Catch 50 Fleas in One Night

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Introduction: 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 =)

Step 1:

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:

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:

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.

Step 4:

Here are the results. I counted 50 fleas caught in trap in the morning. So I will count this as success.

On the left side of the picture is some of the pepper scattered about, but the rest are in fact fleas.

Step 5:

As a side note I must say I did see the very first flea land into the water, before I added to soap. The flea just glided onto the water, but once I added the soap the little guy couldn't glide on the water surface tension and sank to the bottom. I must admit that I did feel bad for the little guy. He did thrash around a bit just like any other creature of the animal kingdom might do if they were drowning. This is a warning that this method is non toxic and eco friendly, but it will indeed drown any flea that lands in the trap.

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5 People Made This Project!

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188 Comments

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HelenS20
HelenS20

Question 2 months ago

Got my kitten 4th August two days later noticed something moving within her fur, I moved her fur I couldn't believe my eyes she was riddled with fleas, to this day I'm still killing the fleas it's really stressing me and so much my kitten 😞

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aiko1113
aiko1113

4 months ago

Thank you for this wonderful, detailed article. I now have over 120 bites by fleas, no carpets (one throw rug), our dog is on flea medication, and my husband/son are not getting the bites. I actually saw fleas three different times on my body, so I know we have fleas. Last night, I put the soapy water with yellow light over it, in my bedroom, and did not see any fleas (and also I have done this before, but cannot catch any) when I woke up. Our dog who is on flea medication, is scratching just a little bit, but not much. I change sheets, and vacuum every other day (but I know I should do it daily). Why do you think the fleas are not jumping into the water?

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Lgcinc
Lgcinc

11 months ago on Step 4

I tried the soapy water at night on a dinner plate that was almost full of water and I just dripped in about 10 drops of soap and mixed it around. It worked really well and I have seen 13 or 14 fleas jumped into the water and I didn't even have a light on...

Also I vacuumed for 14 days in a row every inch of the place and then I sprayed a small bottle mixing peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil probably 20 drops of each into a typical spray bottle that is the size of a Coca-Cola can... They hate menthol, and it probably killed many of them as well as the vacuuming every day and immediately dumping the vacuum outside in a bag where I tied up the bag and threw it immediately in the trash.

I also went away for 10 days after on a trip but when I came home there were few laughed which was quite annoying they are so stubborn. Here is a photo of catching for more in the sobey dish water plate...

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CEVMarauder
CEVMarauder

8 years ago on Introduction

I have another tip for you: you know that Frontline/Advantix/PetArmor stuff? The stuff that's $50 for 3 tubes totaling 1.5ml?

It's a ripoff, probably one of the worst on the market. The active ingredient is Fipronil, 9.7%. You can buy 20 OUNCES of 9.1% fipronil for ~$72. It's sold as termiticide; I use Taurus SC2; there's another brand called Termidor. Yes, that is a 2,778% markup!

Take yourself a 1.0ml dropper and apply .5ml to your cat, right behind the head (and I usually put a little bit at the base of the tail.)

Fipronil has little to no effect on mammals. Breeders have been doing this for ages. You can also mix it with water (according to the directions on the package) and spray down surfaces to eliminate fleas and other pests. Keep in mind that while it's harmless to mammals, it's toxic for fish and invertebrates. Read all precautions before using.

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Shawneepisme
Shawneepisme

Reply 1 year ago

I went to buy Seresto for my small dog who is ate up with fleas and this came highly recommended but they had only the large dog doses. So, I purchased the PetArmor. I noticed the main active ingredient was not the same as Seresto but was slightly desperate so went ahead and gave it a try. It has done nothing to eradicate the fleas! Not even slowed them down a bit. Also wanted to get Vets Beat Flea and Tick spray but of course that wasn’t available either so instead I bought a spray bottle of Natural Care containing Peppermint oil and Eugenol (Clove oil). Now this has slowed them AS I spray it directly on her and brush her out. They seem to HATE this stuff so I only use it on her outside away from the house! I also spray her bedding and the furniture as she loves to cuddle. Can’t wait to try the Seresto because I can’t bathe her everyday and am tired of getting eat up as I’m sure my Macy is too!

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Tinkonthebrink
Tinkonthebrink

Reply 5 years ago

fipronil works by neurological toxicity. Many, many animals have seizures in response. Others have extreme discomfort, loss of balance and coordination, excessive salivation, rapid breath and heart rate and skin burns at the site of application. Sometimes this damage does not resolve, and sometimes animals die. Vets have a standard protocol because so many people call with animals in distress from this. Please do not put this on an animal in your care!

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SaveOurPaws
SaveOurPaws

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Be very careful what you put on your pets. (See www.tinytimmy.org for more information.) Over the counter flea and tick medications can cause severe brain damage and nerve damage to cats and dogs. Always consult your vet BEFORE using any of these.

Also, Frontline has bene known to cause seizures in dogs, so I don't recomend it.

Advantage/Advantix is best, but make sure you are using the correct one for the species you are medicating. Dog Advantage can kill cats. An alternative for dogs is Trifexis. I have used both over the years with no side effects on either cats or dogs.

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dmcneill0814
dmcneill0814

2 years ago on Step 2

I think I used too much pepper. I can't tell the pepper from the fleas. :(

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Pipchip2
Pipchip2

4 years ago

Fleas are attracted to yellow light, carbon dioxide, movement, heat and vibration. Use a tea light in the plate bowl/pan off soapy water. They have five testing of all different wavelengths of light and found that 80% of the fleas in a dark room will head for the light source within 40 min... Here...link pasted below... But candle or tea lights work the bomb! http://fleascience.com/flea-encyclopedia/life-cycle-of-fleas/adult-fleas/what-attracts-fleas/

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PamelaR75
PamelaR75

Reply 3 years ago

YES! Did this last night and it worked great. Just some dish soap and a tea light. I caught about 50! After spending a ton at Pet Smart :( I will not do that again.

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ecoben
ecoben

Reply 4 years ago

I highly disagree with this comment. Most insects cannot see yellow light. Also the research and the whole point of the project was to prove that fleas do not go after heat. Hence a LED light uses less power and is much safer than using a candle.

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Lucy2941
Lucy2941

5 years ago

Tried this out last night after it got dark for a few hours. Worked pretty good I'd say. I'll keep doing this for a few more nights but I have a question. I have no carpets in my house it's all hard wood floors is there anything else I can do/use that's safe because I have small children and we're all getting ate up. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

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ecoben
ecoben

Reply 4 years ago

If you no carpets even better. Fleas tend to lay the eggs in the carpet which can be gross. I would recommend vacuuming and mopping the floors more often. Soapy water with the optional splash of bleach would also keep the floors clean and sanitised.

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ecoben
ecoben

Reply 5 years ago

Great work. I love seeing the photo. I would do this for a few nights and put fresh water until you stop catching fleas.

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betterways
betterways

4 years ago

Thanks. I've done this before & knew to use soapy water. (use soapy water to rinse off a flea comb if you animal is bad enough you need to comb them out.) But you had some useful ideas. And verified that an LED bulb will work, which is the info I was searching for. Please, everyone, don't use sticky traps. I caught a gecko in mine which I didn't want. Especially never use those glue traps for rodents. They can catch a lot of things you wouldn't have wanted to harm. I volunteer at a wildlife center and we often have to deal with birds stuck in the traps.

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ecoben
ecoben

Reply 4 years ago

Great to hear this project is helping the wildlife. The whole point of the project was the keep fleas under control without negative effects to the environment. Great to hear that this works better than sticky traps.

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ecoben
ecoben

5 years ago

One part of the project was to make a cheap flea trap. This trap only uses a few drops of soap. Using lots of dish soap would create a similar affect, but soap costs more than using water.

Again you do not need a heat source, but you do need a light source. But if you are catching fleas everywhere you may need to thoroughly clean your room. The traps you are using are working from the fleas randomly jumping inside VS using a beacon to get all of them out of your room.

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laudlina
laudlina

5 years ago

Hey! This sounds great and has already helped a little (caught some of them).

I have one question though - can I use the same water multiple times? I mean should I make a new soapy water for every night or can I use the water from last night if there are not too many fleas inside?

Thank You!

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ecoben
ecoben

Reply 5 years ago

I'm sure you can you use the same water for the week. Eventually the water might get dirty, it might evaporate, or the fleas in the water might be gross. Use your best judgement. I have found after the first night most of the fleas for that room have been trapped. But you could keep it going for a few nights to see what happens.

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EmilieB13
EmilieB13

5 years ago

I found a few fleas on my legs when I entered a room in the house which no one had been in lately and then have sprayed and vacuumed every day for the past few days and have just started doing the traps - only with a tea light as have no small night light - and found about 3 the first night and only 1 the next day. Is this a good sign then as there is still 1 in the trap? If I keep vacuuming every day and doing the trap do you think that will do if I stop seeing anymore?