I know I am not the only one who has battled fleas. This summer seems especially bad!! I have been researching the best ways to rid your home and pets with fleas and here’s some info I have found…
Getting Rid of Fleas on Your Pets
I hate using chemicals on my pets, but one that I use regularly is Advantage. It seems to do the trick pretty well in ridding my dogs of fleas. BUT I have also found it doesn’t work all of the time. If you are having an especially rough time call your vet and ask for a flea pill called Capstar or Comfortis. Within an hour of administering orally the fleas on your pet will start to die. Some may still hang onto your pet, so you will need to bathe them. Don’t worry about getting a flea medication, you can simply use Dawn Dishwashing Soap. The degreasing formula is what you want – the original blue soap. Use liberally on your dog and let it sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before rinsing.
You can also use homeopathic remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, lavender, or garlic. Add one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water and a few drops of lavender essential oil (use the REAL lavender, not synthetic!). Shake up in a spray bottle and spray your pet liberally. Your pet will smell like vinegar, but only until they are dry. You can also add a few drops on apple cider vinegar to their water bowl, but be warned that too much will deter them from drinking.
If you are using garlic, be sure to talk to your vet as too much can make your pet sick. Usually 1/2 clove for smaller dogs or 1 clove for large dogs. Keep it away from cats though as their digestive system can’t tolerate garlic well.
Once you have made your pets a uninhabitable place for fleas they will start jumping off – and onto you. Spray an insect repellent containing DEET on your ankles, feet, and shoes/socks daily to keep them off of you. Check with your child’s pediatrician to see what insect repellent is right for your child.
Getting Rid of Fleas in Your Home
It’s a tough road once the fleas find their way into your home. They will embed themselves into the carpet, drapes, furniture, and any other fluffy or fabric thing in your home. But you can get rid of them:
You can use flea sprays, but be warned that they may not kill the eggs or larvae, only adult fleas. Which means if you think you are rid of fleas, you’ll be in for a new cycle within a couple of days. Which can be worse than the previous cycle as fleas reproduce FAST. A female flea can reproduce up to 600 new fleas a month. So this means you need to fight smarter and harder. Contact your vet for a prescription-grade carpet spray if you choose to go this route.
Flea Bombs and Foggers
Before you flea bomb vacuum all carpets and mop all floors to help disrupt the fleas that might be hiding. You can bomb the heck out of your house, but again remember you might have to go about it again within a few days for the new offspring. Our vet recommended us to use more flea bomb than we think we needed. Most will cover 3000 cubic feet but it’s recommended you use one per 2000 cubic feet. An average living room is about 1500 cubic feet unless you have vaulted ceilings. Our vet recommended one fogger per room. Be sure to put all food items away and keep food-preparation areas covered with newspaper. Also don’t forget to air out the house after 2-3 hours and not enter for at least an hour after that.
You can also use the vinegar solution throughout your house – just spray liberally, especially in the corners of your home. Check fabrics for colorfastness if you need to. You can also place a bowl of vinegar directly underneath a night light. Fleas will be attacted to the light and jump to their deaths into the bowl. If you don’t have vinegar soapy water will work, but your house pets may try to drink it! There is also a great product called the Victor M230 Ultimate Flea Trap – this also attracts fleas via light and has a sticky pad that fleas can’t get unstuck from. You’ll want to make sure to get extra sticky pads as well. This is a great alternative if you want to keep pesticides out of your home.
Make sure you also wash all bedding in HOT HOT water and dry in a hot dryer before putting back on your beds. Wash clothing the same way if you can. If you are anticipating fogging or bombing again then place clean clothing in garbage bags to keep fleas out. Only when you are SURE the fleas are gone should you put the clothing away where it belongs.
Keeping Fleas Out of Your Yard
If your neighbors have pets, chances are you are sharing fleas with them. You can keep them out of your yard with pesticides such as Raid Bug Barrier but remember that if you have kids or pets this could be hazardous. These types of pesticides will also only kill the adult fleas, leaving eggs and larvae which will again take over. But you do have options that are not poisonous to pets or humans.
Basically boric acid will dehydrate the fleas, thus killing them. Keep in mind that boric acid CAN be toxic to plants. You can also use this in your house.
Insect Growth Regulators
IGRs will basically make the little suckers unable to reproduce. This is by FAR the most effective way of getting fleas out of your yard. Some are less effective in sunlight, with the exception of Archer Insect Growth Regulator. This can also be used indoors and has little to no effect on non-insects, like pets and children. It won’t kill the fleas, just makes them infertile.
You can make your garden pretty while keeping fleas away, since these plants have been known to be deterrents. Try lining your home or yard perimeter:
As with all pet and kid-related remedies, be sure to talk to you vet & pediatrician before you start the battle.