If you’ve started to notice more bites on your body than you’d normally get from mosquitos, if you’ve got a weird itch all over your body, or if you see little bugs jumping around on the couch or on your clothes, it’s very likely that you have fleas in your house.
Anyone who lives with dogs understands that there’s a risk of a parasite infestation, but make no mistake: you can get fleas in your house without pets. Fleas love to feed on human blood, too.
Here, we’ll explain how to tell if you have fleas in your house, and, of course, what to do to get them out. Keep in mind that fleas reproduce at an astonishing rate, and in a few days you’ll have a full-blown infestation if you don’t take action to get rid of them.
How to tell if you have fleas in your house
Whether or not you have animals at home, you could end up with an infestation. Fleas can jump on your clothes while you’re outside, minding your own business, and set up shop in your house without you even realizing it. In a few weeks, they will have reproduced to the point that you won’t just have a few fleas, but a veritable plague of fleas.
The most common way to see if you have fleas is from the bites you’ll see on your body. Unlike mosquitos, which only bite once to feed, fleas tend to bite in groups of three. In other words, if you find three bites on your body that are quite close to each other, they are most likely flea bites and not mosquito bites.
Another way to figure it out is just by looking. Fleas are tiny parasites, barely a few millimeters in size, and dark colored. They move very fast and can jump great distances. If you take a look at your sofa, rugs, bed, or clothing and see bugs that fit this description, rest assured… they’re fleas.
Something else that can be a sign of fleas is your dog. Fleas prefer to feed on dogs before humans, so if your dog is constantly scratching himself, he probably has fleas.
Adult fleas will die within a week if they can’t feed, but flea eggs and larvae can survive many months. Even if you think there aren’t any fleas, there could be eggs and larvae waiting for the right moment to start developing and spread through your entire house.
How to get fleas out of the house
The first thing you need to do is disinfect and protect your dog so that the fleas can’t live or feed on him. There are several ways to get rid of fleas on dogs, both natural and chemical, but if you’ve got an infestation we recommend you start directly with the chemical products, such as flea collars and pipettes.
The best way to remove fleas from your dog, as well as any flea eggs and larvae, is to thoroughly bathe him with a special flea shampoo that you can buy from any veterinary clinic.
Once your dog is flea-free and protected so that they can’t come back, it’s time to eliminate the fleas from your house. Remember that you can’t just get rid of the adult fleas—it’s just as important to eliminate the flea eggs and larvae.
Techniques to get rid of adult fleas, eggs and larvae
The best way to get these annoying pests out is with a deep cleaning. Dust all your furniture and thoroughly vacuum the whole house several times a day for a week.
Flea larvae feed on dust and excrement from other insects. For this reason, if you vacuum often, you won’t just be taking away their food source, but you’ll probably suck them up too, substantially reducing their numbers.
Vacuum the floor, the rugs, the dog’s bed, the lower parts of furniture, and anywhere they could conceivably get to. After each cleaning, remove the vacuum bag and throw it away to prevent the larvae from escaping and establishing themselves in your home again.
Wash all of your clothes and bed linens in the washer with very hot water, several times to be absolutely sure. Extremely hot water kills flea eggs and larvae. Keep in mind that some of your clothes might shrink… but it’s a risk you’ll have to take, because having a flea infestation is much worse.
Mop your floors with bleach to kill any eggs and larvae that might be there. Avoid doing it with your dog nearby, as bleach is toxic.
Home remedies to get fleas out of the house
There are a few tricks you can use to make life difficult for fleas in your house and solve your flea problem. Once you’ve finished the previous step, vacuuming and washing your clothes, it’s time to move on to home remedies for fleas.
Find a health food store and buy neem oil and cedar bark. If you live near a park or forest with cedar trees, you can get some bark there. Dilute a tablespoon of neem oil in a liter of hot water and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle. Spray the solution all over the house, especially on the sofa, carpets, and anything with fabric.
Take the pieces of cedar bark and distribute them throughout the house. You can put them on top of and under the couch, on top of and under the bed, on furniture, etc. Fleas hate neem oil and cedar bark, making them natural flea repellents. These are the best home remedies to eliminate fleas from your home, but they’re not the only ones. Read on for more.
Place several shallow bowls on the floor all over the house. Pour equal parts water and apple cider vinegar into the bowls, and leave them there for a few days. The fleas will be attracted to the liquid and unwittingly fall into the bowl, getting stuck and eventually drowning.
You can and should also use this mixture to mop all your floors every day for one week. Pour equal parts water and apple cider vinegar in the bucket, and use this solution to clean the floors.
Placing certain aromatic plants throughout the house can also help you repel fleas. Plants such as thyme, basil, citronella and mint act as natural repellents.
Major flea problem at home. How to exterminate them?
If the infestation is serious enough that you can’t control it yourself, or it just makes you shudder to think of spending one more day with them in your home… the best solution is to seek professional help or to use more potent chemical products.
Hiring a specialized company is the best option. Professional exterminators will ask that you take your dog and leave the house for a few hours while they apply a highly toxic gas or chemical to kill the fleas.
All of the fleas, larvae and eggs will die, and after a few hours the poison will no longer be dangerous to you or your dog (that’s why they ask you to leave). This is the most effective option for uncontrollable flea infestations at home.
However, you can also buy chemical products and flea traps yourself and use them in your house. But remember, these products are also dangerous for your dog. Use extreme caution so that neither dogs nor children touch, play with or ingest this poison.
If you decide to set out your own traps and poison, you need to leave them there for at least a month. This is because the larvae and eggs can start developing on a staggered timeline.
Tips – Conclusions
Dealing with a small infestation of fleas is simple; just follow the steps outlined here, and they’ll soon disappear. But if you’ve got a major problem, it really is worth it to hire a professional.
The best way to prevent a flea infestation in your house is by keeping your dogs protected. After all, prevention is the best medicine, and a flea and tick collar can last three months. Combined with monthly pipettes, your dog will be practically 100% protected.