Fleas are a big nuisance, especially if they are present in big numbers. Besides causing your pets great discomfort and/or health issues, fleas will also cost you a fortune in damages and extermination costs. If you have a heavy flea infestation on your hands, this article will help you navigate this unique situation with minimal headaches.
The first thing you have to go is have a clear understanding of the steps you need to take in preparation for the arrival of the exterminator. Usually, before going ahead with any services, pest control experts give you a list of activities to be done in preparation, which you need to undertake before they arrive. In this article, you will find some common preparation activities as instructed by pest control professionals.
Following these instructions to the latter will guarantee the best results when the exterminator finally comes. Also, they are important because the exterminator might not treat your home if you fail to follow them.
What are fleas?
The first thing you need to understand is what fleas are and how they behave. Not to be confused with flies, fleas are parasites that survive by feeding off the blood of warm-blooded mammals, including humans. They prefer non-human blood because it is more nutritious for them, boosting their survival rates. However, they only turn to human blood when the infestation is heavy or when they cannot access other animals.
Usually, fleas need warm and humid conditions to aid their development. An average flea can jump 78 inches vertically and horizontally, 14-16 inches. In a day. it can also consume up to 10-15 times its body weight.
As for flea bites, your skin reacts by forming a slightly raised, red, itchy spot that bleeds sometimes. Most times, people never realize the flea infestations until they have stayed away from their houses for a while. Upon returning, they now discover the problem. This is the time when fleas become active as they are looking for a meal. One common misconception is that putting your pets outside will stop a flea problem, but the truth is that it only makes the fleas turn to humans instead.
If the flea infestation you have is full-blown, you have to make sure that the fleas are controlled at every stage of their life cycle. Out of the total flea population, adult fleas make up only 5%, so it is advisable to use products that get rid of both adult fleas and the larvae.
Always remember that when an adult flea lays eggs on a pet, they fall of the fur just a few minutes after the pet moves to another area. The flea eggs then become small, worm-like larvae and seek protection inside carpet fibers, under cushions and inside cracks and crevices. They then move into the cocoon stage, as pupae, for up to six weeks.
Movement of pets is what spreads a flea infestation because of how they scatter eggs as they move. Look at it like seeds being sowed in a garden. Because of this, flea control needs to be carried out over the entire environment of the pet. The main focus should be on areas where the pet spends a lot of time, like sleeping areas and paths they walk.
That said, late spring is the best time to begin a flea control program if you have been planning to carry out one. You need to act fast to prevent adult fleas from developing. You can start with treating your pets and an extermination program for your home, for the warm months.
How to prepare for flea control services
As you wait for the exterminator upon contacting them, here are some things you need to do to ease the task:
- Be prepared to stay away from your apartment or home for as long as is necessary until the insecticide has dried up completely. Do not be caught by surprise, and take with you whatever you may need while away.
- Wash all the pets’ bedding with hot water to get rid of the fleas.
- Get a vacuum cleaner and vacuum all the carpets, rugs, and mats, and do not forget the tile floors and mop wood. Also, include the area along walls and inside of closets.
- Clean and vacuum all the furniture in the house, even in normally neglected areas like under and between cushions and behind and under furniture.
- Dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner outside and far from the house, tightly closed. If the vacuum cleaner comes with a reusable bag, empty its contents and wash the bag with hot water.
- Remove all your pets from the house and let a veterinarian test them for fleas. However, if you want to do this task yourself, you will have to be careful to follow all important instructions on the label. Use the correct product for the correct animal and avoid all sorts of mix-ups. Also, pests need to be treated at the same time as the house to avoid either from re-infesting the other. You can even get a flea repellent to prevent future infestation.
- Cover all fish tanks, if any, with wet towels and also turn off water pumps until it is okay to reoccupy the house again. This prevents the fish water from being contaminated with insecticides, which might even kill them.
- Collect all items like clothes, shoes, and toys on the floor. You will need to leave your floors as clean as possible to ensure your exterminator has unbarred access to your floors and carpeting.
- Remove all bedding, including the pets’, and wash them in hot water, which serves to kill both the fleas and their eggs. More often than not, pet bedding is the place on which flea eggs fall off your pets’ fur.
- Free all your caged pets- like reptiles, birds, and hamsters– for a while until the exterminator arrives and leaves.
- Thoroughly, clean and scrub the garage and basement floors with soap and water, especially if pests have been accessing these areas frequently.
- Store any uncovered food in airtight containers to prevent them from being contaminated during the extermination.
- Ensure that you clean all areas accessed frequently like cats, like windowsills and tabletops.
Note that you may still observe fleas in your premises even 2 to 3 weeks after treatment. This period is known as the “pupal window”, in which the applied product will kill any hatching fleas.
What to do after the treatment is done?
- You must vacuum the baseboards, floors, and floor registers every day for the following 2 to 3 weeks.
- Pay extra attention to areas under furniture, furniture cushions, and areas where your pet spends the most time.
- Always remember to empty the contents of the vacuum cleaner outside, far away from the house, to prevent a re-infestation.
- Don’t wash your hard surface floors until at least 30 days are done.
- Failure to vacuum the house as thoroughly as is recommended will not get rid of your flea problem as effectively as is expected.
Fleas are unique insects in many ways. For instance, they do not come to your home to seek shelter, warmth, or a food source. The way they survive is by latching onto a host and feeding on its blood. The most common way that they access homes is hitchhiking on pets and pests that find their way into your home. You can also bring them into your home through furniture that you carry into the house, especially second-hand upholstered furniture. This is why it is important to always check for signs of fleas in furniture before letting them into your home.
That said, while the surest way for fleas to access your home is by clinging onto pets, they can also find shelter in places like pet beds and upholstered furniture. Carpets are also quite a popular hiding place for them. Fleas are known to love the underbellies of pets, and this makes them easily transferred onto your carpets when your pets lie down.
As you try to figure out a way to get rid of these pests, you might have come across natural and home remedies that promise to help you get rid of them quickly. In most cases, these products are not tested by EPA and are, therefore, not classified as pesticides. However, many homeowners have testified that these products help them deal with fleas effectively, even though they may not be as easy to use as the chemicals required. All in all, these natural products are always safe for both you and your furry friends. One natural powder for killing fleas is calcium carbonate. Consider giving it a shot to see whether on not it works for you.
Taking care of your flea problem can be a headache-free task, but only if you follow the exterminators’ instructions to the latter. Hopefully, the instructions outlined in this article have given you a good starting point.