There is no yard state quite as unpleasant as a flea infestation. These infuriating vampires are small and vicious, breeding at such an alarming rate that their kind might seem immortal. Always eager to enter your home, these disease carrying, pet assaulting pests are already too close if they have taken your garden over.
Immediate attention is required, so here are a few different methods to rid yourself of fleas before you’re the one who is forced to flee.
How Does a Flea Infestation Start
Fleas are seasonal and they simply love high temperatures. That’s why it’s more probable to spot them in summer. They are parasites, in other words they need a host to live off.
For example – your pet. Not only does your cat or dog provide them with blissful body heat and lots of fur to hide in, but also with all the food they need.
However, fleas can survive outside of a host as well. Another place they love to dwell in is your carpet or your clothes. They can jump very high, so it’s not a problem for them to jump on you, suck all the blood they need for the day, and later go back into the carpet.
An infestation can start from only one flea. It can even start from one egg. Unlike many other pests, flea eggs are not sticky, so they can roll around and end up practically anywhere.
And they’re tiny – the size of a grain of salt.
There’s no way for them to be spotted until they hatched and started a population of thousands. And you don’t even need to have a pet for this to happen.
How to Prevent a Flea Infestation
The best way to fight a flea infestation is by not letting the infestation happen in the first place. In order to achieve that, there are a few very important things you can do.
Flea Prevention for the Pet
The best thing you can do is treat your pet for fleas regularly. Consult with a vet about how often you should do it.
It all depends on the type of pet you own and you would most probably have to do it more often if you let your pet roam outside.
Flea Prevention for the Home
Since it’s not possible to prevent a tiny flea egg from entering your home, the best thing you can do is to prevent any strange, flea-infested animals from getting inside.
- Patch up any holes. You need to be mostly wary of mice or rats as there is always a possibility to get such secondary surprise.
- Replace rotten planks. If your property is largely made of timber, rotting weak points would be perfect for any critter on the lookout for shelter.
- Keep garbage under wraps. Garbage is not just plastic wrappers, but also food waste. And food is the easiest way to attract outside animals.
- Remove bird feeders. Bird feeders do not just feed birds, but just about any other hungry animal.
- Don’t leave pet food outside. Not only is it food for everything that moves, but the strong smell of dog and cat food can also attract animals from very far away.
Flea Prevention for the Yard
Unfortunately, if your yard is full of food, your home might still be in danger. Relax – no one is telling you to stop having a vegetable garden. But here is what you can do:
- Trim the grass;
- Cut back the foliage;
- Water regularly;
- Use natural pest control against fleas.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in the House
Once you are certain your home is infested with fleas, you would need a chemical treatment of your whole property.
- Treat your pet. First thing’s first – treat the obvious victim of this infestation. You can get loads of anti-flea products for pets.
- Remove your pet from the house. Find a pet sitter or give it to friends or family after he’s been treated. You don’t want the fleas to get on him again.
- Hover your house from top to bottom. That includes carpets, furniture, drapes – anything that can serve as home for fleas. Be sure to throw away the bag once you’re done.
- Launder all clothes and sheets. Temperatures over 90 degrees will kill any remains.
- Use a fogger. Foggers, or the so called “flea bombs”, are commercial products made to effectively control a flea infestation. They’re full of poisonous chemicals, so you should be careful how you use them. You should always have a mask on and it’s a good idea to have the rest of the family wear one, too. It’s better for the pet to stay someplace else for a few more weeks, just in case.
- Call a professional exterminator. In the end, if you prefer not to do all of this yourself, you can always rely on professionals. A flea treatment procedure can be usually done in only one visit. And the professionals can give you a guarantee for the next 3 months.
How to Stop Flea Infestation Naturally
The most natural pest control against fleas is pitting them against their predators. This works especially good for gardens.
Red ants would eat all the fleas, however they would devastate your garden as well. But there are a few other good bugs that eat troublesome insects such as fleas and aphids and, at the same time, do not hard your garden.
- Nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms that dwell in the soil. As they move through the soil, they can reduce the flea population by 80 percent in just about 24 hours.
- Ladybugs. Ladybugs feed on aphids, mites, mealy bugs, and fleas. A mature ladybug is one of the most fierce predators in the insect world as it can eat 60 insects a day.
- Spiders. Spiders eat just about anything, including fleas, but this also means they can choose other things to be on their menu as well. For instance, they prefer bigger prey like flies. So, even though they are helpful, you shouldn’t rely only to them.
Another good idea is to plant herbs that act as natural repellents against fleas.
- Chrysanthemum. Not only a beautiful flower, but also a great fleas, cockroaches, ants, ticks, silverfish, and lice repellent.
- Lavender. Except fleas, it also repels moths, scorpions, and mosquitoes.
- Spearmint. Repels fleas, moths, ants, beetles, rodents, and aphids.
For best results, it’s good to combine both the beneficial insects and the repelling plants together. Just bear in mind that the plants might repel some of the “good” insects as well.
Homemade Flea Treatment for Carpets
In order to get rid of fleas in your carpet, you can try a DIY alternative to the chemical treatment professionals would otherwise offer you.
- Start by sprinkling salt. Salt is flea eggs’ worst nightmare. It would kill them in a matter of minutes by drying them out.
- Make an eco-friendly spray solution. Fill a spray bottle with water, vinegar, and a few drops of tea tree oil.
- Spray the solution over your salted carpet. This will take care of the fleas in your carpet in no time. But be sure that there will be no survivors left to look for another shelter – your couch, your bed, or anything they deem appropriate. So, unless you want to go through the same thing over and over, you may eventually need to call a professional.
Summer is right around the corner. Don’t let fleas take over your pets, home, and yard. With some hard work and a bit of help from the professionals, you will turn these blood sucking pests into nothing but fleeting memories.
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