If you’ve looked up flea prevention articles before, you know that the most common tip is usually the obvious one of ‘bathing your dog more often’ or ‘washing their bedding more often’. While these tips are factually correct and helpful, they’re not going to be of much help when you’re in the middle of a full blown flea infestation. But have no worries, because in this article we are going to give you 6 useful and actionable steps that make up a comprehensive flea attack plan.
Step 1: Kill Fleas at the Source
You know why the fleas are in your home: your pets. Even if your pets are entirely indoor animals, they may have caught it when accidentally wandering out into the yard or perhaps from other pets during a play date. Regardless, when tackling a flea infestation, you need to first start at the source, or the infestation will recur.
Use a flea comb with a pail filled with hot soapy water. When you comb your pets, focus more on the neck and tail, which fleas gravitate toward. When you catch a few fleas on your comb, drop them into the pail.
Now that you’ve removed the current fleas on your pet (you may need to repeat since there may be flea eggs you missed or fleas already in your home will latch on to your pets once more), you need to speak with a vet regarding flea control services. You should also refer to a specialized guide on how to get rid of fleas on pets. You want a recommendation on safe and effective flea treatments for your pet, which may vary depending on what type of pet you have and the climate you live in. That is why speaking to a vet is the safest choice. Remember that even the best flea treatment is useless if you don’t apply it consistently. Make sure you make it a point to use the flea treatments according to schedule.
Step 2: Preparing for a Thorough House Cleaning
If your flea infestation is serious, you need to be serious about the house cleaning as well, however tedious it may be. First you want to remove as many pieces of furniture or stray items from your carpet as possible; you want to maximize the amount of carpet surface area that your vacuum can access. Furniture that sits flush to the carpet, such as heavy bookshelves with no space underneath can usually be left where they are.
Next, you need to temporarily evacuate all your pets and children, and other family members as well. Cover any water dishes and food bowls, or aquariums if you have them. If your infestation is really serious, throw away your pets’ bedding. If it’s less serious wash thoroughly in the hottest soapy water possible, as you want to get the eggs as well. You’ll have to repeat this process at least weekly for a t least a month or until you are certain that you have eradicated the infestation.
Step 3: Scout Them Out
Time to find out where the critters are. Walk through your house and look for small black specks in your carpet that also move; focus on your pets’ known sleeping areas. Also look at areas where you and your family typically don’t walk through as well as areas that receive a high amount of direct sunlight. Fleas also leave behind dried feces and blood, which is sometimes called ‘flea dirt’, and look like black pepper specks to our naked eye. Removing flea dirt is important because they serve as the flea larvae’s food source.
Step 4: Carpet Flea Removal
Get the most powerful vacuum you can find. Buy a new one if you have to and can afford it. Now thoroughly, and I do mean thoroughly, vacuum your house. Get the necessary attachments to vacuum corners and other hard to reach areas. Make sure you use a new vacuum bag as well. A thorough vacuuming is very important as it sucks up the eggs and larvae that flea removal solutions such as flea traps do not address. Vacuuming also ‘puffs up’ the carpet fibers and makes it more permeable to insecticide solutions applied later on.
Step 5: The Rest of the House
Next up are your floors, vacuum those too. Now all your furniture, from your largest bed and couch to your smallest throw pillow. Repeat this entire vacuuming process at least every other day until the infestation is over. If your infestation is very serious, you may even need to steam clean before vacuuming. This will kill off the adult fleas but some eggs may be missed. After vacuuming get insecticides (you can find them at most hardware stores) and apply as directed in the areas identified in Step 3.
Step 6: Repeat until Mission Accomplished
The hard truth of the matter: depending on the severity of your infestation, you’re simply going to have to keep steam cleaning, vacuuming, and apply insecticides until the problem is over. This may take as little as 10 days or even up to a one month. Remember, perseverance is key.