If you have a severe flea infestation in your home, you may want to consider flea bombing as part of the solution. Be aware, however, that bombing kills only about 80 percent of the fleas in a furnished home and is most effective in empty houses. This means you will have to treat your pets and vacuum floors and furniture religiously to eliminate the remaining flea population. Treat your outdoor spaces at the same time, to avoid bringing fleas back into your home, and wash your pet's bedding with hot water.
Things You'll Need
- Drop cloth (optional)
- Plastic (optional)
- Tape (optional)
- Towel (optional)
- Paper towels or old newspapers
- Vacuum with furniture cleaning attachments
- Flea bombs
- Fans (optional)
- Cleaning rags
- Flea traps (optional)
Step 1: Get Everyone Out
Flea bombs work by spraying tiny droplets or particles of insecticide into the room and coating all of the surfaces, making it dangerous for living things to be in the home while it is being bombed. Make sure all people and pets are removed from the home before bombing. For fish, turn off any aquarium lighting or filters and cover the tank completely with a drop cloth.
If you live in an apartment, make sure you tell your landlord and all of your neighbors when you will be bombing your apartment. Remember those above and below you, as well as those next to you. Place plastic over the vents in the apartment to prevent the insecticide from traveling to other units and place a rolled up towel along the bottom of your door to keep fumes from seeping into hallways and other common areas.
Step 2: Prepare the Home
Before bombing your home, turn off any pilot lights and turn off the main breaker in your fuse box so there is no electricity flowing into your house. The ingredients in flea bombs are flammable, so it is important to eliminate any potential source of ignition. Place food, cooking utensils, serving utensils, pet food dishes and toiletries inside closed cupboards and drawers to keep toxins off of them. Open closet doors if the closet is used for storage but leave them closed if you have clothing in the closet. Cover sensitive items that may need protection from the insecticide with old newspaper or paper towels. This includes:
- Stereo and other electronic equipment
- Kitchen counters
- Waxed wood floors
- Waxed furniture
- Bed linens
- Children's toys
Close all exterior doors and windows and place signs on them stating that the home is filled with insecticide and dangerous to enter.
Some bug bombs come with door tags you can fill out and hang on your door to let others know it is unsafe to enter the home.
Step 3: Vacuum
Vacuum any carpeted areas of the home, as well as any furniture. This disrupts the fleas and forces them to be active, making the insecticide more likely to reach them.
Step 4: Activate the Bombs
Place one flea bomb in each room that measures 5 feet by 5 feet or larger. Start deploying the canisters, starting in the rooms furthest from the door and working your way out of the house. To activate each bomb, shake the can thoroughly, remove the safety tab on top of the can, and press the button. Place the bomb on a sheet of newspaper on the floor in the center of the room. Set off the last bomb in the room with your exit and promptly leave the home.
- Avoid inhaling the fumes or getting your face in them when you set the active bombs down.
- Do not assume more bombs are better. Use only the minimum number recommended for your space. Too many bombs will release more insecticide than required, potentially harming you when you return to the home or overwhelming you before you can get out.
Step 5: Stay Away
Stay away from your home for at least 2 hours. Some bombs may require you to stay away for up to 8 hours. Read the directions on your bomb carefully so you don't return to the home too early.
Step 6: Ventilate
When returning to the home, open all the windows and exterior doors to ventilate the space. Leave the doors and windows open for at least 30 minutes. Don't attempt to stay inside the home until the smell of insecticide has dissipated. Turn the power back on and use fans to help move air through the house.
Step 7: Clean
Remove the newspaper coverings from your appliances and wipe them down with a damp cloth. Wipe down countertops as well and vacuum or mop the floors to remove any residual insecticide. Wash any clothes or bedding materials that were exposed to the fumes and vacuum your mattresses before sleeping on them.