How to get rid of fleas
Summary: If you want to get rid of fleas you first must figure out how you got them in the first place. No use going through all the flea removal steps if the source is still in the house.
Here's the scene. You are sitting on your couch watching your favorite CSI show. (I figured it must be CSI since those shows seem to be on every hour on the hour on every channel.) Anyway, you absent-mindedly scratch an itch. Then, you do it again. And, again. Suddenly, you become aware that your itching is out-distancing your CSI-watching. You examine the little red welt on your leg and discover a few more. Something is eating you and whatever it is, it must be fat and happy if the number of bites on your leg is any indication.
Your brain goes into overdrive trying to think how you got these bites. “I wasn't outside on the lawn”, you think. “I don't own a pet and I wasn't around any pets.” Your Sherlock Holmes instincts take over and you decide to do a search and discover mission. You tear the couch apart, look under your bed and walk around trying to find any signs of unwanted inhabitants. Then,
suddenly you discover you have little black dots on your white workout socks. Low and behold, upon closer examination, it appears to be fleas. “How in the world did this happen?” you ask.
In your effort to get rid of fleas you need to know the enemy. Fleas are great hitchhikers. Let's say you are in the real estate business and you happened to visit a home today. The home was totally empty. The prior residents had moved out months ago. What you did not know was that the former residents owned a dog and that dog had had fleas. When they moved they left flea eggs behind. The eggs hatched into larvae and the larvae formed cocoons. The flea adults remained inside their cocoons until you walked in today. The vibrations caused by you walking across the floor in the vicinity of the flea cocoons caused those fleas to explode from their cocoons and on to your pant legs where they hung on for dear life until you sat down to watch your TV show. Quick as a wink, those hungry fleas moved in for a long-awaited blood meal and you were that meal.
Okay! So, you are not a real estate agent, but maybe a friend fits the profile and the fleas hitchhiked on your friend. You sat next to your friend in the movies and the fleas made the leap. Maybe you were playing in the yard and picked them up. Fleas love tall grass, shaded areas and some moisture. But, regardless of how you managed to pick up the fleas, you need to think about how they made it into your house and make adjustments to get rid of the fleas and resolve that it does not happen again.
Now, it is time to treat and get rid of the fleas. If you have a pet, get it treated by the vet. Ask the vet about additives that go into the pet's diet, shampoos or sprays that keep fleas from establishing a home on your pet. Wash all pet bedding and anyplace else where you allow your pet access. If your pet gets on your bed, off come the linens and blankets and into the wash they must go.
Vacuum, vacuum and do some more vacuuming. Pay special attention to baseboards where pet hairs may accumulate. You might want to consider cleaning with a steam cleaner to kill any eggs that might have fallen into the carpet fibers.
It requires a combination of products to get rid of fleas. You'll need a good Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) product to mix with an adulticide. IGRs prevent fleas from completing their life cycle, stopping them from feeding. If they cannot feed they die. However, IGRs work slowly, so a low-toxicity pesticide will speed the control. A product like Precor 2000 Plus is a combo product. Another good growth regulator is any product containing methoprene. It will get rid of flea populations within fifteen days.
Again, an adulticide (pesticide) is required for instant flea kill. I do not recommend foggers. These total release aerosol products are not "seek and destroy" devices. The aerosol mist will not float into every crack and crevice, so there is a lot of hit and miss with foggers.
To apply an even coverage of pesticide you will need some type of pressurized tank sprayer similar to those used by professional pest control companies. I would use a product with low toxicity such as products containing pyrethrins which are derived from the flowers of chrysanthemums. A product called d-Limonene is a non-toxic botanical, as is citronella oil, lavender and tea tree oil.
To get rid of fleas you must inspect and treat outside, too. Cut down tall grasses around the foundation of the house and along fences. If necessary, these areas may need to be treated with one of those aforementioned products.
The products sold on this website to get rid of fleas are the same as the ones used by pest control pros. If you want to get rid of fleas on your own you need to be willing to read the label fully and follow the label instructions precisely. If you can't do that I suggest you call a professional. I see more instances where treatments have gone bad, ruining expensive carpet, furnishings, harming pets or worse. The cost of a professional service is usually fairly reasonable and you'll get rid of fleas quickly.
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