How To Properly...

Handle a Flea Infestation

A house full of fleas is most definitely a problem for everyone, human and animal, who lives there. Everybody is and will continue to be miserable until the fleas are gone. So let’s consider every part of the problem and make sure each aspect of the infestation is addressed and dealt with.
First, let’s look at the pets. We naturally tend to blame them for the problem, but the issue is the fleas, not who brought them into the home. If you have a dog or dogs, it is best to start with a thorough bath given outdoors and employing a commercial product form a reputable manufacturer which is designed to take care of fleas. If you have a cat who likes to be bathed, by all means do so; but that is seldom the case. For cats, and post-bathing dogs, use the widely available flea preventative which comes in little squeeze tubes and is typically applied to the back of the neck for cats and down the spine for dogs. Follow the maker’s instructions for the safe use of the product and mark your calendar so the dose will be repeated at the recommended interval.
Pets may also be groomed with a comb specially designed to snag fleas. This is easy to do with shorthaired cats and dogs because the usually love the attention and the gentle feel of the grooming. Have a small jar of water containing a small squirt of shampoo or dish soap at your side as you comb your pet. Pull off any accumulated fur and fleas from the comb’s teeth and drop it into the soapy water. Do the same with any fleas you may happen to catch in your fingers. The soap causes the fleas to sink, by reducing the water’s surface tension, and the nasty little bugs can drown at their own pace. Flush the water down the toilet after a suitable interval of an hour provided there aren’t any very large amounts of hair included. It is safest to drown fleas, they are very hard to squash and crushing them has been known to release any germs they may be carrying.
Now let’s examine the problem of fleas around the house. Fleas have to feed on something living to reproduce, so getting them off the pets is a big step, but they are still hiding in carpets and dark corners. Change all the sheets in the house, washing with regular laundry detergent. Hot water isn’t necessary unless it’s what you regularly use; the fleas will drown; you don’t need to poach them as well. Vacuum all the carpeting; take all rugs out doors if possible and hose them down followed by sun drying. Take down and launder all curtains, or at the very least, set them out in the sun for a day. Fleas like to be warm, but they can’t stand to be too hot or too dry; sun usually gets them.
After you have reassembled your home, you will need to stay vigilant. You can make flea traps. Set out a glass or bowl of soapy water beside a small light. The fleas are attracted to the warmth, fall in the water and drown. Place these traps where children and pets can’t get at them and check the regularly.
Of course, it should go without saying that all humans inhabiting the domicile should also bathe regularly and where clean clothes. Wash everything in the laundry hamper on the same day as all the other drapery and bedding project. It can be a big task to undertake, but the reward of a flea free environment is worth the trouble.