Aphaniptera, or the flea, is a wingless insect that lives by sucking the blood of mammals such as dogs, cats, rats and humans. These parasites have skin-piercing mouths and long hind legs for jumping. They are hard to kill and can spread disease. The life stages of a flea are larva, pupae and adult. Female fleas lay around 20 eggs after eating blood, and these eggs can hatch as fast as two to three weeks depending on its surrounding conditions. Keeping fleas off people is an arduous task, but it can be done with the proper steps.
Once you have established that fleas live on your pets or in and outside of your home you will have to deal with them simultaneously. Killing fleas on your pets only will allow your pets to get re-infested when they return to a blanket that has not been treated. There are many ways to clean your pets and home of these bothersome parasites.
Families with children prefer to use natural methods for fear that chemicals could harm them. If you have an indoor/outdoor pet you’ll have to deal with the area surrounding your home first. Killing fleas outside first will insure that your home and pet don’t get re-infested. Pesticides like Greenlight, Cedarcide and Cedar oil, which is non-toxic to humans, kill fleas in their three-stage life cycle.
The next step is treating either your pet or your home. You might think that you have to treat one first before the other, but it really doesn’t matter. If you treat your pet first the existing fleas in the home will die if your pet revisits an infested area. Since you will be treating infested areas as soon as you are done with your pet, you’ll be able to kill them all.
Treating your pet first will give the animal much relief from the bites it has been suffering. A simple way to kill existing fleas on your pet is by bathing it and keeping the body submerged for 7 to 10 minutes. This will drown the fleas, and then spraying the animal every three days with a mix of citrus or lavender oils with water will give it added protection.
To kill fleas in the home it is highly recommended to vacuum floors and furniture frequently and discard the bags immediately. Washing linens and placing pillows in the dryer every other day will remove flea eggs. If your pet is an outdoor animal, you should discard old blankets it lays on and offer new ones.
When you are ready to treat the exterior of your home, you’ll have to invest in pesticides specific for outdoor use. Make sure that the pesticide can eradicate pupae as well as eggs. There are many brands at your local markets, and assistance can be requested. Another alternative to doing it yourself is calling an exterminator who can professionally spray the exterior or interior of your home.
The bottom line when dealing with fleas and keeping them off people is simple in itself. Keep yourself, your pet and the inside and outside of your home clean. Once you let the animal lay outside for several days unwashed is when you invite infestation. Pesticides for outside the home with non-toxic sprays for your pet or a flea and tick collar will insure that fleas stay off you and your family.