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Get Rid Of Fleas: Tips & Info

Fleas are one of the bloodsucking species of insects. While certain types confine their feeding to animals, others are equally satisfied with human blood.

Cat and dog fleas resemble each other closely, feed interchangeably on cats or on dogs and are usually found in the Eastern States. The human flea lives on all sorts of animals, wild and domestic, being particularly fond of hogs, in whose litters it will breed prolifically. Sticktights breed on poultry and only occasionally transfer their attention to man.

Scratching A Flea Bite

Scratching A Flea Bite

These insects must have the blood of warm animals to reproduce. Once the eggs are laid, however, it can develop from egg to larva, pupa and adult and continue to live in the latter stage for several weeks with no food at all. They will breed in hordes wherever animals sleep, especially in basements and out-buildings. From there they may be brought into the house on a dog or cat and will migrate upstairs through the various living rooms, where they will cause no end of annoyance and embarrassment.

To get rid of them, it’s imperative that you kill both the adults and the eggs. You must treat your house, your pets and your yard at the same time to prevent one area being a safe haven that allows them to move into another area (after you’ve cleaned it). If you find that you seem to get rid of them all but have them back within a few days, chances are you aren’t getting to all the eggs (they’re hatching after cleanup).

You can buy commercial powders and sprays or mix homemade concoctions for flea control (I have a few recipes below), but if you prefer something natural and is pet & child friendly, consider Diatomaceous Earth. It’s a non-toxic pesticide that can be found in garden centers (look for the food grade stuff). It’s a soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock that is crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth is 86% silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron (Source: Wikipedia [1]).

As I mentioned in a previous article about ant control [2], Diatomaceous Earth is easily picked up by the hairy bodies of most insects, whereupon it scratches through their protective wax layers and they also absorb some of this material. The result being that the insects lose water rapidly, dry up and die. Further protection is provided by the powder’s property of repelling many insects. In houses it can be used effectively to prevent the entry of certain insects such as earwigs, ants, and cockroaches, and to control these and others that are present in cupboards containing food, carpets, basements, attics, window ledges, pet areas (for fleas), etc. In all of these examples it is important to place a small amount of the powder in corners, cracks, crevices and other areas where insects might hide (Source: Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University [3]).

Treatment Of The Home

Determine If Pets Are Infested

As soon as their living areas are free of fleas, the animals themselves should be treated. How can you tell if your dog or cat has them? The first sign is he’ll be very itchy and scratching a lot. You can do this test:

Animal Treatment

Treatment Of Lawns

As a supplementary measure to clearing your home and pets of the infestation, keep the grass cut short as contact with sun and rain kill these critters readily. If these measures still do no good, spread diatomaceous earth around the yard paying attention to shady areas and low shrubbery.

Prevention Tips

Itch Relief (For Humans)

Did You Know

Source: Some of the information above is from Woman’s Home Companion Household Book (1948)