You may suffer from a flea infestation at any time if you have a pet dog or cat, or if you move into a new home where the previous occupants had animals. There is no end to the number of products available to deal with fleas on your pets. Speak to your regular veterinary for advice on which products to use as they will also be able to advise on any potential side effects. Effective home remedies for fleas require treating your pet and the home at the same time.
Home Remedies For Fleas
Did you know that flea larvae can remain dormant for over 2 years in empty properties, only awakening from the vibrations caused when the building is re-occupied?
There are many species of flea but the most common found in the home are Cat Fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and Dog Fleas (Ctenocephalides canis). To the naked eye, they both appear the same, being brown in colour and approximately 2.5mm long. The Cat Flea is equally at home on dogs as it is on cats by the way. Neither of these fleas will actually live on humans, however, they will happily hop onto us for a quick feed before returning to terra firma.
Individual flea bites present no risk to ill health. They can be recognized by a small dark spot surrounded by a slight red swelling and are commonly found on the lower leg and arm. Children playing on the floor are more susceptible to flea bites. Severe itchiness occurs as a result of the reaction to the flea’s saliva. As with other insect bites, the level of reaction can vary from person to person. Prolonged, multiple biting on humans can trigger an increased reaction resulting in an allergic rash or even eczema.
Not every itchy spot you get will be a flea bite. Some itchy skin marks can be reactions to other insect bites and even dust fibers in the air. Read this interesting article from Mike Potter at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
A short video about Home Remedies For Fleas
Where to Start?
The main source of the flea infestation will be where your pet sleeps but eggs may also be present throughout as a result of falling off your pet as it moves around the home. Flea Control can start by vaccuming regularly and thoroughly throughout, this will remove many adults and eggs. And I realy mean throughout, this includes exposed floorboards, skirting boards and parquet flooring as the fine dust and debris that collects in the gaps between the wood is sufficient to harbour fleas and their eggs. Wash your pet bedding regularly (once a week for example) on a hot wash and, if possible, make sure the bed is on a non-carpeted floor. Take any rugs outside and give them a good beating to remove any eggs, fleas and faeces.
After the initial cleaning and vacuuming, you will need to apply a residual insecticide. Look for a product that specifies for use on CRAWLING INSECTS and even better, Fleas (obviously). You will need to apply this insecticide spray throughout, following the instructions on the label. If you don’t like the idea of covering your home in insecticide and are prepared to put a little more effort into your flea control, you can use a natural alternative.
Diatomaceous Earth, or Fossil Shell Flour as it is sometimes called, is one of many natural and organic pest control products that can be used and is made from the shells of tiny sea creatures. It is completely safe to use, if used correctly. Don’t be tempted to over-apply it. The thinnest coating to likely harbourage (cracks and crevices) is all you need. Wear a suitable mask and keep the room well aired during the application.
NB: When purchasing Diatomaceous Earth, be sure that it is Fresh Water/Food Grade and not produced for use in swimming pool filters – this product has additives which are harmful.
Don’t Forget The Animals
Remember, effective home remedies for fleas requires treating your pet and the home at the same time or else one is likely to re-infest the other. There are sprays, powders, collars and tablets available to you. The best person to seek advice from is your vet. Just keep in mind that many veterinary practices often stock a particular brand, so if you don’t know your vet too well you can also seek advice from dog or cat clubs.