Summertime means tasty barbecues, relaxing hammocks and scenic camping trips. But sultry dog days also mean larger populations of tiny household pests, such as fleas. Thankfully, there are effective non-toxic countermeasures you can easily employ.
There are 2,000 known species of fleas worldwide. But the cat flea, which bites cats, dogs and humans, is the most infamous indoor troublemaker. For every flea found on your animal, there are approximately 30 more in your home.
Most chemical flea control products target only 5 percent of the flea population — the adults. Because fleas become stronger and more immune to chemicals with each generation, toxic chemicals must be repeatedly applied. And, although a product may claim to be natural, some natural ingredients may cause allergic reactions or have toxic effects in animals. Visit eartheasy’s Natural Flea Control page for details.
Here are natural, easy tips to prevent fleas from entering your home:
- Spray microscopic nematodes in moist, shady spots outside — even in flower and vegetable gardens. The worms eat flea larvae and can reduce populations by 90 percent within 24 hours.
- Set eucalyptus leaves inside and out because fleas can’t stand the smell. Buy bunches at a craft store, cut them up and place leaves and stems in open glass jars. Set one or two in each room of the house. Also, hang pod-filled socks from branches around the yard.
Follow these tips to safely manage flea populations indoors:
- Create a specific pet sleeping area that’s easy to clean often.
- Restrict pets’ access to attics and basements.
- Vacuum carpeting, furniture and floors weekly. When fleas are present, burn the bag promptly for effective disposal.
- Regularly wash all bedding and rugs that your pet has contact with.
- Comb your pet daily with a fine-toothed metal flea comb. Pull in the direction of the fur and drown fleas in soapy water.
- At night, diligently place a dish of soapy water under a light near your pet’s bed to attract and trap fleas.
- Treat your pet monthly with a homemade repellent. Place a thinly sliced lemon in a pint jug. Cover with boiling water and let the mixture soak overnight. In the morning, spray or rub the mixture into your pet’s skin and fur until damp, not wet.
Also, healthy animals are less susceptible to fleas. By feeding your animals a high-quality, natural diet free of additives and preservatives, you improve their health and dramatically increase their protection from fleas. Nutritional supplements can help too.
FYI: As research suggests, it’s best to begin preparing in March or April before fleas have a chance to run the house. Share your flea-fighting strategies by posting a comment below.