Fleas in house
Sometimes when conditions are just right, you find fleas in your house. It’s never just one, and only if you’re lucky does the problem go away on it’s own. You need to understand a little bit about this pest and how to deal with it given your particular circumstances.
House fleas are almost always associated with pets. Just treating the pet and the areas it hangs out is not the only action you need to take. And what do you do if you don’t even have pets? Read on to learn some valuable points to consider with these insects and steps to take for getting rid of fleas forever.
What do fleas look like?
First, let’s make sure you know what you’re dealing with. A typical house flea is usually the common cat or dog flea. While there are a numerous types, adult fleas all look about the same size (yes, they are clearly visible with the naked eye!) and range in colors from a semi-transparent auburn-brown to darker brown or almost black when fully developed. We know them mostly from their trademark jumping abilities; they leap so quickly and cover such long distances in one super-springy bound that they look like they’re disappearing when you try to grab one.
How fleas get in your house
If you’ve spotted fleas in your house, you could have anything from just a temporary annoyance to a major infestation. Unfortunately, it’s rare that you would only end up with one or two. Once a flea gets inside your home, by the time you see it (or get bitten), you’re in trouble.
Fleas get in your house usually by pets, again the leading partner in crime when you have fleas living indoors. But they can stick to us humans just as easily. Just walking outside, a tiny flea can jump on your clothing or bare skin unbeknownst to you. And all you have to do is bring one inside who lays some eggs in your carpet, clothing or sofa (gross, right?) and the repeating life-cycle begins. There are ways to stop this process entirely if you act early, but more on that later.
If you have pets that come in and out of the house though, and you find fleas, it’s a safe bet they are carrying them in. Believe it or not, even if you’ve treated your pets for fleas with skin gels or collars, fleas can still hitch a ride right through the door. If the type you have in your area “like” human blood, then it’s just a matter of time before you notice a bite (especially when your pets is unappetizing because you treated them). Fleas can also survive for weeks and months without a meal, so it’s not uncommon for them to find soft, dark places in your home to live and reproduce while they wait for a viable meal host to come along.
Fleas on humans
Contrary to what you’ll hear at pet stores or even from some exterminators, fleas can live on humans. A human flea bite is usually not felt, but can itch for a couple days and become unsightly especially if you scratch it a lot. It will start out as a bright red dot (size of a dull pencil head or larger) and turn darker as it fades over time (usually a week or more).
Follow these basic guidelines to get rid of your flea problem in your home or apartment. There are some primary principles that work for just about everyone and some further tips to try depending on your situation.
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s important to take an aggressive approach to ridding this bothersome pest. This means, 1) removal, 2) cleaning, 3) treatment, and 4) repeating as necessary.
1. First, get rid of all adult fleas you see on you, your pets and areas of your home. You don’t want these guys biting any more, and you don’t want them laying any more eggs to keep future generations going strong. Follow the next step to get this done thoroughly.
2. Second, start cleaning house. This means, a thorough vacuuming of all rugs, large carpets and soft drapery and furniture surfaces. This may take 2-3 passes over a couple days, but take comfort in knowing your sucking up a big percentage of the fleas living in your home. You’ll need to wash all pet linens, beds, small rugs and clothing that is anywhere near where you saw or suspect fleas. Use the hottest water possible. You’re not only getting rid of fleas you can’t see, but their eggs, larvae, and pupa will be washed away too.
House Flea Treatment
3. Third, treat the areas you just cleaned with a good flea control product. In the past, it was hard to think of loading your house with chemicals, but today they have some great options that work well at killing and keeping fleas from coming back in your house. And best of all, the products are perfectly safe for the canine, feline and human inhabitants of your house.
Flea foggers are talked about among homeowners, but in most cases you don’t need them. They are literally overkill and require a lot of work as you need to properly cover food and dishes before setting off. All you need is a good spray that you can easily and safely apply by hand to reach the areas that matter for adequate flea control.
***One such product is Precor 2000. One can covers 2,000 square feet, enough for most homes’ carpeting and furniture that harbor fleas. What’s great about Precor is it contains the key to stopping your flea problem: insect growth regulator. This is not just crucial, but necessary to solving your problem completely. It basically means its ingredients will take care of the early life cycle forms of the house flea (egg, larvae, pupa) as well as the adults.
While it may seem expensive, it only seems that way compared to other sprays that can cost much less. Unfortunately the other sprays, found at many stores only affect the adult fleas. The eggs they’ve left behind (that’s a guarantee) will hatch if they haven’t already, unaffected by the less effective sprays. Invest in the better product, like Precor 2000 and you’ll get the results you want.
Be sure to use the spray liberally, lifting up rugs and couch cushions and pillows. After you spray, be sure to circulate the air in your home with open windows if possible and allow to dry. A quality product like this will also last for at least six months. It should also go without saying that if you have animals indoors, you must treat them to to truly get rid of the fleas in the house. Ask your vet about the appropriate product for your furry friends.
4. Repeat cleaning and treatment. If you happen to find evidence of fleas in your house, don’t hesitate to repeat your cleaning process. Usually the first pass of a can like Precor will take care of the problem. Rated for seven months, it should be more than enough to get you through the worst of the flea season.