Home flea remedies can be tricky, but any seasoned warrior knows that understanding your enemy is half of any battle and fleas are no different.
Fleas naturally gravitate to dense areas like grass; unfortunately carpet is the perfect urbanized version of a lush green lawn and your pets are just the perfect hosts to invite fleas into your home.
If fleas aren’t irritating enough on their own by biting you and your pets, they can also carry some nasty diseases, like the bubonic plague.
That alone is more than enough reason to want to end your tentative new friendship with the little buggers.
When waging war on fleas and devising your attack strategies it's important to remember that you'll have to combat several life stages of fleas at once if you want to prevail as the victor.
Home remedies for fleas are really the root of any successful attack and I'll tell you exactly how to get rid of fleas and why it works.
Fleas begin as eggs, hatch into larvae, pupate and then emerge as adult fleas. Each stage lives differently and requires different types of attack to be effective against the infestation, so knowledge is power.
Adult fleas live on hosts like our pets and other animals and they very rarely leave them. While the host animal walks around, precariously laid eggs fall off and find their way into dense habitable areas; grassy areas or deep into carpets and other soft surfaces are ideal areas for eggs to mature.
When the eggs hatch, they search out warm, dark places (like carpet) where the larva live until they pupate and emerge as adults, going off to find a host and raise flea families of their own.
Flea eggs that drop from their parent’s host can take up to two weeks to hatch, the hatch rate can be affected by ambient temperatures; slowing in cool temperatures and speeding up in warmer ones. This means that continuing to take precautions and prolonged use of these flea treatments is vital, even when no adult fleas are visible, for home flea remedies to be successful.
Fleas are a problem best faced with a multifaceted approach. Making sure your yard is clean and free of yard furniture, debris, leaves and keeping grass cut short will reduce the appeal of your yard to flea families looking at real-estate in your area
After all, you may be trying to get them out of your house, but your yard is a great second option for fleas.
Make sure your pets are on a flea medication, preferably one with a double effect method that contains both an adulticide as well as an IGR (insect growth regulator) which inhibits breeding in adult fleas.
With no available host the fleas will eventually die. If possible, limit your pets time outdoors to reduce the risk of reintroducing fleas to your home from the yard or other outside areas.
Having your pet on a vet recommended treatment plan can be a great help to get you ahead of the flea curve. Be sure to talk to your vet about the best course of action for fleas in your area.
Fleas eggs enjoy being deposited in densely planted areas and soft materials. Blankets and clothes tossed on the ground can make a perfect nursery for fallen flea eggs to mature.
Picking up any clutter and washing all soft materials and surfaces with hot water will help to kill the existing eggs while removing areas for new eggs to collect. After everything is washed be sure to store it up in cabinets and drawers.
Consider removing items like throw blankets and pillows for the duration of your home flea treatments, this will reduce the amount of work you need to do. The best home remedy for fleas is removing the places where they like to congregate.
Fleas like carpeted areas, if you’re serious about ridding yourself of your creepy little house guests you'll have to be serious about the cleanliness of your home.
Vacuuming is the most effective way to remove fleas of multiple stages and it’s important to do this chore quickly and often. Remove the bag or chamber outside of your home and empty the contents into a Ziploc bag to insure you’re not just releasing the fleas back into your yard to eventually make their way back into your house.
If you’re serious about getting them out, vacuum as many times a day as possible to see the best results.
It's tempting to go for quick fixes and some people swear by salt, soap and borax solutions sprayed onto your carpet. I'll tell you exactly why that isn’t an effective home remedy for ridding yourself and your home of fleas.
Like I’ve mentioned before, fleas love dense areas. Spraying these solutions onto your carpet makes the fibers of the carpet stick together and attract dirt, creating an impenetrable rainforest-like carpet canopy. This prevents vacuuming from being very effective and protects the flea eggs and larvae living deep inside of your carpet from being sucked into the vortex of your vacuum.
Because the life cycle of fleas takes a while to run its course it’s possible methods like this will only prolong the misery of an infestation while providing fleas with more creature comforts.
Other common solutions like Tea Tree oil may be effective against one life stage but completely useless against another, rendering it overall an ineffective home remedy for fleas on its own. Flea collars also should only be used according to their design and shouldn’t be put into vacuums or worn by people.
By taking a bowl and filling it with a little dawn dish soap and water and placing a candle in the center of a smaller bowl in the middle, you can create a homemade trap for fleas.
Setting it on the carpet (out of the way of kids and pets) will lure many hapless fleas to their doom; the fleas jump for the flame and fall into the water becoming trapped in the soapy solution.
While this isn’t a fix by itself, it’ll absolutely make you feel better to witness some sort of death toll, sustaining your spirits through the war.
Don’t expect any quick fixes with home flea remedies but know that persistence will pay off. It may take anywhere from weeks to months to see any change in the infestation and any home remedy for treating fleas will benefit from prolonged use due to the long-lived life cycle of fleas.
Treating your home, yard and pets simultaneously, reducing clutter and keeping everything clean and vacuumed will be key in ridding yourself of fleas with the home flea remedies I've listed.