How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House (Step-by-Step)!
Fleas are one of the most common parasites infesting human environment. There are several species of fleas including Cat Flea, Dog Flea, Human Flea, Northern Rat Flea, Oriental Rat Flea and Moorhen Flea and all of them can be a health hazard to human beings and their pets in different degrees, ranging from skin allergic reactions to conditions like anemia or even worse to other parasites or infections like Bartonella, Tapeworm and Murine Thyfus.
In order to eradicate them you must be aware of their life cycle and attack an infestation from all angles to break the flea life cycle. Because by default the pupae stage of the flea life is virtually chemical proof, it may be necessary to repeat the disinfestation more than once to eliminate the surviving adults emerging from their cocoons some time later after the first attempt. However, consistency will pay off in the long run, as it is possible to get rid of fleas in your house once and for all.
The page below is divided into 3 different stages of a flea fighting strategy.
Phase 1 – How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House
Vacuum Clean Thoroughly
The flea life cycle is divided into 4 phases, adult, eggs, larvae and pupae. When a pet like a cat or a dog is infested, the fleas will start reproducing no sooner than they have feasted on the host blood, releasing eggs in batches of 20 or so. Your pet will in turn unwittingly help spread the eggs in the human environment wherever it goes or sleeps. The eggs will naturally drop on the floor or the carpet, finding an ideal developing ground.
The eggs will then hatch 2 days to 2 weeks later, depending on temperature and humidity, releasing the larvae. The larvae avoid light and thrive in dark and humid places like floor cracks, on the edge of skirting boards, under the beds and so on. They take about 2 weeks to few months to turn into adults depending on the availability of organic material like dead skin, hair and most importantly adult fleas feces, but they do not feed on blood yet.
Finally, the larvae spin themselves into a cocoon for the next pupae stage, much like a caterpillar before turning into a butterfly. The pupae stage can lay dormant for several months if necessary, until the conditions are ideal for the adults to emerge. The usual triggers for adult to emerge from their cocoons are vibration or carbon monoxide, clear indicators of a new blood supply to infest in the form of mammals moving around and breathing.
All together, the population of an infestation is composed of 50% of eggs, 35% of larvae, 10% of pupae and only 5% of adults. So the visible part of the infestation is only a tiny fraction of the problem. In order to get rid of fleas in your house it is therefore necessary to apply a mass casualty approach first before passing onto the more targeted phase 2 and 3. To implement this mass attack your vacuum cleaner will be your best friend.
Vacuum clean the house thoroughly, carpets, floors, upholstery, sofas and anywhere your pet sleeps or rests. Pay particular attention to crevices, skirting boards, dark recesses and under the beds, as adult fleas and larvae like shady and humid places. If possible, go as so far as washing any drapes or curtains. Keep your pet out of the way during the operation so as to avoid more egg falling around.
Remember also that fleas can thrive outdoor as much as indoor, so make their life more difficult by cutting the grass and allow as much light as possible to repel adults and larvae. This deep vacuum cleaning is the first necessary step for an effective war strategy against a flea infestation. Once finished, dispose of the bag carefully sealing it into a plastic bag. You may be now ready for phase 2.
Phase 2 – How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House
Treat Your House And Garden
One you have inflicted heavy casualties to the flea population you are in a better position to fight off the remaining guests and prevent an infestation from reoccurring by chemically treating the house.
This can be achieved by treating all the areas affected with sprays, particularly under beds and sofas. The most effective sprays contain IGR, or insect growth regulator like methoprene or pyriproxyfen which basically truncate the life cycle of the fleas by targeting the eggs and larvae, preventing them to develop into adults.
A common method is bombing or fogging the room with IGR. This method is effective to spread the chemical on a wide area from the center of the room but is not very effective to reach nooks and crevices and you need to remove furniture to enable the gas to reach the carpet fibers or the floor boards.
Once you’ve treated your house you may go on dealing with your garden or front and back yards or anywhere outdoors you have access to in the same way. You may use the same sprays with particular attention to sand or gravel because these are ideal breeding grounds for larvae.
Treat all the dark crevices and outdoor socializing areas like pergolas, gazebos, verandahs, patios and anywhere your pet lounges around. Mow the loan and prune the vegetation so as to allow as much light as possible to the light-phobic larvae. Pressure wash your deck and any walkways if possible.
IGR insecticides are effective at breaking the flea life cycle. Once the infestation is eradicated, it is no longer necessary to use these chemicals again, providing good house keeping, especially vacuum cleaning, and pet hygiene are maintained in order to prevent another infestation.
Phase 3 – How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House
Pet And Human Treatments
A flea bite will result in a red circular area slightly swollen and itching. The bite itself is not very painful, but the irritation is uncomfortable. Adult cat fleas can typically strike at ankles and lower legs, however fleas can bite just about anywhere on the human body.
Some people may develop and allergic reaction to flea bites leading to rash or inflammation. Historically, fleas carried by rodents have been responsible for transmitting the bubonic plague.
The most common on spot treatment for flea bites are antihistamines or hydrocortisone, while for pets there is a wide range of products to get rid of an infestation. Fleas tend to concentrate behind the neck of a cat or a dog because it is the most difficult area for the animal to reach and scratch, this is why a very effective method of pet flea control is the top spot, a single prescription application behind the neck, between the shoulder blades.
From here, the active agents spread through the skin oils across the whole pet body. Shampooing you dog or cat with an adult flea killing agent will provide immediate relief to your pet, but will also dry up the skin oils so it is better to wait 3 days for them to regenerate before applying a top spot treatment.
Frontline, Revolution and Advantage are common and very effective top-spot treatments. There are also chewable tablets available that will kill any remaining flea on your dog or cat. However, it must be specifically designed for either dogs or cats because cats cannot metabolize some ingredients that dogs do, so care must be taken in choosing the right product.
Over all. hygiene and good pet care are key factors if you want to get rid of fleas in your house once and for all.