Fleas are a dark, reddish brown, wingless insect, about an 1/8 inch long with a hard body that is hard to crush between the fingers. It has three pairs of legs and is flattened either vertically or side to side, allowing it to easily move among the hair, fur or feathers. It is an excellent jumper and can leap up to seven inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally--the human equivalent would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally. Ridding the home of these pests can be difficult, but it can be done with a few natural remedies.
Natural Remedies for Flea Infestation
Feed the pet either Brewer's yeast or garlic throughout the flea season, which runs from March to September. They make your pet's blood taste bad and unappealing to fleas. Use a fine-tooth comb and keep a bucket of soapy water nearby. Run the comb through the fur and then immediately hold the comb in the soapy water; it will drown the fleas. Use your nails to remove the fleas from the comb. Mix jojoba, emu and neem oils and extra virgin olive oil with a few drops of tea tree oil; add a tablespoon of golden seal extract and organic white vinegar and water. Mix well and then massage into the pet's fur; do not rinse out. Repeat one or two times a week, depending on the outbreak. Bathe your pet using an herbal shampoo that contains a combination of any of the following: citronella, juniper, pine cedar, bergamet, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender or rosemary. Before wetting down the pet, pour a thick layer of the shampoo all around the head and neck area; fleas don't like to get wet so they head for higher ground. Pour small amounts of water with your hand to build up a thick soapy barrier that will kill the fleas that attempt to pass through it. Wet down and lather up the rest of the pet's body while frequently massaging and re-lathering the neck. Fleas are difficult to kill, and it is better to to take care of the problem with one good bath instead of several baths. Leave the shampoo on for at least 15 minutes or more and continue to massage the soap deep into the fur. Rinse thoroughly and dry off well.
Flea infestations in the home
If you have an infestation in your home, mix together 1 1/2 pounds of diatomaceous earth, either pulverized or ground, 1 1/2 pounds of natural borax and one cup of salt. Do not use the earth and borax that can be purchased from a pool store, use the products that can be found at a local garden store instead. The diatomaceous earth contains very tiny particles that have sharp spines that can puncture the fleas' hard shell. The borax and salt absorb the moisture of the flea. Sprinkle throughout the home and onto the carpets and hard-to-reach areas and allow it to sit for a couple of days. The powder is not poisonous, but it should not be breathed in by pets or humans. If it is possible to stay somewhere else for a few days, it is recommended. If leaving is not a possibility, you can pour the mixture into the vacuum cleaner bag and vacuum thoroughly so that any fleas that are caught will die inside the bag. Unhatched eggs will not be killed, so you may need to repeat this process a few times depending on the severity of the problem.