One common problem of pet owners and homeowners is the infestation of small blood-sucking fleas. These wingless insects attack warm-blooded vertebrates including humans, cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, ferrets, chicken, and mice. Besides giving irritating discomfort to humans and pets, fleas can also cause skin problems and diseases. Flea bite can progress to allergy dermatitis, secondary skin irritations, and other skin problems to both humans and pets. Too much blood lost due to flea feeding can result to anemia. Fleas can also be vectors of different parasitic organisms such as bubonic plague bacteria (Yersinia pestis), tapeworms, trypanosome protozoan, and myxomatosis virus. Pets like cats and dogs are the common hosts as they frequently play around places where adult fleas and their eggs are found. The general health and well-being of pets are negatively affected by these tiny blood-sucking vampires.
There are different chemical pesticides for fleas available in the market. But many homeowners and pet owners are looking for natural ways to kill fleas knowing that chemical pesticides are harmful to both animals and humans. Solving flea problem doesn’t just involve killing the fleas in your pets; though it is the first stem. The second step is to get rid of the fleas in your house and the third step is to prevent flea re-infestation. These steps can be done naturally without using harmful insecticides.
Getting Rid of Fleas at Your Pets
If your dog or cat looks very uncomfortable and frequently scratches different parts of its body, you should begin checking out its hair for the presence of adult fleas, eggs, or feces. The adult flea is dark colored and wingless. It feeds on animal blood, different from its larval form which feeds on organic matter like feces of mature fleas. The eggs are white and oval-shaped. You can notice them attached to the hairs. The feces look like small black tiny pebbles in your pet’s fur. If you notice any of these symptoms of flea infestations, be ready on eradicating the fleas.
Using herbal shampoo is a natural way of killing fleas in your pets. Use pet shampoos that contain, pine cedar, rosemary, bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, citronella, geranium, and juniper. Massage the shampoo deep into your pet’s fur; focus on parts where you saw a large number of adult fleas but don’t forget to put shampoo in all its body parts. Leave the shampoo suds for at least 15 minutes or more while continuing to massage the shampoo to your pet. Rinse your pet thoroughly and dry it off well.
After giving your pet a bath, the next thing to do is to remove the eggs. The shampoo may have killed the fleas but not the eggs. Use a fine toothed comb to capture eggs and remaining fleas from your pet. Since the comb is fine toothed, adult fleas and their eggs will get stuck into it. Don’t just throw away or wipe the eggs and fleas that you will capture. Rinse the comb off in a cup of water to remove the eggs and fleas. Dispose the water properly by flashing it to the toilet bowl. Comb your pet regularly until it no longer have fleas or flea eggs.
Getting Rid of Fleas at Your Home
If your pets have fleas, most likely your home is infested with mature fleas, flea larvae, and of course eggs. These blood suckers could transfer from your pet into the floor, carpet, sofa, bed, etc.. Don’t be surprised when you notice bite marks and rashes in your skin when you wake up in the morning. You will never eradicate fleas in your pet if you have fleas roaming around your house because they could always return back to your pet. One female flea can produce up to 20,000 eggs within three months. This figure shows how fast fleas reproduce given the right conditions. If you know you have fleas around, you should act immediately before their number grows exponentially.
To start the clean up, you need to purchase diotomaceous earth, natural borax, and salt. Then mix 1 cup of salt, 1 ½ pounds of natural borax, and 1 ½ pounds of diotomaceous earth. How can these things kill fleas? Well, the salt and borax dehydrates fleas while the very tiny diotomaceous earth punctures the flea using its sharp spines. After mixing them up, sprinkle them in the carpet, in cracks, harder to reach areas, and places where your pets stay. You should keep away your pets as the mixture can irritate sensitive parts of their body. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of days and then vacuum it up. The vacuum cleaner sucks the mixture, fleas, larvae, and eggs. Take note that regular vacuuming greatly helps in eliminating fleas and eggs even without using the mixture. Dispose waste collected by the vacuum cleaner properly to prevent reintroduction of the pests to your home.
You can also use flea traps which you can purchase in online and offline pet stores. You can make a flea trap yourself. Get a shallow pan half-filled with soapy water and place it on the floor with a lamp shining over it. Because fleas are attracted to heat, they jump at the lamp and land in water. It would be hard for them to bounce out since the soap breaks surface tension.
Regular house cleaning help prevent the spread of fleas in your home.
Flea Re-Infestation Prevention
Maintaining your pet’s hygiene is a great way to prevent flea re-infestation. Check your pet regularly for possible signs of flea attack. Use herbal sprays with pine cedar, rosemary, bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, citronella, lemon, geranium, and juniper flavors to drive away fleas which naturally dislike their aroma. Maintain your pet’s nutrition to help it fight fleas by giving nutritious and immune-boosting foods. Add garlic and brewer’s yeast to your pet’s diet as these provide distinctive skin odor that fleas find very unattractive. Avoid your pet’s exposure to soil and dirty places to prevent their exposure to fleas, larvae, and eggs.
To drive away fleas in your house surrounding, plant fleabane daisy (Erigeron speciosus). This annual plant can grow up to 16-24” tall and produce violet flowers. Other garden plants that you can plant to repel the blood suckers include catnip, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, garlic, citronella, camomile, sage, rue, lemmongrass, fleawort, wormwood, sweet bay, and tansy.
About the Author