samedi 14 septembre 2013

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Dehumidify your rooms

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    Get one or two dehumidifier(s) depending on the size of your room. A 4x4m room needs a 10L/Day dehumidifier (it removes 10L of water in the air per day). Apparently, fleas require 50% or higher relative humidity to live. Keep the humidity in your room under 50% for 2 days will kill adult fleas and larva, and stop flea eggs from hatching. You just need to vacuum the flea jerky and their eggs.

Cleaning Up Your Home

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    Wash lived-in areas and items. Throw all of the pet bedding in the washing machine and let it go for a deep spin. That includes anything that the pets like to regularly lie or sleep on, which isn't always intended to serve as pet bedding. Wash it all - the bedsheets, the throw on the sofa and the bathroom rug.

    • If the item is not salvageable or the inside of the pet bedding is full of dirt (dander, flea eggs, flea larvae, and flea excrement) best to throw it out and purchase a new bed. Even if you wash the cover and put the inside of the bedding back in the cover the eggs will still hatch.
    • Fleas attack humans, too. If you suspect that you might be a victim of those blood-sucking vermin — even if you don't — you're going to need to wash your sheets and upholstery as well. Anything that you regularly touch is a vector for fleas. Wash it thoroughly.
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    Spray an insect growth regulator (IGR) like methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Room foggers (total release aerosols) aren't as effective as sprays unless they contain an IGR to prevent the larvae from turning into adult fleas. Without IGRs, larvae won't be controlled because they won't be reached at the base of carpet fibers where they develop.

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    Become friends with your vacuum cleaner. While the loose, potentially flea-infested items are being washed, arm yourself with a vacuum and suck the flea life out of every surface, nook and cranny you can find. While you're doing this, send the pet(s) outside, or confine them to the bathroom, so that any fleas they're carrying won't jump onto the surface you just vacuumed.

    • Sticking a flea collar or broken-up mothballs in the vacuum cleaner helps to kill off the buggers that you've sucked up so they can't come back out to haunt you. Fleas mostly won't survive the vacuum, but you want to play it safe.
    • Focus on areas that don't get much exposure to sunlight (fleas like humid and cool spots), anywhere that you find dried blood and feces (flea debris), upholstered furniture, and crevices around baseboards and cabinets (that's where the eggs and larvae are probably hiding).
    • When the vacuum bag is full, seal it in a plastic trash bag and put it in a covered trash container, preferably outside. Otherwise, the little buggers can crawl out and make themselves cozy again.
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    Use botanical dust mixed with Borate acid. An adult flea will live only about a week without blood from its host, while a flea larva can live several months. Treating your house with a safe, natural insecticide like botanical dust and borate helps attacks the larvae as well.
    • Botanical dusts are perhaps the oldest natural insecticides. Borates are minerals that are used widely as wood preservatives, detergents, and insecticides, acting as stomach poisons to fleas. They have low toxicity and are safe to use around humans.
    • While the botanical dust and borate mixture is very safe, care should be taken not to breathe it in. Use a mask when applying the dust mixture in the home.
    • You should dust the carpet, the furniture, the bed, the dog of cat's bed. It's good to do this when you're leaving your house for a good while, say 24 hours. When you come back, either vacuum and wash the sheets on both beds, or simply wash the sheets and leave much of the borate mixture in the carpet as a deterrent to future flea reproduction. (It is safe.)
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    Reclaim your back yard. Before letting the pet(s) outside, prune foliage and trim grass to expose flea larvae to sunlight. Look around. Do you see any dark, moist spots? Find a way to expose them to sunlight if you can.

    • Even after you have exposed these places to the sunlight, you may find that your pets are still bringing in fleas from outside. The best way that you can solve this dilemma is to use either cedar wood chips or Eucalyptus leaves. Fleas hate them, and they are all-natural, so you won't contaminate nearby plants (and other useful insects) or even run the risk of harming your pet.
    • Purchase cedar wood chips from your nearby convenience store and spread them over the affected areas. If your dog can stand it, place cedar wood chips in its kennel. Place eucalyptus oil in affected areas. You can even plant eucalyptus bushes, although they grow quite robustly and can negatively affect the ability of other plants to grow around it. 
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    Fill shallow bowls of water with dish detergent. This is pretty much a homemade flea trap. The water and dish detergent mixture is like a toxic swimming pool for fleas. Fleas, lured in by a light source, jump into the water and cannot escape.

    • Place the water and detergent mixture in a very shallow bowl, low enough to the ground so that the fleas accidentally hop into it. An old frisbee or low-walled bowl does the job quite well.
    • Place the mixture next to a low-hanging light source, preferably something a little stronger than a night-light. The fleas are attracted to the light. After a few days, you should begin to notice that your bowl has turned into a flea cemetery.

Giving Your Pet a Bath

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    Choose a flea shampoo carefully. Anything with conventional insecticides (pyrethrins, permethrin, d-limonene, chlorpyrifos, or carbaryl) might irritate or harm your pet and the people around it.

    • Instead, try natural insecticides or flea irritants. They shouldn't harm your pet but will be mighty nasty for fleas. Make sure to check with your vet first, though. Here's a list of insecticides or irritants you could consider:
      • Rosemary oil
      • Eucalyptus oil
      • Citrus oil
      • Cedar oil (toxic to cats)
      • Tea tree oil (toxic to cats)
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    Wash the neck first. This way, fleas don't jump up to the head during the bath.

    • When fleas sense water, they immediately seek cover in dry, hard-to-reach places on your pet. So it's a good idea to at least wet, if not clean, the rectum, ears, eye cavity, and neck before getting the entire body wet.
    • For extra security, keep lathering up your pet for up to 15 minutes. 5 minutes is the minimum time needed to begin killing off the fleas, but 15 minutes is the safe bet.
    • Rinse your pet under warm/lukewarm water for several minutes, making sure to cleanse the soap from its skin and soak the remaining potential hiding places for fleas.
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    Apply a flea-killing product. This could be a flea-collar, a spot-on, or oral medication. Prescription strength (from a vet) spot-on treatments usually work best.

    • If the collar contains only insect growth regulator (which prevents larvae from turning into adults, but does not affect the existing adults), use another treatment such as a spot-on product, to control adult fleas. Collars can be irritating to the pet's skin and are sometimes ineffective.
    • The following products are not considered to be effective: Vitamin B1 (thiamine hycrochloride) supplements, herbal collars and ultrasonic devices.
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    Use a fine-toothed comb specifically designed to remove fleas. A flea is covered with tiny hairs that allow them to "grip" onto the host's fur. Using a comb with teeth that are close enough together that the flea can't slip through is the most effective way to dislodge them. A comb designed for another purpose or a brush won't remove all the fleas.

Natural Ways to Remove Fleas

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    Use yeast as a weapon. Fleas reportedly don't like the taste of yeast. Although this has not been proven, many people swear by it. Buy some brewer's or nutritional yeast and rub it onto your pet's skin. You can also sprinkle a small amount onto their wet food and mix it in.

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    Make your own herbal flea dip for pets. Take two cups of fresh rosemary leaves and add them to two pints of water. Boil for thirty minutes. Strain the liquid, discard the leaves and mix it with up to a gallon of warm water. Pour this over your pet until they are saturated. Do not rinse off, but allow your pet to air dry.

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    Spread salt over the surface of your carpet. Salt is a desiccant, meaning it saps the moisture from things and dries them out. When a salt crystal attaches itself to a flea, it will attach itself to the flea. This causes chafing and scraping on the flea, essentially bleeding the flea to death as it walks.

    • Use very fine-grained salt for this. The finer the better; you want it to be small enough to attach itself to the flea.
    • After 7-10 days, vacuum the salted area very thoroughly, making sure to pick up all the salt and flea carcasses from the carpet area. Repeat the process one or two more times.
    • When you're done vacuuming, discard the old vacuum bag from the vacuum and replace it with a new one. Seal the discarded vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard outside the house.
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    Make a citrus spray. Slice a lemon thinly, add to a pint of water and heat to a boiling point. Let it sit overnight and in the morning, put the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray it onto areas where you suspect fleas hang out (beware of staining). Be sure to also rub it over your cat's fur. Don't soak, but dampen the fur. Do this once a month to combat fleas.

    • Another way to make a citrus spray is to buy essential oils (available at natural food stores); you can buy a bottle of lemon oil and add 10-20 drops per ounce of water.
    • This is something to do on a hot day only: Add 2 to 3 drops of the lemon mixture under your pet's collar to help keep fleas off.
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    Consider using Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous Earth is a widely available, low cost, organic powder that kills fleas and most insects when applied to your yard or carpets.

    • It's food-grade, meaning it is safe for humans and animals to ingest. Diatomaceous Earth works by puncturing the exoskeleton of the insects, causing them to dry out. 
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    Follow up. This is the most critical step because if you skimp on it, all your efforts from your previous steps will be undone. The eggs that survived will hatch, and the entire cycle will begin again. Do the following until you find no traces of fleas on your pets or in your home:

    • Vacuum thoroughly every other day. Since fleas can develop resistance to insecticides, vacuuming regularly is essential in order to bring them under control.
    • Mow the lawn regularly.
    • Wash pet bedding in hot, soapy water at least once a week.

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