas quickly die when exposed to excessive light. If you can ensure that there are no extensive shady areas in your yard, you can maintain a flea proof garden.
Remove all Debris
As soon as you’re done trimming and mowing, pick up all excess foliage. Leftover bits and pieces from your grooming session can also shelter these insects. Removing all excessive material like pebbles and random twigs is an excellent start to the flea extermination process.
Cedar chips are another natural flea repellant. Their scent repulses these insects. Spreading them all over your garden is a sure shot way to get rid of fleas. For more targeted treatments, sprinkle them in all shady corners of the garden and where your pet usually lies down.
Cedar chips are an easy and long-lasting solution. You can mow over them, and they will turn into fine powder yet still work the same.
Since cedar chips are a proven flea repellant, you can even incorporate them in your yard decoratively. Even though they’re used as a decoration, they will still serve their purpose. As a plus, they will have a permanent place in your yard, and you won’t have to fret about refreshing them regularly.
Cut Off Food Source
Flea larvae feed on the feces of adult fleas. If you frequently water your yard, washing away the waste excretions, you remove their food source. Without any means of sustenance, the larvae die, leaving your garden clean and safe for your pets.
However, fleas thrive in moist places, so do not overwater your yard. Make sure you give the plants at least a day’s rest before you water them again. A pro tip is to touch the soil under the shrubs and bushes. If it feels wet to the touch, then do not water your yard.
Create a Boundary
Other pets and stray animals can enter your yard if tempted by open trash cans or bird feeders. Removing these temptations as well as access points can prevent them from bringing these insects to your yard.
- Keep trash cans adequately sealed
- Fence your yard
- Remove bird feeders
- Don’t leave pet food outside
By following the above-mentioned preventive measures, you can avoid a flea infestation and save you and pet and you a lot of misery.
There are two types of chemical treatments:
- For your yard
- For your home
Chemical treatments for the yard include the use of potent insecticides. Using insecticides inside the house is not a smart choice as prolonged exposure to the fumes from pesticides can harm the inhabitants of the home. The intelligent choice is to use aerosol sprays inside the house as they allow for better targeting of these insects. Let’s take a look at some of these flea-killing products.
Insecticides for the yard
Any insecticidal spray containing pyrethrin will prove deadly for adult fleas. Here are a few suggestions for insecticidal sprays that will keep your house flea-free for a long time.
MARTIN’S I.G. Regulator
The Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) treatment is safe for both indoor and outdoor use. It is concentrated and needs to be dissolved in water before use. The insecticide has proven effective for long term treatments of cockroaches, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, gnats, crickets, litter beetles, as well as ants.
You can use this spray on furniture, kennels, carpets, and even poultry houses. The formula is safe for use around humans and animals. An added plus is that this treatment is cost-effective. One bottle can treat over 6000 square feet and the treatments last up to seven months.
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Yard and Kennel Spray
This ready-to-use insecticide comes with a hose attachment, making it easy to spray all over the yard and into kennels. It is 100% certified natural and is safe to use around pets and humans. It covers up to 5000 square feet and provides ideal coverage from active mosquito, flea, and tick infestations.
Because the product is natural, it is not known to cause any harm to plants, which is an essential feature, as insecticides are known to be harmful to nature.
Insecticides for Your Home
There are multiple sprays available in the market that provide coverage excellent protection from these insects. Many of them are ideal for targeted treatments, provided you know where to find fleas. As already established, these insects like to reside in cool and shady places. They are likely to build nests under furniture and within carpet fibers. They are hard to locate as they are sneaky little creatures. Only using one of the following sprays can help you get rid of fleas from your home.
Raid Flea Killer Plus
This carpet and room spray comes with an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). It not only targets the adults but also their eggs, preventing them from growing into adults. This aerosol spray has a wide spraying angle, which allows you to reach even the smallest of nooks and crannies.
Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus Premise Spray
Unlike raid which is suitable only for indoor use, the Precor is can also be used on window sills and door frames. It contains 0.085% methoprene as IGR, which is more than what raid has made it even more useful. It targets not only fleas but also ticks, ants and cockroaches. Once you have eliminated the insects using this spray can protect you against insect infestation for around 7 months.
The Precor is also suitable for outdoor use and use in garages and kennels. The spray is powerful, so we suggest that you evacuate the house before you use this spray.
How to Remove Fleas from your Pet
If your pet falls victim to a flea infestation, it can be very painful for them. They can potentially hurt themselves by excessively scratching their fur, which could cause injuries. If you notice signs of flea infestation while brushing their hair or bathing them, then you need to immediately take action to prevent the matter from getting out of hand.
Flea Killing Drops
A few established brands, such as K9 Advantix 2 or Frontline Plus, are the go-to choice for many pet owners. Even though they aren’t the only options, they are handy and can also be used as a preventive measure.
To use the serum or drops, part the hair on the back of your pet till you see the spine and pour a few drops of the serum on the exposed skin. Gently massage it into their whole body and let it rest. The serum is known to keep away ticks and fleas for over 30 days. Repeating the process once every month is a sure shot way to ensure that your pup remains flea-free.
Flea collars are less invasive than serums and drops. They do not require a very hands-on approach and are also a popular treatment and preventive measure. Both the collars and serums have the same active ingredient, a flea poison, but collars release the toxin in small bursts over time instead of releasing it all at once.
Collars are known to effectively protect against fleas for a few months at the very least. The fact that they are long-lasting adds to their demand as compared to serums.
Flea Killing Pills
If you’ve recently noticed a flea outbreak on your pet, then these pills can also prove useful. Once in your pet’s bloodstream, they act as a poison to the insects, killing them with every bite they take. The tablets are an excellent treatment if the infestation is new, and the fleas have not had a chance to lay eggs.
It is important to note that you cannot use these pills as a preventive measure. They are only effective against a pest infestation and work best alone. Coupling them with other flea treatments can prove damaging to your pets, so do take care.
You have to bathe your pet anyway so you can even use flea shampoos as once a month as a preventive measure. They work similarly to rosemary tea. Apply the recommended amount of shampoo on your dog and thoroughly massage it into their fur. You will notice dead fleas floating in the water as you rinse the shampoo off. Make sure you get through your pet’s entire coat by going over it with a fine-toothed brush or comb.
Shampoos are particularly useful as they not only get rid of adults but also destroy babies and eggs, preventing fleas from establishing colonies. Take extra care when choosing a shampoo because some products contain harsh chemicals that can harm the fur of your pet.
Nematodes: The Ultimate Solution
Towards the end, we have a bizarre-sounding solution. Use nematodes to remove fleas from your home, your yard, and your pet. They are microscopic roundworms that hunt and feed on these insects.
Nematodes are not harmful to humans or pets – only fleas, and they will hunt these fleas to extinction. Sprinkling them into your garden can not only get rid of fleas but also prevent them from ever coming back. In your house, they will crawl over surfaces out of your sight and hunt fleas till they become extinct. Eventually, when they run of food sources, nematodes die and biodegrade, vanishing into thin air.
Still, if the problem persists, you can call for professional help to remove these parasites from your home. Mostly fleas enter the house with or on your pet. With a little bit of attention, you can spot whether your pet is carrying these parasites or not. If they are excessively scratching themselves or are particularly agitated, straight away check for fleas. You can also use preventive measures like serums and flea shampoos to ensure a flea-free home.
Why should you get rid of fleas?
Apart from being irritating, fleas can be harmful, as in some rare cases, they’re known to be carriers of deadly illnesses. There are multiple flea-borne diseases that one can catch if you do not treat them on time. Flea diseases and risks include:
- Bubonic Plague – This is an infection of the lymphatic system. It is also known as the Black Death, and even though it is thought to be extinct, there are sporadic cases of people getting this disease thanks to fleas.
- Murine Typhus – If you get bitten by a flea that has previously bitten an infected rat, you will get infected. Common symptoms of this disease include fever, chills, vomiting, nausea, and body aches.
- Tungiasis – Also transferred via flea bites, it can cause skin inflammation, severe pain, and itching.
- Tularemia – Also known as the rabbit fever, this disease can cause skin ulcers and enlargening of the lymph nodes.
While these are not common, they are harmful. Plus, fleas are parasites, and their bites can be pretty painful. Overall, their presence is something you don’t want in your house, so it’s best to get rid of them.
How to get rid of fleas on dogs?
You can use multiple treatment methods to get rid of fleas from your dogs. They include:
- Drops and Serums
In some instances, you can also take your pet to the vet for professional extermination.
Are fleas dangerous?
Fleas are pests and can be quite irritating. In some cases, they can even be dangerous if they’re carriers of some flea-borne diseases. They are not hygienic to have around, and whether they are harmful or not, it is good to get rid of them.
How to get rid of fleas in bed?
Vigorously vacuuming your bed is a good start, as it helps get rid of almost all fleas. You can combine cleaning with baking soda, salt, or diatomaceous earth for improved results. After that, use either a homemade spray like the citrus spray or the vinegar spray or use an Insect Growth Regulator spray to stop the eggs from developing into adults.
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