Fleas are becoming increasingly resistant to the chemical insecticides used in an attempt to banish them from our pets and our homes. Just as the over-use of antibiotics has lead to strains of bacteria that are resistant to virtually all the antibiotics in the medical arsenal, the constant use of pesticides has created fleas immune to the effects of every chemical on the market. Natural Flea Control is a safer and saner alternative – for our pets, our families and our environment.
There are three components to Natural Flea Control:
- Remove and repel fleas from the animal.
- Kill any fleas that hatch in the house.
- Prevent fleas from reproducing in the yard.
If you are serious about ridding your furry companions of fleas, you’ll need to have a plan. Schedule a day to focus on flea control, and you and your four-legged family members will reap the rewards for a long time to come.
Step 1 – Remove and Repel Fleas from your Dog or Cat
This will involve a series of actions best executed as closely together as you can manage:
- A bath for the dog, and a very thorough flea combing for the cat, (unless you have one of those rare cats that tolerate baths).
- Laundering of all bedding that the animal has been in contact with – yours and his/hers.
- Repellent spray used regularly.
The bath can be accomplished with any shampoo as long as you leave the lather on the dog for at least 5 minutes in order to suffocate the fleas. You do not need to use a flea-killing shampoo. If you want extra insurance, add a few drops of essential oil to whatever shampoo you use (eucalyptus, citronella, lavender, etc) or use a shampoo that contains essential oils. The essential oils will make the fleas woozy and easier to wash away, and help repel fleas after the bath as well.
Flea combing is really the first line of defense in flea control because for every adult you capture and drown (use soapy water so they can’t escape), you are preventing up to 2000 future fleas. Pretty effective when you look at it like that! So comb the cat and the dog once a day if you can for a week or two following treating the house. While the natural flea powders are going to work on any hatching fleas, you’ll be preventing more eggs from getting laid.
Wash all bedding in hot water and dry it on as high a setting as it can tolerate. The heat and dryness will kill any fleas and help rid the bedding of any lingering eggs or larvae. It’s best to have the bedding in the washer when you head for the bathtub with Fido – that way he won’t head for the bed after the bath and collect new fleas.
Use a repellent spray on your clean companion to make her less appealing to fleas – and use it regularly. If your house is infested, this will only help a little at first – but as you get the house and yard cleared of fleas the repellent will keep your pet from bringing new “guests” home after walks. Spraying your pet very lightly before flea combing can also make the fleas easier to “catch” in the comb.
Step 2 – Treat the House to Prevent More Fleas
Use a natural flea treatment such as Fleabusters (my personal favorite as it lasts for a whole year), Fleago or diatomaceous earth throughout the house. You will need to pay extra attention to the rooms that your pets spend the most time in, but treat even the rooms you think they never set foot in because the fleas can get in there even if the pets can’t. And don’t forget the closets – flea larvae like the dark and closets are the perfect hideaway for them.
Leave the powder under furniture for as long as possible – don’t vacuum it up. Again, the larvae don’t like light, so they are more likely to be lurking under there. And that applies to sofa and chair cushions as well – leave the powder under them to kill any fleas that hatch from the eggs that have fallen down between the cushions.
Step 3 – Yard Patrol – Keeping Fleas Out
Well, you can’t actually keep them out, but you can keep them from reproducing once they’ve crossed your property line. Beneficial Nematodes are microscopic worm-like critters that EAT flea larvae. What could be better than that? An internet search on “Beneficial Nematodes” will provide you with a multitude of options for purchasing these yard-friendly critters. Just spray them into your lawn one evening with the hose sprayer, and sit back while they do all the work!
Now here is the part that takes some planning – it would be ideal if you have the nematodes in your possession, or better yet already on your lawn, when you are executing steps 1 and 2 above. So what are you waiting for? Go order them right now! Set aside a few hours this weekend for plan execution, and then within two weeks you’ll be enjoying a SAFE, Non-toxic, yet flea-free home.
For more in-depth information on Natural Flea Control, read our article in the Information Center of the Whole Life Pets website: A Natural Approach to the War on Fleas