Fleas are more than just pests, they can actually be dangerous. Whether they came into your home on Fido’s back, a child’s school bag, or even through an open door, fleas are an unwelcome sight in any home. If you’ve noticed small, brown bugs with an astoundingly-long jump in your home (or, worse, found out you had fleas when bitten!) you should bring in a pest professional right away.
Fleas can carry all kinds of diseases into your home such as cat-scratch fever, typhus, and even the plague. They’re also the cause of itchy, uncomfortable skin infections for people who never even realize they were bitten. They’re parasites which means they feed on the blood of their hosts. Don’t let that host be you!
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home
It’s possible to eliminate some small-scale flea problems on your own and in some cases, without using pesticides. Here are a few methods to try out if you want to see if you can tackle your minor flea problem without professional help:
First, Clean Your Home
Pick up all debris off the floor and wash all fabric materials in the washing machine. If you’ve got a pet (likely the cause of the fleas!) be sure to pay close attention to their toys and bedding when cleaning.
Use a Vacuum
Vacuums are great for sucking up adult fleas and eggs out of carpet and other fabric materials.Once you vacuum, be sure to discard the vacuum bag completely or at the very least, stick a flea collar into the bag to kill off stragglers.
Get a Dehumidifier
Did you know that fleas prefer cool, moist areas? If your flea issue is contained to one room simply add a dehumidifier and keep the room’s humidity level under 50% for at least two days. Once the larva and adult fleas are dead simply vacuum them up.
Professional Flea Treatment
If you’ve got a large number of fleas or if you’ve already exhausted do-it-yourself cleaning options you may need to bring in a professional exterminator. Fleas are pretty susceptible to several different chemical compounds so once you bring in a pro you shouldn’t likely need more treatments.
There are several different flea-control methods used by professionals nationwide. In some cases, an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) may be sprayed around baseboards and even in the carpet to inhibit the growth of adult fleas and kill larvae. Several natural insecticides have been shown to work against flea infestations, too, such as boric acid and botanic dust. Both are relatively low in toxicity and safe for use around humans and pets.
Ask your pest professional what methods they use to take care of flea infestations and the chemicals they treat with. They should be able to provide you with detailed information and statistics regarding situations like yours.
Preventing Fleas from Coming In
It’s better to prevent than to worry about how to get rid of fleas. Since most home flea infestations are caused by pets coming in and out of the home, see your veterinarian before it gets too warm to talk about a flea prevention medicine. Flea collars work relatively well and there are both topical and oral medications available as well.
Additionally, over-the-counter flea sprays may be used around entryways to the home to prevent adult fleas from finding their way inside. There are several natural remedies suggested for the same purpose including lavender oil, diatomaceous earth, and even essence of garlic, if you can stand the smell.
Of course, if you believe you’ve got a recurring issue with pests at your home you should call in a professional exterminator to find out more about you options.