If you have a dog or cat in your home, you may encounter a flea problem at one time or another. Fleas are one of the more annoying home pests since they bite animal and human alike and leave itchy, red welts. Pesticide bombs are the most common method of flea removal and are usually effective. However, they utilize strong chemicals and require that you vacate your home for a period of time. Fortunately, there are other ways to remove fleas from your home without relocating to a hotel. These alternative methods may require more time, so be patient.
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A variety of pesticide sprays is designed to kill fleas and is suitable for use in the home. The active ingredients to look for are resmethrin and permethrin, which are not meant to be used directly on dogs or cats. Sprays are an effective option for hard-to-reach areas of your home, such as crevices along molding or cracks in the wall that cannot otherwise be reached. For the most effective results, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the spray in conjunction with other flea removal methods. Sprays should be applied over a seven to 10 day period to ensure that the majority of fleas are killed. You can use many of the sprays several times a day, but consult the label instructions to determine if this is advisable.
Combining a household pesticide spray with thorough vacuuming is an effective method for removing fleas from your home. Vacuum all areas of your home where fleas might gather, such as carpets, drapes and upholstered furniture. If your vacuum has a hose attachment, use it to cover cracks and crevices in the floors and walls as well. For the most effective results, vacuum every few days for the same seven to 10 day period that you apply the pesticide spray. After vacuuming, throw away the bag so fleas do not have a chance to reinfest your home.
Just as you would with rodents or roaches, you can set up traps to get rid of fleas. There are several brands of flea traps on the market that can be effective, but you can also make your own. Fill a large, casserole-style dish with a mixture of water and dishwashing detergent. Fleas are drawn to light and heat, so arrange a small desk lamp beside the dish so the light shines across the water. Fleas will be attracted to the light, jump into the water and drown. Set up the trap in an area where you suspect fleas are gathering, such as beside your bed or couch, and leave it out overnight. You will be able to tell if the trap was successful because dead fleas will float on the surface. Be aware that these traps will only get rid of adult fleas and will not remove larvae or eggs that may also be in your home.
If you prefer a natural insecticide to get rid of your fleas, opt for diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a white powder made of the fossilized remains of single-celled organisms known as diatoms. Its abrasive texture is harmful to insects that have an exoskeleton, like fleas. You can find diatomaceous earth at many health food stores. Sprinkle the powder on your carpet, upholstered furniture or any other areas that you suspect may be infested with fleas. Vacuum the following day to remove any dead fleas that may be trapped in the fibers.