Introduction: How to Get Rid of Fleas
Here is a few easy techniques that you can follow to destroy those pesty little insects known as fleas.
No, I'm not talking about the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm talking about the insect.
(Definition from Wikipedia)
Flea is the common name for any of the small wingless insects of the order Siphonaptera they can multpily up to 800 million fleas in just a matter of 5 days (some authorities use the name Aphaniptera because it is older, but names above family rank need not follow the ICZN rules of priority, so most taxonomists use the more familiar name). Fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of mammals and birds. Genetic and morphological evidence indicates that they are descendants of the Scorpionfly family Boreidae, which are also flightless; accordingly it is possible that they will eventually be reclassified as a suborder within the Mecoptera. In the past, however, it was most commonly supposed that fleas had evolved from the flies (Diptera), based on similarities of the larvae. In any case, all these groups seem to represent a clade of closely related insect lineages, for which the names Mecopteroidea and Antliophora have been proposed.
Full page here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea
Step 1: Removing Fleas From the Enviroment
Fleas live on their host, but eggs can be left both on the host and in the host's bedding. The eggs that are left on the host will fall off and accumulate in beds, clothes, carpets, cars, and anyplace that the host visits.
The first step after finding out about your infestation is to clean everything that has come into contact with the infested persons or animals in order to remove as many eggs and larvae as possible. This section will walk you through this process.
What you want to do:
1. Quarantine infested pets.
2. Collect all bedding, rugs and throws and wash them in soapy water. Soapy water is known to kill the eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.
3. Vacuum everything. All furniture, carpets, cracks in the floor, bare floors, corners, behind doors, and anywhere else that dust collects. This will pick up most of the eggs, but larvae will latch onto carpet fibers and stick around. After vacuuming, immediately dispose of the vacuum bag outside to prevent escaping of larvae
4. The remaining flea larvae can be dealt with by having the carpets steam-cleaned (the steam will kill every stage of flea except eggs). Make sure you warn the cleaners about the fleas and remove infested animals. Another process is for you to shampoo the carpet with insecticidal carpet shampoo or have a pest control professionally apply an infrared heat treatment to the carpet, which kills all stages of flea. Beware however, this type of infrared heat treatment can cost a lot.
5. Drench your pets usual resting areas with lots of soap and water to drown any fleas that may be waiting for his return.
Step 2: Removing Fleas From the Host (Human)
I decided to split the section "Removing fleas from the host" into an Human and animal (pet) section.
What to Do:
1. Bathe one to two times daily with soap. Insecticidal shampoos are available but are not always necessary.
2. Comb daily with a special flea comb designed to drag fleas out of hiding and dispose of any rousted fleas in soapy water. You may also want to record daily the number of fleas removed so you can identify any population increase before it becomes a problem.
Step 3: Removing Fleas From the Host (Animal)
Please be very careful when applying flea treatments to yourself and your pets. Only use treatments that are meant for the animal you are going to use it on. Flea treatments meant for dogs and the environment can easily KILL cats.
What to do:
1. Wash your pet with soapy water. Insecticidal cat and dog flea shampoos are available but not necessary. Safer's flea shampoo is one of the least toxic varieties. Stay away from shampoos that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) as it can cause serious adverse reactions.
2. Comb your pet daily with a special flea comb that is designed to extract fleas and dispose of any you find in soapy water. Alternatively, you can wrap a length of sticky tape around your hand (sticky side out) and pat your animal down. This method works best on short haired animals. You can also use the lint and fur removal rollers (the adhesive ones) to complete the same task.
Note: You may want to talk to your pet's veterinarian before giving the animal a bath to ensure the pet's safety. You can also pay to have a professional bathe your dog at your local pet supply store. (ie: Petco or PetsMart)
Step 4: Flea Control/Prevention Tips
1. Restrict pets to areas that are easily cleaned. (No basements, bedrooms, garages, cars, etc)
2. Fleas love the carpet so be sure to vacuum as often as you can since the previously applied steam cleaning can trigger any remaining eggs to hatch. Remember to dispose of vacuum bags immediately after use.
3. Provide a bedding for your pet that is easily removed and cleaned. Lay towels anywhere your pets like to lounge, and wash them all every week until the fleas are gone, and every two weeks after that.
4. Comb your pets daily with the special flea comb and record the number of fleas you find in the first 5-10 strokes so you can identify any surges in the population. Flick any fleas that are removed into soapy water to kill them and if a population spike occurs, bathe the pet.
Step 5: A Few Last Notes...
Just a few last words for you before you begin your battle with the fleas.
A few products to help you:
Insect Growth Inhibitors (IGR's)
These products will keep eggs, larvae, and pupae from evolving into adults, but will do nothing to control pre-existing adults.
Citrus peel extracts (Limonene and Linalool)
Citrus peel extracts are among the safer treatments, but you need both limonene and linalool to kill fleas in all 4 stages of growth so make sure you choose a product that contains both of them. Use these for spot cleaning and beddings, but not entire rooms or outdoors. Use only EPA registered products directly on people or pets, as a poorly refined citrus extract can cause harm and even the death of your pet. Always consult your vet first.
Flea collars work by constantly emitting poisonous vapors that kill any fleas on the animal. Unfortunately, these vapors can also be harmful to the pets and people that they are supposed to protect so use them sparingly and only for as long as needed.
Frontline is a great product that rids pets of fleas, ticks, and any other harmful insects. This can protect your pet from lyme disease.
If any of the previous techniques are not enough, it's time to call a professional and put the task in their hands. You're probably exhausted anyway!
DISCLAIMER: Before using any of the previously mentioned products, be sure to consult with your Veterinarian. The author of this instructable is in no way liable for any damage done to people or property while following this guide.
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