How to Control Fleas (Natural + Chemical Methods)
During the fall and winter, pest management specialists are busy! As you heat your properties, whether your pets go outside or you bring firewood inside, a few critters may find refuge in your home to make it through the cold season. And this is the case with fleas! As we know, these parasites cause a lot of concern as soon as they have made their nest in your cat’s fleece! And yet, it could be easier!
We present you with some tips and tricks to naturally control the fleas that invade your animals during the winter. Also, we will show you how to bomb your house for fleas, in case the situation has gotten out of hand.
First, detect the threat.
The first step in controlling fleas is to examine your dog or cat to determine the extent of the infestation. In severe cases, you are going to be able to see adult fleas swarming all over the animal’s skin and hair.
If none of the fleas are visible on your animal, but the animal is scratching anyway, it is obviously infected. Inspect carefully around the base of the tail, just in case. If you find small black particles, they are flea droppings. In case you find such particles, but think it could be something else, just place a few of them on a damp paper towel. If these particles turn red, it’s flea feces – blood residue.
If you find fleas on your pets, don’t run for the stronger product at the pet store. The majority of synthetic insecticides are powerful poisons. There are many cases of poisoning related to pesticides every year. There are many cases involving not only animals but also children who handle animals treated with pesticides.
Instead, follow these essential steps to rid your pets of these little pests with the use of natural products.
Go for a natural treatment
Hidden among the many synthetic pesticides on market shelves or exterminator counters, you can find three kinds of organic products that are effective against fleas. The first two consist of varieties of pyrethrin, which are derived from several types of chrysanthemums. Their pesticide properties have been used for centuries.
But it is the third type of natural pesticide that is the safest and offers the greatest hope of effectively killing fleas. We recommend the only effective natural pesticide: Diatomaceous Earth. It is a type of fossilized algae that looks like chalk dust. The fine sharp-edged particles that make up this product attach to the parasite and penetrate the shell of the flea. It causes this blood-drinking parasite to dehydrate and die.
If you prefer to create your solutions, it is possible to use products that you already have at home. But we can’t guarantee the success of these treatments. Try, and you will see. Here are some natural solutions to stop your pet from scratching!
- Rosemary dip
Place two (2) cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water for 30 minutes. Filter the liquid, discard the leaves and add up to a gallon (4L) of hot water in this filtered water depending on the size of your dog, for example. Wait until the mixture has cooled a bit, but is still hot, and pour over your pet until it is soaked. Let your pet dry naturally. This trick works exceptionally well on hot summer days. For the winter, it may take longer to dry.
- Lavender essential oil
Wash your dog or cat thoroughly and dry it with a towel. Apply a few drops of lavender essential oil at the base of the tail and another at the neck.
- Brewer’s yeast
Add a brewer’s yeast tablet to your pet’s food. It’s much like prescription drugs (but much healthier). Brewer’s yeast is excreted through your pet’s skin, making it less attractive to fleas. Check with your veterinarian for the proper dosages based on weight.
- Apple cider vinegar
A spoonful added to your dog’s water makes the skin more acidic and less flavorful to fleas. If your pet doesn’t like apple cider vinegar at all, you can dilute it half and half with water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and use it as a repellant.
- Lemon spray
Cut a lemon into wedges, cover with boiling water, and let them steep overnight. In the morning, spray everything on your animal, especially behind the ears and around the head. Use it around the base of the tail and under your animal’s legs. Watch out for the eyes!
To better exterminate, be organized!
Treating your home should begin with a thorough cleaning of each room. Vacuum the house frequently, at least once a day. Pay special attention to dark, damp places, places where fleas may have laid their eggs. After vacuuming, the vacuum bag should not be left in the closet, since flea eggs in the bag can hatch and re-infect your home! Empty the sweeper bag, seal the contents, and throw it away. You can also spread fine salt on your carpets and leave it for about a week. The salt will attach to the body of the fleas present and cause them to “dry out.”
Afterward, wash your pet’s bed (if it has one) or the places where it usually sleeps. Dry the bedding in the dryer if possible. The high temperature will kill the pests that have survived the wash.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or pyrethrum powder (natural insecticides) on your cat’s clean litter box, as well as on carpets and floors. This is the last step before starting the process again until you no longer find fleas on your pet.
Controlling severe infestations with a flea bomb
Unfortunately, in severe flea infestations, it may be necessary to “bomb” your home with a commercial insecticide. This helps to wipe out the adult fleas after sprinkling natural products.
Flea bombs and smoke bombs spray a continuous amount of pesticides designed to treat a large area in one go. When used correctly, it is an excellent method of dealing with a heavy flea infestation. You still have to be careful, because, in addition to killing these parasites, the chemicals in the bomb can also be harmful to humans and animals. It is essential to treat the whole house and not just one room, as fleas spread very quickly all over the house. You should also treat your animals separately when using flea spray to avoid re-infestation. You should also take certain precautions to ensure the safety of everyone in your household during treatment.
What you’ll need
- A flea bomb
- Sheets or tarpaulins
- A vacuum
- A mop and a bucket
- Some water
- A washing machine and a dryer
Step 1: Prepare the house
- Calculate the area that needs to be treated: There are many different forms of flea bombs depending on the brand and the chemicals they contain. Usually, you need one bomb for each piece you are processing. However, in some cases, by spraying the product in the hallway and leaving the doors to the rooms open, you can process several at once. Be sure to read the instructions on the product to determine the area the canister can treat.
- Buy a good quality product: Ask your vet for advice on which product to use. Ask your friends and family for feedback to see if they’ve used this kind of solution as well, or search online for reviews and opinions. Also, ask a salesperson at a hardware store for information about flea bombs. But always check that the advice they give you is consistent with what you have read on the Internet.
- Read all of the instructions that appear on the package: Most flea bombs work the same way. Make sure you read the directions carefully before spraying it at home.
- Evacuate the scene: The chemicals in bombs are poisons that can easily make humans or animals sick. Check the label to make sure everyone is safe, and no one is left inside for the length of time specified on the product.
- Open the doors and drawers: Open all the doors of infested rooms so that the chemicals can kill the fleas. Also, open cupboard doors and drawers to kill any hiding in furniture.
- Clear the kitchen: Remove all cooking utensils, food, small electrical appliances, and dishes. You must remove them from these parts to prevent them from coming into contact with the bomb. It’s much easier to take them off now and store them somewhere else than washing them after you’ve sprayed them with insecticide.
- Protect your furniture: Cover tabletops, countertops, specialty furniture, and electronics. The chemicals in the bomb can damage furniture, tables, worktops, and electronics. Cover these areas with sheets or tarps to avoid damaging them. You can find old, inexpensive sheets in second-hand stores. Buy plastic sheeting at DIY or auto supply stores.
- Caulk the aquarium or take it out: The chemicals in flea bombs are harmful to fish. If you cannot move the aquarium, you need to cover it and make it waterproof by wrapping it in plastic sheeting.
- Turn off all lights and other electrical devices: The chemicals and propellants in insecticides are flammable. Turn off the radiators and the air conditioning, and don’t forget to turn off the pilot light of the boiler as well. Unplug all fans.
- Close all windows before treatment: You must make sure that the insecticide does not escape from inside the house. It will also be much more effective if you close all openings before starting treatment.
Step 2: Treat the house
- Vacuum and clean before treatment: The vibrations caused by the vacuum cleaner can bring out the larvae, which will make the insecticide treatment more effective.
- Remove all dirty laundry from the house: Flea eggs and larvae could hide in your pile of dirty laundry. You must have washed all your clothes or put them in bags and take them to the dry cleaners before treating your home.
- Install the flea bombs: Place the flea bombs on sheets of newspaper or plastic bags in the middle of the room you want to treat. By protecting the ground where you place the insecticide bombs, you will avoid dirtying it with the residue that could leak from the latter. Make sure all the bombs are in place before turning them on.
- Activate the bombs and leave the house: Follow package directions to activate insecticides. If you are activating multiple bombs at the same time, start with the room furthest from the exit and move closer to it slowly. Once you activate the bomb, don’t go back into the room.
- Stay outside the house: Avoid unnecessary exposure to chemicals by keeping all pets and occupants of the house outside for two to four hours. Read the instructions carefully to determine the recommended duration of action for the product.
- Treat your pets for fleas: While you are away from home, it is essential to kill all fleas that are on your pets to be sure they don’t reintroduce them when you return. Ask your veterinarian for advice on tablets that contain nitenpyram to kill adult fleas on your pets. Bath them with flea shampoo. Take them to a groomer for professional flea treatment.
Step 3: Keeping a home free from fleas
- Clean up your home when you come back: After an insecticide treatment, you will often find dead fleas, chemical residues, and a layer of dust in your home. Vacuum and mop, clean tables and countertops, wash linens and clothing and clean all surfaces inside. It is recommended that you wear gloves while cleaning and discard them when you are finished to avoid coming into contact with chemicals.
- Open windows to ventilate the interior and dispel odors: Pesticide odor may persist for several hours or days after treatment. Open the doors and turn on the fans to eliminate chemical odors inside.
- Vacuum daily for ten to fourteen days: By vacuuming daily, you will eliminate adult fleas that have just hatched and have survived treatment. Be prepared to treat your home several times. Some products are not effective on flea eggs. Eggs and larvae may hatch several days or weeks after the first treatment. Monitor your home and pets for several weeks after the first treatment for signs of fleas reappearing.
After treatment, watch your animals to see if they are showing signs of reinfestation. Flea droppings look like little reddish dots on your pet. If you see it scratching, use a flea comb to check for these parasites.
Get a prescription for flea medication from your veterinarian who can also give you advice if you have any concerns.
Brush your animals regularly and put their hair in an airtight plastic bag that you can throw in the outdoor garbage. The bomb may have reduced the flea population in your home, but your pets could bring it back if you don’t treat it properly and regularly.
It is not necessary after processing to throw away food stored in airtight containers such as cans and well-sealed spice boxes. It is advisable to wash your boxes to preserve food after fumigating your interior.
You must discard and not consume the fresh fruits and vegetables exposed to the insecticide.
Flea bombs contain neurotoxins. You should not use them regularly, nor should you take them lightly to get rid of fleas. It’s best to treat your pets regularly, vacuum frequently, and remove these pests as soon as you see them.