Once you realize you have a flea problem, start doing laundry.
Fleas can hide and lay eggs in soft goods, so washing everything you can is a great first step for cutting down their numbers. Gather up anything your pets lie on as well as anything else soft from the lived-in areas of your home. This includes pet beds, blankets, bedding (yes, yours too), and anything else that can survive a good, hard spin in the washing machine.
If a pet bed has a lot of wear and tear or the inside bedding is full of dirt, dander, or flea excrement, it’s best to let it go. Even if you wash the outer cover and do what you can with the inside padding, even one missed egg could potentially start the cycle all over again.
Meet the Vacuum
If you have carpeting or rugs of any sort in your house, you and your vacuum will need to become very good friends. While vacuuming will also help if your house is mostly hardwood or tile, the main draw of a well-powered vacuum cleaner is its ability to get down to the base of carpet fibers, where fleas often develop if they have the option.
While the soft things are in the washer, start cleaning. Shutting your pets in a spare bedroom is a good idea at this point since it will help keep any fleas they’re carrying from infesting the area you just cleaned.
Focus on areas that don’t see a lot of sunlight, crevices around baseboards and cabinets, and anywhere you can see ‘flea dirt’. Most of the time fleas won’t survive being sucked into a vacuum but you can place an active flea collar or a few broken mothballs in the bag if you’d like some extra insurance. Just be sure to seal the full vacuum bag in a plastic trash bag and place it outside once you’re done.
Become a Groomer
If you have pets, this is a vital part of reclaiming your home. Give your pets a bath with a shampoo that contains cedar, eucalyptus, or rosemary oil. Unless your pet has an allergy to these things, they’re a safe and effective way to keep fleas off of them. Start with the animal’s neck and make a ring of soap around it. This will prevent fleas from jumping on the head to avoid the water.
Picking up a flea comb from a pet supply store is another great way to gauge your progress. This combined with a good flea-killing product will help you make sure that new generations of fleas aren’t making a meal out of your pet.
There are a variety of chemical sprays available which will kill fleas, their larvae, and their eggs, but you’ll want to be sure that using them won’t harm your pets as well. Read labels and reviews carefully.
Unfortunately, getting rid of fleas isn’t a ‘one-and-done’ type of process. In addition to any treatment from Step 4, you’ll probably need to keep up with baths, combing, and vacuuming for several weeks to be sure that all of the eggs from the previous fleas have hatched and no more are lurking just under the baseboard.
Getting fleas out of an area they’ve made home can be a long and pretty taxing process. If you ever find yourself with a flea infestation you feel is out of your control, just contact us at Miller Pest and Termite for your Omaha flea treatment and we’ll help you take your home back.