Controlling Fleas in Your Home

Flea infestations can be very hard to deal with.  Fleas have short life cycles and adult females can lay on average 27 eggs per day.  A proper integrated flea control program can eliminate fleas from your home, but keep in mind it may take time and repeat applications especially for severe infestations.  Here are some steps you can follow that may help you overcome a flea infestation.

Step 1: Sanitation

Cleanliness is next to godliness and also goes a long way towards winning the battle against fleas.  Flea larvae feed on the excrement of adult fleas, without it they cannot survive.  They may also feed on organic matter such as food particles or dead skin.  Vacuuming can remove large quantities of flea eggs and larvae as well as their food supply.  Be sure to change pet bedding regularly and vacuum thoroughly.  Be sure to focus on furniture, cushions, baseboards, and anywhere pets may hang out.

Step 2: Treat Pets

Your pet’s first line of defense against fleas is a flea comb and a good bath which can help control light infestations.  Bathing and frequent combing can reduce the need for insecticides.  When combing your pet, dip the comb frequently into alcohol or a soap solution to kill the fleas removed. Also using garlic supplements in your pet’s food or water can help repel fleas naturally.

For more serious infestations on your pet you can use shampoos, sprays or dusts containing insecticides and insect growth regulators.  These products will kill adult fleas while keeping eggs and larvae from becoming adults, thus giving you a longer residual control.

Probably the most popular and widely used preventative control are the monthly spot on treatments.  Products such as Frontline, Bio Spot and Advantage offer control against fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.

For serious infestations you can also consider Cap-guard, a pill given orally that kills any adult fleas on your pet within 4-6 hours.  These are used to clear up heavy infestations and can be administered safely every 24 hours.

Step 3: Treat Your Home

There are a number of products you can use to control fleas in your home.  It is important to remember that most products won’t totally rid your home of fleas with one application.  While in the pupa stage, fleas can lay dormant for up to five months waiting to be stimulated by a passing host.  Once stimulated it can emerge within seconds.  So don’t be surprised if you have to make multiple applications to totally rid your home of fleas.

Sprays containing an insecticide and insect growth regulator can be purchased pre-mixed or in concentrate form.  It is important to treat your pets bedding at the same time you treat your pet to prevent re-infestations.  Pay particular attention to places your pet sleeps or loafs, such as on and under furniture.  Aerosol foggers are also an option if you don’t have a sprayer.

Flea pupae can be hard to kill with insecticides so it is important to apply 2 or 3 follow-up sprays at 5-10 day intervals for best results.

Step 4: Treat Your Lawn

Outdoor treatments are available in sprays, granules, or dusts.  When treating areas outside around the home, concentrate on soil underneath decks and under shrubbery and anywhere your pets sleep or spend a lot of time.