Aarghhhhh its that time of year again when fleas are causing havoc on our pets and in our houses! So in order to help control the situation you first need to understand a little about the flea.....
I remember seeing 'dust' once on Coco’s hind quarter – couldn’t see any fleas but noticed she was scratching and had little speckles of dirt in her fur, which I thought was odd. Upon a bit of research I discovered that this was the tell-tale sign of a flea. Did you know that flea dust is one of the most common allergens to pets?
The life of a flea:
Fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day!!! These eggs drop off to grow in our carpets for 1-3 weeks before cocooning - everything an egg needs to live off is in our carpets – warmth, moisture, dust! Once the flea senses a food source (you or your pet) they hatch, jump on and so the cycle continues! So lets look at the food source – your carpet.
Do this test first to see what you may be dealing with:
At night place a dish on the carpet filled with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Place a lamp over the dish and leave this on overnight. The dishwashing liquid softens the water tension so when the flea jumps towards the light they land are trapped and sink into the liquid. This will give you an indication of just how big or little the problem may be.
Sprinkling baking soda on the carpet draws out the moisture and acts as a deodorizer at the same time. Warmth and moisture are the fleas happy place so this can inhibit them. Adding a few drops of essential lavender oil deters the eggs going there in the first place as lavender is an insect deterrent - they hate the smell. (Remember your grandmother putting lavender in the wardrobe? This was to keep the moths away, same principle!)
Use a sugar-sprinkling canister with a mesh lid, fill with baking soda, add 4-6 drops lavender essential oil and sprinkle over the carpets! Leave this on for at least 8 hours – 24 hours is better – then vacuum up.
Warning if you own a cat: Do not use lavender oil if you have a cat! Lavender essential oil like most essential oils are toxic to cats – due to the cat's physiology they lack the ability to eliminate some of the compounds and these toxins can build up. Never use essential oils around cats.
The sun also draws out the moisture! So an area that receives approx. 6 hours of sun per day is usually enough to make this area inhospitable to fleas. If you can, air items in the sun on a regular basis to help create an inhospitable environment.
Using A HEPA filter vacuum cleaner is the better choice if you have pets. With the HEPA style these vacuums trap approx. 90% of the dust you vacuum up. The older style vacuums stir up the dust and just help to spread it around the room further!
‘The vacuum is full - i'ts time to empty it. ” DON’T do this inside! Dispose of the contents in your outside bin (not your inside bin!). Take your vacuum cleaner outside, if you have a chamber type - dampen the chamber as you empty it - this will contain the eggs and stop them escaping - wrap all the dust in a bag and place in your bin with a lid on.Other Tips:
- Regular vacuuming and washing of the pet's bedding and soft toys is important too.
- Wash your dog with a neem based natural soap as neem is a natural insect deterrent.
- Spot check your pet at regular intervals, look for dust not just fleas. Most pets are allergic to the dust not the actual flea biting. The dust can create some terrible rash outbreaks - exacerbated by your pet licking, biting and scratching and the reaction can be immediate.
Floorboards can also harbour flea eggs so a quick wash with lavender essential oil in vinegar and water does the trick
Having Eezapet on hand is a life saver. As soon as any itching is shown - apply Eezapet to stop the scratching - this will stop the rash becoming full blown with the need of another vet trip!
You will need to address the flea situation to stop this allergen from continually affecting your pet though.
The photo is Coco from Animal Services in Wgtn who had a terrible flea allergy and infestation! Eezapet was used on the poor girl to clear it up and removing her from that environment was the control.