Treating and Eliminating Flea Infestation

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Fleas are small, wingless parasites that feed on the blood of birds and mammals. Fleas are often reddish or brown in color with a mouth that’s adapted to sucking the blood of their hosts. They are agile creatures with long legs and short bodies. If you’re a pet owner, then you probably don’t need any introduction to these pesky creatures. Dogs and cats are prone to getting fleas.

Unfortunately, dealing with flea infestation should not stop at eliminating your pet’s fleas. You have to eliminate pests all over your home to prevent re-introduction of pests to your pets. Why? Fleas don’t just survive by feeding on your pet’s blood. They are excellent jumpers so they could be anywhere in your home — this is how they spread themselves. Moreover, because fleas have flat bodies, they are very resistant to physical trauma. This means you just can’t squish them. You have to eliminate the root cause of the problem so pests don’t spread again.

Treating Your Pet

Get your flea-ridden pet a good, thorough bath. Use soapy water so fleas won’t be able to grasp your pet’s hairs. They will fall on the water and sink, killing the little buggers. If you can, mix the soapy water with a cup of white vinegar to make the pests abandon their host.

Once you’re done bathing your pet, it’s time to groom the animal using a flea comb to trap any live fleas. Ideally, you want to do this outdoors so no flea will escape and hide in your home. When grooming your pet, focus on the fur beneath the pads of their paws, under the tail and their ears.

Finish off the grooming sesh by giving your pet oral medication or any topical treatment to prevent fleas from coming back. Finally, after you are done treating your pet for fleas, vacuum the whole place.

Treating Your Home

Fleas cannot stand citrus-scented anything. If you’re treating your home next, we recommend lighting a scented candle first, one that’s citronella scented. This will prevent escaping fleas from coming back. Unfortunately, this won’t kill flea eggs and larvae left on the crevices of home furnishing, carpets, etc. In addition, fleas spin a type of waterproof cocoon to protect their eggs.

So after lighting a citronella scented candle, remove all beddings, rugs, and carpets in your home and machine wash them. After every bedding, carpet, and rug are cleaned, keep them sealed in a plastic bag for at least 12 hours after you’ve treated your pet. This ensures that the fleas won’t be hiding in the beddings.

Start vacuuming everything from the sofa, upholstery, to the bed itself. This sucks any hidden eggs and larvae in your furniture. Because vacuuming doesn’t really kill all the bugs, start brushing them with food-grade diatomaceous earth or borax. These compounds will kill the fleas. Vacuum every day and treat the furnishing with food-grade diatomaceous earth or borax every now and then to ensure that newly hatched larvae will die from these compounds. Repeat all these steps after a few weeks until your home is finally free from fleas.