How to Deal With Fleas

By Subodh / June 28, 2011

Fleas feed on the blood of mammals. Fleas are annoying and cause itchiness. Fleas do live on their mammal hosts, but their eggs are left in the environment. You can clear the area of their eggs and prevent future generations by doing the following: check the host’s bedding. The eggs that are left on the host will fall off and accumulate in beds, clothes, carpets, cars, and anyplace that the host visits.
Flea eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks, after which the fleas emerge as larvae that can live in carpets and bedding for up to 200 days before transforming into legless pupae. They can survive for over a year before becoming adult fleas. So, the first step after infestation is to clean everything that has come into contact with the infested persons or animals. Here is how to do it.

You can quarantine infested pets until treatment is done. Collect bedding, rugs and throws and wash them in soapy water. Soapy water kills the eggs, larvae, pupae and adult fleas. Be careful not to spill eggs or larvae when picking them up. Eggs are usually found with tiny pellets of dried blood — the combination looks like salt and pepper.

Vacuum everything and anywhere that dust collects. This will pick up most of the eggs, but some larvae will remain. The remaining larvae can be dealt with by having the carpets professionally steam-cleaned (the steam will kill almost every stage of fleas). Make sure you warn the carpet cleaners about the fleas and remove infested animals. As an alternative, shampoo the carpet with insecticidal carpet shampoo or have a pest control professional apply an infrared heat treatment to the carpet, which kills all stages of flea.

If your pet spends much time outside, douse his usual resting areas with lots of soap and water to drown fleas that may be waiting.

Treatment for Flea Removal from People and Pets

Once the environment has been thoroughly cleaned, move immediately to its inhabitants.

Removing fleas from people: bathe one to two times daily with soap. Insecticidal shampoos are available but optional. Comb daily with a special flea comb. Record daily the number of fleas removed so you can identify any population increase before it becomes a problem.

Removing fleas from pets: please be very careful when applying flea treatments to yourself and your pets. Only use treatments that are meant for the animal you are going to use it on. Flea treatments meant for dogs and the environment can easily kill cats. Also keep in mind that any insecticide is designed to interfere with natural biological processes – to kill.

Wash your pet with soapy water. Insecticidal cat and dog flea shampoos are available but not necessary. Safer’s flea shampoo is one of the least toxic varieties. Stay away from shampoos that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) as it can cause serious adverse reactions.

Comb your pet daily with a special flea comb that is designed to extract fleas and dispose of any you find in soapy water.

After Treatment

Restrict pets to areas that are easily cleaned. (No basements, bedrooms, garages, cars, etc).

Vacuum daily since the previously applied steam cleaning can trigger any remaining eggs to hatch. Remember to seal up or dispose of vacuum bags immediately after use.

Provide bedding for your pet that is easily removed and cleaned. Lay towels anywhere your pets like to lounge, and wash them every week until the fleas are gone, and every two weeks after that.

Comb your pets daily with a special flea comb and record the number of fleas. Flick any fleas that are removed into soapy water to kill them and if a population spike occurs, bathe the pet. Shop carefully for any flea collars. Do not use products that have toxicities to animals or humans