For extensive flea infestations (multiple areas in the house)
Best all-round combination: Pest control services + flea spray + flea tablets*
Most cost-effective combination (do-it-yourself): Fogging + flea spray + flea tablets*
For minor flea infestations (an isolated location)
Ideal combination for minor flea infestation: Vacuuming + flea spray + flea tablets*
Personally, we suggest trying out this method first since it’s the least intrusive and can be done in a single day.
*tablets are needed only if you have pets
1. Pest Control Services – Works best for extensive infestations. Cost can go up to $100 or more if multiple sessions are required over a few days. Complete eradication of fleas in your house. Pest control services do not offer long-term protection if you have pets, as they’ll tend to attract fleas over time, so make sure you use flea sprays and tablets as well. After a pest control session is over, use some flea spray and flea tablets for your pets right away before letting them back into the house.
For pest control services, click here.
2. Flea Sprays – Flea sprays can be used on both pets and furniture (carpets, rugs, couch, bedding – both your pet and yours, blankets, pillows). These sprays will kill most types of fleas, including their eggs, upon contact. Use this in combination with flea tablets so that any new adult fleas that hop onto your pet will die off almost immediately too. If you kill off all the eggs and adult fleas simultaneously, the flea cycle will be broken.
If you have pets, you can use this on them in addition to flea tablets for optimal results.
This is the flea spray I used and personally recommend: Vet’s Best Flea Home Spray. It costs a mere 9 bucks and is apparently made of natural ingredients, which is great for those averse to chemical products.
3. Flea Tablets – Flea tablets are pills fed to your dogs or cats. Any fleas that are biting your pets will start dropping like flies. Results are quick and extremely effective, often within 30 minutes. Please note however that flea tablets only last for a day, only kills adult fleas and is not a long-term preventative measure. So, if you feed your dog one of these pills today and decide to bring it to the dog park tomorrow, you’ll have to feed it another pill once you’re back from the park.
Once you have a controlled flea-free environment, you really only need to use flea tablets, if and when needed, such as when your pet returns from a vet clinic, a pet grooming salon, a pet hotel or a pet park.
Use this in combination with flea sprays to kill off eggs too, since tablets only kill off adult fleas.
These are the flea tablets I used and personally recommend: Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets. A 6-dose package for small dogs costs around $25, while for bigger dogs, it costs around $30. Make sure you pick the appropriate dosage based on the size of your dogs or cats.
4. Fogging – Fogging is very effective because even the hard-to-reach places will be cleared of fleas. This technique is often used by pest exterminators themselves too, but only for really bad infestations because of the inconvenience it puts you in. You might have to do this more than once too.
You’ll have to cover up exposed food, utensils and dishes, disable your smoke alarms temporarily, shut all the windows and doors, and leave your house together with your pet (if any) for a couple of hours. After the fogging is over, you’ll have to re-open all the windows and doors and air your house for about 2 hours before going in again. You’ll tend to see many other dead bugs all around your house as they leave their nests in their attempts to escape the fog and die.
This is the fogger I’ve used and recommend: Hot Shot No-Mess Fogger. It should only cost around $10 for a 3-can fogger. If you live in a bigger house, you’ll probably need more than that. Although 1 can supposedly covers 2000 cubic feet, I used 1 can per room just to be safe. Be prepared to come back to a looooooot more dead bugs than just fleas.
5. Vacuuming – If fogging sounds like too much of a hassle, vacuuming works to a certain extent as well.
If you have a strong enough vacuum, you can actually vacuum up even the eggs wherever it passes over. Just make sure you cover as much space as is possible. Vacuum the carpets, curtains, under your furniture, beds and also any cracks or crevices in the floorboards and baseboards. Attach a vacuum nozzle for areas that are harder to reach into.
After vacuuming, carefully detach the vacuum cleaner bag and discard it, preferably into a bin outside your house to prevent any risk of re-infestation.
After the vacuum session, use flea spray on all the vacuumed areas just in case you missed some of these bugs and their eggs.
How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs & Cats
Dogs and cats are the perfect hosts for fleas because their coat provides a good hiding and feeding spot for the insects.
1. Dust their Coat with Diatomaceous EarthThis isn’t an immediate fix but dusting your pet’s coat with food-grade diatomaceous earth could be one way of getting rid of fleas that are plaguing your dog or cat. Pour some of the powder on your hand then rub it gently on your pet’s body.
Make sure the powder doesn’t get into your pet’s nose, mouth, or ears. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a natural, non-toxic powder but it may cause respiratory issues (e.g. lung irritations) if a large amount gets inside the body. While it may look harmless, diatomaceous earth can easily kill fleas by piercing and drying out the insect’s exoskeleton.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth has a drying effect so it shouldn’t be applied too often. You may also want to consult with your vet to confirm it won’t lead to any major reactions from your pet.
2. Use a High-Quality Flea CombFlea combs have thin metal teeth that are designed to easily pick out fleas and flea nits. A good-quality flea comb, such as the SAFARI flea comb, should also be able to also pick out the tiny specks of flea dirt embedded in your pet’s fur or hair.
You may want to lie on a bright-colored towel and have a bucket of soapy water next to you when you are combing your flea-infested dog or cat. This is to help you identify any fleas that try to make an escape. Catch any escaping fleas and drop them into the bucket.
When combing your dog or cat, start from the head and gradually make your way down to the bottom. This is to prevent escaping fleas from jumping into your pet’s ears and mouth.
3. Wash Your Pet with Soapy WaterSoapy water could be used as an occasional alternative to flea shampoo. Create the solution by mixing two or three drops of dish soap into a bucket of warm water. Next, carefully lather up your pet’s body and make sure the soapy solution doesn’t get into your pet’s eyes or ears.
The water alone should be enough to kill the fleas, but adding dish soap could reduce the flea’s likelihood of survival by clogging up their exoskeleton.
Like diatomaceous earth, dish soap shouldn’t be used on your dog or cat too often. It can dry out your pet’s coat and potentially cause skin irritation problems. Make sure you rinse your pet well after they have been lathered up.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in the House
Pet owners who are dealing with flea infestations must also pay attention to certain sections of their house. Fleas can hide in many spaces, including the carpet and indoor plants.
4. Set up a Flea Light TrapYou will need a lamp and a bowl of soapy water for this simple flea trap. First, identify areas of your home where the fleas are appearing. Next, place the bowl of soapy water next to the infested areas. Position the lamp so that the bulb is a few inches above the bowl.
The goal of this trap is to encourage the fleas to jump into the soapy water by using the light as an attraction. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, which causes the fleas to quickly drown. This trap works best when the area is dark so set it up just before you head to bed.
5. Steam Clean Carpets and Upholstered FurnitureFleas like to hide in carpets and upholstered furniture such as sofas and beds. Get a steam cleaner (many home improvement stores also rent out steam cleaners) and run it where necessary. Don’t forget to run it on the pet bed as well.
Once you are done steaming, run the vacuum cleaner to get rid of as many dead (and alive) fleas and flea eggs. Don’t leave any stones unturned. The vacuum doesn’t actually kill any fleas so make sure you dispose the vacuum bag as soon as you are done cleaning.
6. Apply Diatomaceous Earth on CarpetsYou can also apply food-grade diatomaceous earth on flea-infested carpets. Sprinkle a generous amount of powder on the carpet then use a brush to scrub the powder into the carpet. Leave the powder there for a day or two before you use a vacuum to clear it away.
Borax is often suggested as an alternative to diatomaceous earth. It has a similar effect but we don’t recommend pet owners using it as it could be harmful to dogs and cats (if there were to accidentally consume a large amount of it).
How to Get Rid of Fleas in the Yard
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to maintain a yard that’s completely pest-free, but there are steps you can take to discourage fleas from making your yard their safe haven.
7. Apply Natural Flea SprayApply eco-friendly flea control products on your yard, such as the Wondercide natural flea spray. These products leverage natural ingredients, such as cedar oil, that have pest-repelling effects. The spray is safe to use around pets and children.
8. Apply Beneficial Nematodes to the SoilBeneficial nematodes are one of the most cost-effective ways of controlling outdoor flea infestations. Nematodes are microscopic worms that feast on ground-living organisms like flea larvae. The one downside is that they don’t discriminate. The nematodes may also feast on soil-dwelling beneficial insects.
How to Prevent a Flea Infestation
Prevention is the most effective form of pest control. Here are some tips on preventing fleas from getting on your pets, or from getting inside your house and yard.
- Keep the lawn short: fleas like to hide in environments with tall grass because they provide moisture, shelter, and shade. Discourage the fleas from staying in your yard by mowing the lawn on a regular basis.
- Form a yard barrier: discourage fleas from entering your yard by removing any objects that may act as flea bridges. This could include patches of tall grass and bushes.
- Inspect your pets: did your dog or cat spend some time outside? Do thorough examinations of your pet before you let them inside the house. You should also comb them frequently, especially during flea season.
- Vacuum regularly: don’t give the flea eggs an opportunity to hatch inside your home. Many people think their flea problems are over once they have removed all the adult fleas. That unfortunately isn’t the case. The possibility of another flea infestation will always remain until the eggs are removed.
- Reduce the dampness: fleas like humid environments. You could make your home less-welcoming for fleas by using a dehumidifier in enclosed spaces, such as the closet.
There are no quick fixes with flea infestations. They are long-term battles that’ll take a lot of effort and diligence. For obvious reasons, natural pest control solutions don’t have as quick of an impact that pesticide does so you may need to be patient with some of the above remedies.
We also advise pet owners to consult with their vets first before they try any form of pest control solution on their dogs or cats.
Other Flea Resources
Last Modified on 27/11/2018 | Author: Sam Choan
Not All Flea Treatments Work The Same
When it comes to picking a flea treatment you have a ton of options. There’s prescription medications, IGRs (insect growth regulators), sprays, foggers, collars and spot on treatments. And while having all those options is good it does make the process of trying to choose the right one confusing to say the least.
I’m not here to tell you what treatment to use to get rid of fleas, but I am here to tell you that the vast majority of them don’t disrupt the flea life cycle completely. IGRs for example will kill adult fleas, eggs and larva, but they don’t effect the pupa stage. Those pupa can hatch, and a few weeks after treating your dog with an IGR you may notice fleas starting to show up again. That doesn’t mean IGRs and other flea treatments are useless because they will kill adult fleas — it just means that we need to treat the environment as well if we want to get rid of the eggs, larva and pupa.
So how do you treat the environment? A lot of cleaning and vacuuming. It sounds simple I know, but it is effective at picking up all those nasty little eggs, larva & pupa those fleas have left behind. As soon as you’ve treated your dog for fleas it’s time to start cleaning your floors, focusing heavily on the areas where your dog spends a lot of time.
If you have fleas in your home you have my permission to freak out a little. I know I did. But don’t fret too much — you can get rid of them as long as you remember to treat your home as well as treating your dog.
If you spot fleas on your dog remember that only a small proportion are on your dog at any given time. The eggs, larvae, and pupa are actually found on the ground, often embedded in carpet and other places where your dog spends a lot of time.
Instead of just focusing on the visible fleas you need to eliminate all those little nasty eggs, larvae & pupa they left behind. If you’re only killing adult fleas it’s just a matter of time before all the eggs hatch into a whole new infestation.