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Picture of Catch 50 Fleas In One Night
With this home built flea catcher I was able to catch 50 fleas in one night. Yes I certainly did count them!

I have seen several other prototypes on the internet, but I wanted to share my experience with my results.

The part list.
Dish Soap
Ground Black Pepper
LED Night Light
Container Lid
Toaster Over Tray

There are several flea traps on the market. Here is one such example. However they contain a sticky pad that you will need to eventually replace. I am adding this language expressly for the "I Could Make That" Contest. Please vote and share with a friend =)
 
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Step 1:

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This part of the experiment verifies that soapy water will work for the trap, but regular water will not. The soap reduces the water surface tension. Basically this trap wants to drown the flea, not let it glide on the surface of the water. Why did I use pepper? It is similar in size and weight of a flea. If the solution is correct and it pulls a small grain of pepper, then it will definitely pull down a flea into the trap.

Step 2:

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Now that we know how to verify the solution. We take our lid, fill it with water, and squeeze generous amounts of soap into it. The ratio is unclear at this time, but with the pepper it doesn't matter. Simply stir the water a bit and keep adding soap until the when you add a pinch of pepper, it sink right to the bottom of the lid. The tray is here so that my cat doesn't drink the soapy water. I doubt it would happen because soapy water doesn't taste good, but it is here as a precaution.

My best guess on the water to soap ratio: 2 cups water to 4 TBSP soap.

Step 3:

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Okay here you will see the trap all setup and in place. The LED night light is plugged in right above it. The fleas will jump towards the light, and bam they will sink into the soapy water.
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iFirefly1 year ago
I feel sorry for your cat. I am allergic to them and learned to adapt any flea-abatement approach to the fleas' reproductive cycle; after a few weeks, all of them are long dead - including the eggs.

To those who think the pepper is part of the solution, I am pretty sure that the pepper was only used in this case to test the solution for it's ability to drown the fleas - not to pepper-spray them.

I once moved into an apartment, unaware that was it was wholly infested, waking up the first (and last) night there with all kinds of swollen bites around my ankles. My pair of poor indoor cats, who had never even seen a flea before) were even more miserable than my GF and I. I decided from that point forward to try out potential rental properties by first planting flea 'traps' with night lights over a cup of water with rubbing alcohol and a drop of dish soap added as a surfactant - the alcohol makes the soap more effective. I used a piece of white card stock bent like a half-funnel with open front to act as a catch-all backstop/sliding board so the over-energetic fleas who jumped too hard towards the light would hit the backstop and bounce/fall down into the cup 'o death.
ecoben (author)  iFirefly1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I do state in my instructables steps that the pepper is to test the water tension. If the pepper sinks in the solution, so will a flea.
TheOneA ecoben15 days ago

actually that was not really clear but kind of becomes clear as I read through all of the steps.

TheOneA15 days ago

Does anyone know if fleas are always visible? I mean, are they super tiny when they first hatch? I don't have pets but I keep inheriting fleas left from prior tenants. The first time I got rid of them by spraying eucalyptus oil in water around the house several times a week for about 6 wks. I didn't even vacuum often. The second residence has been more challenging. The eucalyptus oil has not seemed to help, even spraying it on myself doesn't seem to deter them from jumping on me. I read about this trap online and set it up but not one flea fell for it, however there were several around at the time--I would see 5 to 10 on my legs throughout the day. I would catch them and throw them in the liquid and they did drown. But why aren't they attracted to the light? I know they are attracted to vibration (as well as warmth), but are there a certain species that is only attracted by vibration? I hate killing anything and thus the eucalyptus, which only deters them not kills them and they eventually leave. But once I read they can carry disease I had to give in. Now I'm using baking soda on the carpets, dries them out and kills them, and vacuuming every other day. They have greatly diminished. But I often feel them biting me still, yet now I can't see them. Is it possible they are newly hatched and too small to see? Does anyone actually know they answer to this (cuz no one wants to read a bunch of guessing--we can all guess pretty good ourselves). Thank!

praynolds27 days ago

I tried this out and I'm not sure if I caught a flea or something else. Any idea what this could be?

IMG_2517.JPG

looks like crushed pieces of a dead bug that probably fell off someone's shoe. Definitely not fleas.

Waterhog721 month ago
A bit of preventative maintenance. Put 1tsp apple cider vinegar to 1 qt in your pets drinking water. Takes a couple weeks to start working. But the theory is that the vinegar with become present in their skin and hair folicles. Still waiting for results.

what does the vinegar do?

If you have cats do not use vineager in the water as it can cause liver damage and kidney failure in cats

ecoben (author)  Waterhog721 month ago
Keep me posted. Sounds bizarre and interesting.
doo da do3 months ago

Out side I used cooking oil and a tea light, killed a lot on a cookie sheet, had an infestation in the yard. Just put tea light on a brick or rock.

ecoben (author)  doo da do3 months ago
Very neat outside trick. Never thought of this technique outside.

Nice! Dish soap is a great pet shampoo for fleas too. Not a lot of people realize that. I like to use Dawn on my dog. Works great. Safe for kittens and puppies too.

ecoben (author)  owtogetridoffleasez3 months ago
Thanks for the great tip
Yevee6 months ago

I made this just 10 minutes ago and put out in my garage. Walked out 5 minutes afterwards and about 20 fleas were there in the trap. I didnt think that they were that bad out there. This worked like a charm! Thank you for posting this

ecoben (author)  Yevee3 months ago
I am so glad it worked so fast
mquiring11 year ago
GENIUS idea - Thanks for the Help, my dog ​​makes me mad otherwise

Front line works great

ecoben (author)  mquiring11 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I will gladly take your compliment.
muddog151 year ago
I just use soap and water and squeeze a lot of soap into the water. It has worked perfect so far!
ecoben (author)  muddog1510 months ago

great to hear it.

jmcgarey1 year ago
A glass pie pan works great too. I used a clamp-lamp with a 60 watt bulb. The warmth attracts them towards the lamp and when they jump towards it, they fall into the soap with the same results.
ecoben (author)  jmcgarey1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. There are interesting facts roaming the internet as to whether it is the light or the warmth. But since LED light is more eco friendly and uses less power I decided to not use a 60 watt classic incandescent bulb.
I won't argue with success! All I know is, they managed to find my leg and my dogs in the dark. :-( What an awful few weeks that was! This solution definitely worked better than the expensive commercial products!
khalaria1 year ago
We have had problems with fleas on many occasions, but no more. I bought a steam cleaner and steamed every floor in the house twice a day for 2 weeks, then about once a month. We have had no sign of fleas now for over 2 years
ecoben (author)  khalaria1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. If you have a cat that goes inside and outside, then having a way to trap new fleas that enter the home is where a trap comes in handy. I am curious if you currently have a pet.
Yes ecoben, I still have cats and my daughters dog on occasion. I steam the carpets and hard floors about once a week now but have seen no sign of fleas since the second week after I began steaming. Almost everyone in our street has cats or dogs so the potential for fleas is still there. I liked the idea of steam as it uses no chemicals and is quick and easy to do. (As a bonus the steamer can clean tiles and the oven).
slo5oh1 year ago
You sir are a GENIUS.
This method uses their own instinct against them. Keep in mind that this will not get the unhatched eggs.
ecoben (author)  slo5oh1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I am aware that it will only get the mature fleas, but those are the ones that bite. =)
Panicked when my son was bitten in the night even though we don't have pets and had read about the water/dish soap/light flea trap. It only takes a few drops of dish soap. I used a desk light, so it is interesting that a night light worked. I didn't use a toaster tray, but that is a nice touch to keep others out of the dish. In the end, I only caught one biting midge, so IMO it was a success! Glad you posted this for others to see.
ecoben (author)  thebeatonpath1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I am glad that you had success with my instructables. =)
lygirajo1 year ago
You beast! You should have designed a have-a-heart flea trap. hahahaha
Can you imagine building the teeny, tiny little trigger with bait and door to slam shut? :)
ecoben (author)  lygirajo1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. Your comment made me smile. I see you read my disclaimer that reminds people that these fleas will indeed drown with this flea trap. I am curious if a mini trap that would set them free outside later somewhere in the country on a nice warm sunny day.
I'm glad you posted this! This method is really effective to get rid of a flea problem when it's concentrated in a particular area of one's house. (We've used it in conjunction with combing our pets and, when necessary, using the flea poisons on them.)
ecoben (author)  philosopheria1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I am glad you enjoyed reading and trying my instructable. I wanted to make something that would end up with people using less chemicals on their pets and in our environment.
We always used diatomaceous earth on the pets instead of poison, as it's food safe and non toxic, but kills fleas pretty good.
We'd just take the cat outside, powder it up and let it run off for the fleas to jump off.
Use caution with DE. There are many articles written on precautions of breathing because though tiny, it has sharp edges that can cause damage to lung tissue when inhaled.
There are 2 types of DE. One should be sure they get the food grade DE. There is also a version for chlorinated pools, this version is caustic and should never be used for flea infestations.
I understand you feeling bad about the fleas drowning I rarely kill things except when necessary for food or self-defense. Actually I don't kill my own food except plants, but since I'm not a vegetarian, (due to health concerns I need a little food of animal origin) animals are indeed killed in my name. But anyhow ...

IMO, killing vermin such as fleas, fireants, etc, definitely counts as self defense. So when I kill them, i pray for them. I use prayers from the Buddhist traditions, since the Christian traditions do not generally believe that animals have souls that need to be prayed for. One of my favorites is "namu amida butsu." (I don't know if this is the proper spelling, I'm spelling it just the way it sounds.) This sends the spirit of whatever I've killed to the Pure Land, where conditions are optimal for enlightenment. A Buddhist friend taught me this prayer, and assured me that anyone may say it, not just Buddhists. Also she told me that I may say it for anything that's dying or recently dead, whether human, animal, mineral, or vegetable. I've been sending lots of fire ants to the Pure Land lately. Maybe they'll attain enlightenment before I do. Another prayer, that I've picked up from watching movies like kung fu kid, is "may you be reincarnated in a better form." I say this for the ants and other vermin that I kill in self defense.

If anyone feels that I'm misusing or misappropriating any of these prayers I apologize; I intend no offense or disrespect. But I'm very tender hearted and this is the only way I can bring myself to eat food or kill vermin, and I thought I'd pass it along since the writer of this instructable mentions that they also feel bad about killing vermin.
ecoben (author)  jonipinkney1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I very much do appreciate you posting this prayer to send the fleas to the Pure Land for Enlightenment.
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