The worst thing about fleas is how good they are at hiding. Many pest control experts say that the fleas you see on your pet or any other area of your home are only 5 to 10% of the total flea population in your home.
So if you find that your pet has a flea infestation, even if it is a mild one, get ready for some serious extermination work. You’ll need to hunt down the tiny critters in corners, under furniture, in vents and every other nook and cranny they can fit into or under.
If you suspect there are fleas in your home, here are some steps you can take to get rid of them.
Start with Your Pets
Most flea infestations are caused by pets. Your dog could have picked up the pests from the yard or from another dog at the park.
If your pet is the source of the fleas, you’ll need to treat it first before you even get started with the house. Start by physically removing fleas from his skin. You can do this using a flea comb. Focus especially on the neck area between the shoulder blades where fleas love to hide. A bushy tail is also likely to harbour a lot of fleas.
Drop any collected fleas into hot soapy water to kill them.
Next, give your dog a thorough wash using flea soap. After you completely lather the skin, let it stay that way for around 10 minutes. This gives the soap time to kill any fleas and larvae present. Then rinse the skin off. Repeat this process at least once every fortnight until the fleas are gone. You can also apply a flea-control product on the dog’s skin as directed by your vet.
Additionally, experts recommend using flea prevention products to prevent re-infestation. These products come in form of topical meds or pills that keep larvae from growing into adult fleas.
Vacuum Your Home
Next, you need to tackle the fleas inside your home. If you check around and find that the infestation is severe, I recommend getting a professional exterminator to make sure your home is completely rid of them. But in most cases, there are things you can do yourself to get rid of the pests.
Start by vacuuming your home. Clear away as many things as possible including movable furniture, toys, baskets and anything else covering the floor. You want to reach as much of the floor as possible. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any adult fleas and larvae. Fleas are especially fond of carpeted flooring as it gives them a lot of hidden dark places to hide.
You also need to vacuum inside vents, in hidden corners and any out of the way spot that could be a home for fleas. For this, handheld vacuum cleaners are better. They are more flexible and using attachments, you can reach deep inside tight spaces.
If your vacuum cleaner uses a bag, throw it away after every cleaning. If you just need to empty a receptacle, do it over hot soapy water to kill any fleas and eggs you have collected.
Use an Insecticide for Serious Infestations
If the infestation is serious but not at the level where an exterminator is necessary, an insecticide spray can help get rid of the pests. Make sure you follow all the manufacturer instructions for maximum effect and for your family’s safety.
In many cases, you need to remove any pets from the house and adequately protect water and foods from contamination. Your family will also most likely have to stay away from the house for around 12 hours.
Treat Your Yard
Finally, work on your yard which could be the main source of the fleas. Areas like under the deck, around the pet house and in bushes tend to be most vulnerable to fleas.
Simply clearing away bushes and low hanging branches can significantly reduce flea population since they have fewer places to hide. To completely remove them, treat your yard with an insecticide.
Focus on areas that are likely to harbour fleas and make sure you follow all the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Keep checking your yard for any re-infestations (walk around with knee-high white socks) and repeat the treatment if necessary.