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organic war on fleas!

 
gardener
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Barq wrote:
http://www.cedarcidestore.com/catalog/item/3571008/5094558.htm



Have you purchased from cedarcide, and if so how did you use the product and what were your results?

Thanks
 
                
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Just wanted to add my two cents.  As a vet tech for over 12 years and working in veterinary product sales for another four I am very aware of the gimmicks out there on both sides.

1.  Any soap can kill fleas during a bath.  It does not have to contain pesticides at all.  A good lather left off for a couple minutes will make it easy peasy to rinse those fleas away.

2.  Nothing is as safe for the planet as a good old flea comb!  Yep, get a good fine toothed metal comb and make it a nighly ritual.  You can drop the fleas into a bowl of soapy water (or a jar of DE) and they will drown. 

3.  If you are having a hard time catching the speeding creatures dab them with a litte rubbing alcohol which will stun them and give you some time to pull them off and drop them into the soapy water.

4.  If you have a cat that is going in and out and they will be dropping flea eggs in your yard and house.  Comb daily or twice daily or consider using Program.  Herbs will not work enough to keep an allergic dog from flaring up with pyodera again.

 
                
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cont...

5.  If you have a flea allergic dog do not hesitate to wash him daily.  I wouldn't use soap every day but a cool rinse will do wonders for a dog with a tendancy to flare up.  Dr Bronners is of course an excellent shampoo for dogs.  An oatmeal soak is just as soothing for dogs as it is for people.

6.  Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum and flea comb.  You do not really have to put in a new bag daily.  If you vacuum up eggs, larvae or coccoons it is unlikely they will find their way out.  It's possible for an adult or one that just emerged from a coccoon to make it's way back out but unlikely.  If you are concerned maybe vacuum up a little borax or DE.  Cover the hose with some fabric and a rubber band. 

7.  Citronella, cedar, redwood oils can all be irritating and cause allergies too.  It's best to just use on bedding and not the dog or cat. 

 
                                      
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Just read about using nematodes to control fleas outside. Any experiences to share on that?
 
                
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Meh, they will cut down the flea population but in real world conditions they won't make much of a difference or very long. 
 
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Mr. Wheaton, my problem is in my barn.  I bought 10 acres with an old tractor shed which I have turned into my barn.  I kept my son-in-laws dog in a large dog kennel.  It was not a day and I noticed the dog scratching.  I immediately thought ticks, since the area is kind of wooded.  As I checked the dog, I could see the fleas just jumping around.  My question is does the DE work for outside flea infestations also or is there something else I should do.  I am sure my rooster and hens probably have the same problem.  My rabbits so far have been spared.  Look forward to your answer.  Love your podcasts, articles and discussion forums.  Wish I had visited the permies.com sooner.  Thanks.
 
Johnnie Thornton
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Thanks Herbguy.  I saw the flea repellant Pennyroyal when dried was an excellent flea repellant.  If I plant the Pennyroyal where I have the fleas and let it go to seed, would the drying effect of the plants as they decompose drive the fleas away.  I have to find a cure for flea housing.  I have removed most of the organic materials which are not turned over in the soil and would like to repel the fleas once and for all.  How about insects?  Are there insects which make fleas dinner?  My problem with insects are that my chickens are expert insect eaters and make short work of whatever I bring on my place.  Thanks again.
 
                                      
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Hi Paul. Who knew it would take a Granola from Missoula to qualm my fears? Ok, I hope you can take that as I joke, but I'm fairly certain anyone who uses the word Boob, has a sense of humor. First of all, the words "DO NOT PANIC," directly apply to me. I am a self-proclaimed panicker. Wish I wasn't, but it's just how I am. If all of the flea control methods didn't use chemicals, I would be the one who went out and blew hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes. However, pesticides, chemicals, and toxic substances do not belong in my house. The thought of living in a flea bombed house makes my brain go into OCD cleaning panic just thinking about it. I don't even use dryer sheets anymore! Did you know they contain known carcinogens? So anyways, history of me over, on to my questions.

You repeatedly talk about application but never mention how you do it (at least not that I saw). I of course in my fit of joy over a natural solution, went out and bought a bag and proceeded to apply it with a sifter and broom (and no face mask, I'm an idiot). Needless to say, that created quite a cloud of dust. So what method do you use?

Next, I just moved into an apartment after getting kicked out my rental, due to forclosure (sure wish I knew what my rent payments were going towards). I went from 2200 square feet to 970. That means clutter. I have one room that is just storage and there is a ton of stuff under my bed. Moving that and vacumming would be a major pain. Would it be sufficient to move it once, vacuum, lay a layer of DE down and call it good? Or do I need to vacuum under there regularly?

As for the flea traps, I have been setting them out but have not caught one flea yet. Does the water need to stay sudsy for the soap to work? It's always flat by the morning. Also, do I need to change the water everyday or can I leave it on the plate for a few days? What kind of square footage would one trap cover?

Thanks for the brilliant article and solution that settled my chemical panic and satisified my inner-granola
 
steward
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bigdaddyT wrote:
Mr. Wheaton, my problem is in my barn.  I bought 10 acres with an old tractor shed which I have turned into my barn.  I kept my son-in-laws dog in a large dog kennel.  It was not a day and I noticed the dog scratching.  I immediately thought ticks, since the area is kind of wooded.  As I checked the dog, I could see the fleas just jumping around.  My question is does the DE work for outside flea infestations also or is there something else I should do.  I am sure my rooster and hens probably have the same problem.  My rabbits so far have been spared.  Look forward to your answer.  Love your podcasts, articles and discussion forums.  Wish I had visited the permies.com sooner.  Thanks.



I would use DE inside the barn where it is dry.
 
paul wheaton
steward
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when putting down DE, I think it is wise to have a paper thin layer that is put down as dust-less-ly as possible.  I get handfuls and smear it on the carpet. 

Back when I had worries about fleas, I would leave it in corners of storage rooms, closets, under the bed, etc.  As a preventative. 

Flea traps:  it doesn't need to be sudsy.  Just a tiny bit of soap in the water.  And you don't need to change the water every day - but it is important to keep the soapy water level high enough so the fleas drown.

 
                            
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Hi, im.really glad i found this site, i was actually getting to panic because we have 3 dogs and one cat. My oldest dog have bad fleas even chewed some fur off, it didnt happen before, she is always itching and chewing. I gave all pet bath. I could see all fleas crawling on bald spot. Where we live is not going help stop fleas, I was starting to freaking thinking how to rid of them and finally found this site. This site is really helpful and i couldnt even stop reading. I am looking forward to use DE! Thank you!!
 
                      
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Hi Paul:

I'm living in Eastern Europe since 1992, but my wife was born here. She surprised me the other day by bringing Sweet Flag (Acorus Calamus) into the house, attacking it with a meat cleaver and then sprinkling the resulting chopped greens on the floor.

I've been married a long time, but my curiosity got the better of me, so I asked. Seems she's been getting flea bitten and Sweet Flag is supposedly an ancient/tried and true remedy. (My remedy is my wife. Any biting insect except deer and horseflies prefers her to me! Must be 'cause she's so sweet!)

Looked into this on the web and pest control is one of the many uses mentioned for this great, versatile plant. Even found a couple references to using it for fleas, but no explanation of how exactly it works and what it does to the fleas.

Before sending this along I started reading all the comments in case someone else had already mentioned this but there are just too many comments. Hope I haven't stepped on anyones toes by duplicating, but if I have, my sincerest apologies!
 
                            
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Hello Paul,
    So i use a puffer duster and i've layed a good enough layer all over the house!!! 2,900 ft worth, two stories and i havent missed anything. (Even my counters are dusty) Anyways, I spread this stuff everywhere and yet i am still seeing fleas..have i done this wrong? I got in corners under beds,couches,etc. My probem is i still see them. I started yesterday. I even dusted the dogs down..and scrubbed in the dust with my nails(dont own a dog comb).The dogs are'nt even allowed in until the population goes down..I even dusted their dog run. I did the test too in a peach jar with flea's and as it stands they were still living last night.. I also caught a palmetto roach from outside and did a test wih her. It seemed to have only slowed her down I'm concerned. I bought the food grade by perma guard..I just cant understaand what i might have done wrong.

PS: We have a room that is insanely worse then the rest of the house. Step in here and 20 flea's jump on your bare legs. My question is do i do this room heavier and vacume more often then the rest of the house or leave the dust on the ground in there longer? OR add more and leave it?

 
                                            
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I've been battling with an outbreak, and we don't even have pets. My wife brought them home in a yoga mat of all things. We thought We got them at that point, but one must have gotten away.

We have no attached carpets and a small space. After a month of bites (my wife only) not actually seeing what was going on, there has been a population boom. So the solution? Do a deep clean of the whole house.

Not having carpets has let us now see exactly how and where they live. As the artcle and other sources describe, the larvae live in out-of-the-way corners crawling around in the dust. The adults emerge when you get in there and stir things up, and are quite small; going straight for the nearest source of heat.

So why am I bringing all this up. Because I have mixed feelings about how to get rid of them. We used a tablespoon full or so of flea power (yup the bad stuff) in each room, sweeping it around in each corner, then wiping all exposed areas with a rag after we were done. The powder kills the fleas in all moving stages in less than a minute. The reason I use the powder is because I clean it up afterwords, and I don't have the time or energy to do a deep clean every week (it's taken 3 days.) By deep clean, I mean moving furniture, lifting every object you own and wiping it off or washing it in some way. My feeling is that you don't need to be fearful of toxins, just use them wisely and be very careful. In our case we use them where we can't clean effectively.

Trust me, I would love to go organic, and we are in just about every other way. But the truth is, I have not found an effective way to deal with certain pests than to just plain kill them. I've had animals in the past and dealt with fleas, termites in wood, rats in the yard etc. for years. Get rid of food and shelter, then kill them... but you can't always deny food and shelter, so what then?

So here are some questions after reading the article and much of the thread:

1. Have you actually tested your "jar test" with DE? By this, I mean did you try controls, of no DE, other types of powders like baking soda, and types of jars? My hypothesis, is that after a couple hours any bug in a jar would die regardless of what else is in it. It's that whole dessication thing. Think bee buzzing at a window. There are also lots of other eatable powders that probably are very toxic in this sort of setting, but not as much out in the open.

2. Have you tried checking results of just vacuuming? With a good vacuum, again my hypothesis would be that if you cleaned ever 3 days for a month, there would be almost nothing that could survive. Take the food away (dust made of skin flakes, etc.), suck up eggs, adults, larvae, dry everything out, cause everything to emerge, and your just all out killing the things. Again DE probably has nothing to do with those results.

3. DE is made out of almost pure silica. Have you checked the toxicity of breathing silica dust before claiming its as safe as breathing in flour? Toxicity is almost always about exposure, and concentrations. "Have you done it right?" applies to everything. Remember we eat lots of bad stuff, so just because DE is eatable, doesn't mean it safe or healthy spreading it all over your house.
 
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questionasker wrote:

3. DE is made out of almost pure silica. Have you checked the toxicity of breathing silica dust before claiming its as safe as breathing in flour? Toxicity is almost always about exposure, and concentrations. "Have you done it right?" applies to everything. Remember we eat lots of bad stuff, so just because DE is eatable, doesn't mean it safe or healthy spreading it all over your house.



not made out of contains

and sandy soils are almost pure silica too its the most common mineral on the planet
 
                                    
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Just a couple comments here...

Silica when inhaled is considered a CARCINOGEN. Here is an excerpt from the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet):

========================================================
POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS:
Inhalation:
a. Silicosis Respirable crystalline silica (quartz) can cause silicosis, a fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs.
Silicosis may be progressive; it may lead to disability and death.
b. Lung Cancer Crystalline silica (quartz) inhaled from occupational sources is classified as carcinogenic
to humans.
c. Tuberculosis Silicosis increases the risk of tuberculosis.
d. Autoimmune and Chronic Kidney Diseases Some studies show excess numbers of cases of scleroderma, connective
tissue disorders, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney diseases and end-stage
kidney disease in workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
e. Non-Malignant Respiratory Diseases (other than silicosis) Some studies show an increased incidence in chronic
bronchitis and emphysema in workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
=========================================================

Silica and Silicon are NOT quite the same thing. Think of window glass (silica) ground up very tiny and breathe that in - mmmm, good? Yes, good old-fashioned play sand is NOT good to breathe in. The point is valid that many things we can and do eat safely (even sand - which is used in food processing) can be deadly if inhaled.

  And we should remember that the old saying that garlic keeps the vampires away is true. Vampires being all the nasty creatures that like to drink our blood - mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, etc. As an Italian, I never understood why so many complained about how bad the mosquitoes were until I realized this point. Now, I've tried getting my cats used to it in their water but they dont like it any more than the vampires.

  Back to the point of the article - I have a flea problem and now only one cat and no attached carpets at all. Just a couple throw rugs. The only thing that has helped is the better flea powder for carpets (on the hard floors) and a weekly bath for the cat. A flea comb cannot get into all the little crevices on my little cat but I'll try that as well, now.
  For a while I vacuumed every day (2000 sq ft after work gets tiresome) and used a bleach solution once a week. (Not the best thing for hardwood floors.) That helped but as soon as I stopped, they started coming back. All the fogger does is make you wash everything and Frontline and the other drops are useless. Guess its a good thing the season is almost over...
 
                            
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Now why didn't I find your article before I panicked and spent way too much money on flea stuff?! I'm one of the boobs you wrote about -- and I hang my head in shame. I already had DE and sprinkled it everywhere (probably too much because I did have a wracking cough while in bed for a couple nights. I think I sprinkled some on the mattress ...), but every black dot I saw would send me into freak-out mode and I ordered nuke-power off the net. I blame my behavior on having been overrun by fleas years ago after raccoons ransacked my stored belongings. It didn't occur to me that I would move raccoon flea larvae in my new digs and act as their host -- but oh my, did I ever! Back then, I just bombed the place. Now I'm more concerned about such actions. Now that I've read your article and am more rational, I realize all the rain we've had has made the problem far worse than usual. I simply have to be patient and diligent and not overreact. I bathed the dog today and gave him an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. I didn't see quite so many fleas this time, but he looks moth eaten, poor thing. (There's a lot of info about using ACV online.) I found an interesting website: wolfcreekranch.com that had lots of info (and seemingly safe products). Anyway, my main purpose was to thank you for a very informative, enlightening and humorous article that brought perspective back to my flea battle. I shall overcome -- safely and sanely -- and it was high time my house got a good cleaning anyway!
 
                                  
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I originally posted this in the general permaculture forum and asked a moderator to delete it as I meant to post here.  Sorry about the mistake!



Hello Everyone,

I hope I am posting this in the right place.  I need solid advice and prayers.

I have 3 dogs and noticed last month that they had fleas.  I believe in home remedies but didn't want them to suffer and for the problem to spread so I put Frontline Plus on them.  Things seemed fine for a couple of weeks. 

I went to work vacuuming, steaming and mopping and dusting with DE.  Then I started to notice that when I would stand in a spot for a few minutes (like when washing dishes) I would feel something jump or hit my legs and feet.  I would not see anything, but would feel like a piece of sand was hitting my leg.  This went from occasionally to now it is all the time.  My hair also started itching, so I thought - I got fleas in my hair and started spraying mentholated alcohol or apple cider vinegar mixed with eucalyptus oil in my hair.  I wear cornrows so, this is driving me crazy.  The alcohol or apple cider works for a little while and then the itching is back in my scalp.  I also have oil in my hair.

I feel like something is hitting my legs and occasionally I feel something jump on my face or eyelashes, even in my ears.  Again I didn't see any fleas or any bugs.  So I took some table salt and water with lemon oil in a spray bottle and sprayed all my floors down.  So now my floors (tile and wood) have a sparkly gritty layer on them.  Been vacuuming everyday.

I took a shower and moisturized well.  While sitting on the bed, I felt the pinging sensation on my legs again.  I reached down and because I was so oily removed a teeny, tiny spec (I have no hair on my legs).  I took a piece of paper towel and wiped it on the paper.  What I saw was reddish and teeny tiny and I did not see it move.  It was hard to squish, could only do it with my nail.  Then it happened again and again.  Basically because I was so oily, they got stuck in the oil.  When my skin was not oily, I guess they just ping off me.  I do not have bites, just itchy on my scalp and but the feeling of them hitting me on any exposed skin is making me itchy.

Today, I felt one hit my forearm while laying on my bed.  I was close to the wall and the walls are off white.  I looked at the sheets (dark colored) saw nothing and looked at the wall next to me.  Then I saw this teeny tiny spec jump off the wall toward me.  It was the first time I saw one move or jump.

I am SO FREAKED OUT, I feel contaminated.  I don't even know where to start or what to do. On my computer screen I see specs but they are not moving.  I keep cleaning my screen and it keeps looking dust covered.  In my bathroom sink (which is white) I see specs.  I keep saying how do I have so much dust?  Now I know it is not all dust but some are these spec sized bugs. 

PLEASE HELP!  I am ready to bomb the whole house but I know it may not work and is toxic.  They seem to be on every surface, probably in my hair, on the dogs (they are not scratching tho have a combination of DE and flea and tick spray on them) in my bed and clothes, just everywhere.

Today I had 2 real estate brokers over to talk about selling my house.  I could feel them hitting my face while I sat in my chair in the living room.  I noticed them swiping their faces too while sitting on the sofa... I know what I am feeling and what I saw today.  It is like a flea because it jumps but about 1/10 the size (if that)...how do I get rid of them?  I am tired mentally and physically from this.   I have been online researching this like crazy but don't know where to start.  What are these things?  How do I get rid of something that is a pin sized spec that is on everything?

I am not imagining this!  I am about to wash all my dogs down again but if these bugs are on walls and floors, they will just be back again as they dry.  What can I do?  PLEASE, PLEASE HELP!

Sorry for this long post but I am at my wits end.  I found this forum by researching fleas and found:

Die Fleas! Die! Die! Die! Freaky Cheap Flea Control.

I know the author said not to panic, but it is hard not to panic now, I feel like I am under an invasion.

Hastily awaiting a solution.

BuggedinBrooklyn, NY

Additional Info:

I researched small spec sized jumping bug and came across spring tail, could this be what I am dealing with?
 
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Hi Buggedin,

If they are springtails I found this general information for you that might help, which you have already probably found. They seem to like moisture and Brooklyn is generally not a moist area (lived in CT for most of my life).

Springtails are small insects which thrive where there is a lot of moisture. This can be in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, crawl spaces, behind walls, under siding, under mulch and just about anywhere moisture is prevalent and persistent. Springtails do not do any damage nor do they bite but because they will emerge enmass, people fear them. Springtails are commonly mistaken for fleas, ants or termites but are dramatically different. They eat mold, mildew, fungus and decaying organic matter which is usually present in moist areas. They can be found in great numbers in homes which have been built for several years or in homes which are new.



Judging by that, would it help to get a dehumidifier?

Regarding fleas, I came to this forum with the same exact problem, several months ago (May or June I think). I tried DE and was rubbing it on my cats to no avail, it wasn't helping. Little did I know (I glanced over that part but you didn't) that I was supposed to spread it on, and vacuum (oh no) the carpets. I figured that part out after an emergency visit to a pet hospital and an $800 price tag, for one cat (Pia). Another day (max I think) and Pia would have been sent to cat heaven, or whatever happens when we die. The other cat (Mia) was only a tiny bit better, but another week and she would have been there too. Both recovered and Mia still avoids the floors like the plague (she stays in my bedroom on top of the bed). The one cat I had to bring to the pet hospital (Pia), was so bad that she couldn't even get up and walk. Found Pia laying in kitty litter one afternoon, thought it was odd, so got her out of there. Later that night found her by the washing machine, laying down in her urine. Both are pretty much fully recovered now, but Pia can't seem to jump as she used to (always hopped on the counters).

The trick for me was due diligence, vacuuming daily, then spreading DE all over the floor so that would walk in it and squish into the carpets. Over time, probably two months, the fleas went away but still have the DE in the corners and places I generally don't get to. Would have to guess I went through about 15 pounds of DE, and most of it was purchased from a holistic pet food store charging $7-9 a pound, but was desperate. Have a 50 pound bag I bought for $50 on amazon waiting to be used now.

Not sure how long you have been doing the treatment. I have put 3 doses of frontline on each of the cats, just till their bodies have recovered (still pains me to think about that), and switched their food to a very high quality one (Acana) that supports the ideals I try follow. I think that the company tries to craft their products so that they follow the natural diets the pets would have in the wild. These things seems to keep the fleas at bay for my indoor cats.

Haven't put chemicals on them for several months.

My gut feeling is that what you are seeing are the baby fleas, so keep doing what you're doing, and make sure to:
Vacuum daily, or minimum three times a week (easier said than done, yes)
Vacuum everything (mattress too)
Wash all bed linen weekly
Throw pillows in dryer too on high heat
Keep all clothes a foot over the floor after being cleaned
Change your dogs diets, away from the mainstream food. Really get what you pay for here. This will help build up their systems as fleas attack weaker creatures (I think anyways).

When vacuuming, I always vacuum up a patch of DE at the end.
I felt hopeless too, but reading this thread it kept me going and going and going, plus didn't want to spend another $800 at the emergency room.

EDITED by moderator to disable dead link. JP

 
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Hi, Saturday we took our 2 dogs to the vet. While we were waiting we noticed (to our horror) a few fleas on one of the dogs. So after our vet scared the crap out of us we came home and found your site. We cleaned the ENTIRE house. Spreading DE on all carpeted surfaces, under beds, couches, everywhere. We then vacuumed everything and washed all bedding. I have put a dehumidifier at ground zero (our room) along with a flea trap, and I have a Eden pure heater running in there full blast. I have not been able to get the room temp over 90 degrees yet, but the humidity is under 30 percent. My wife and I are as itchy as can be. Not from bites but I think it it part mental and part the dryness of our room. I have combed the dogs twice a day since then. The first day I found about 5 adults on one dog and 6 on the other. Then yesterday I only found babies and today no fleas on the dogs. All bedding has been washed and I vacuum twice a day. If I see a flea in an area I vacuum. Our flea trap caught 3 the first night and two last night. How are we doing? would this be considered a major infestation.
 
pollinator
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When I lived in Tacoma WA, my house (and cat) became absolutely over-run with fleas. My cat was so covered in them that they were crawling in her eyes. I tried everything I could find available, natural or not, and nothing worked. I called Flea Busters and immediately the problem was solved. Forever. They guaranteed it for a year, it may as well have been forever, because I never saw another flea. it was the best money I ever spent. And yes, I know how toxic boric acid is. The reports say from 2.5 to 5 grams per kg of bodyweight is toxic. In my case, that is between 8 oz and a pound. And that isn't "exposed to" as is being stated, that is if you eat it. As far as I'm concerned, if you aren't smart enough to avoid eating a pound of boric acid, you probably aren't smart enough to remember to breath anyway. Keep in mind people have died from drinking too much water. A little common sense goes a long way.
 
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Thank you for the site. I was totally freaked out when we found out we have fleas infested in our house. We have no pets and there is all hardwood floor inside the house. We started out gotten bitten, and took us 2 months to find out the infestation. So the source is from the neighbors' cats hanging around in our backyard, and we have wild animals (opossum) visiting once in a while.

I was hesitating using chemicals inside the house, because i have two young kids. Thanks to this site that it is assuring me that I am on the right direction - just keep cleaning and vacuuming.

I am not sure can I use DE in the garage for the cracks and corners? Will the powder be blown all over the place when we open up the garage door?

 
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Many years ago I used to run a dog grooming parlour. Using dip on the 40 or so dogs I groomed each day. I started having very itchy hands and feet every evening. I realised that the dip was causing it after taking a few weeks off and the itching stopped. Around that time I discovered that I was pregnant. The baby miscarried even though I cut down on dipping the dogs. I started having migraines when I used a dewormer and if I had even a drop of dip on my skin. That was about 23 years ago. I stopped using any poisons then. If I go into a place that has had ANY poison used in it, I struggle to breathe, start sweating profusely, get abdominal cramps, feel very nauseous and have a headache - usually within seconds of entering the place. Always before, people have implied I am over-reacting when I call ahead of an appointment and ask if they have used poisons. It can take me weeks to recover from a poisoning episode. Each time it gets worse. I have had to stop grooming dogs completely because the cut hair now gives me asthma. Every time I visit where there are animals I have to ask if they have used flea control on them within the last two weeks. It seems to take about two to three weeks before it is safe for me to touch them or go into a place that has been treated. It is such a relief to know that I am not alone. We have a severe cockroach problem that I can only treat with soapy water and impact therapy (squish them!) and I use white vinegar liberally on my carpets, floors, bedding, cat, dogs etc to control the fleas. From what I am treading here Borax and DE would be out of the question. I have noticed that some dandruff/psoriasis shampoos also cause a problem for me. Even if someone else in the house is using them. These poisons have caused three miscarriages in total for me and I don't think people really realise that the poisons appear to build up your system and never seem to go away.
 
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Hi, I just came across your article after killing about 5 fleas in my house! It was very helpful. I am trying the plate trick over night, but what is funny is that we only have a cat and she is not an indoor cat. I think the fleas began as stow-aways when we would come in from the garage where she sleeps. Anyways, I'm about to follow more of the instructions from the article, but just wanted to know, if the clothes in the closet are mostly hung on the higher racks, it isn't necessary to pull them all off to wash since the fleas only jump 8 inches? I would say the clothes are all at least three feet off the ground.
Thanks:)
 
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I bought a product called Only Natural Pet All in One Flea Remedy and the primary ingredient is DE. It seems to work on the dog and cat and in the house. I would like to apply outdoors around the door the dogs come in though, and the instructions state that it can be mixed with water, sprayed on and will become active when dried. Everything I have read here indicates once DE is wet it's not going to work... what do you think of applying it in water and it drying out? I live in Ohio and it's pretty humid out all summer. I only prefer to spray it on because it is much easier than trying to sprinkle it around the yard and get a uniform coverage. I guess I need to go buy 50 POUNDS of it huh?
 
Richard Kutscher
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They have 25 pound bags of DE too.. I would be cautious with any application of DE outside as think it would have a tendency to get blown around and/or washed away.

I don't have any experience with it, but earlier in the thread they mention something about nematodes for outdoor flea control, assuming there is some dirt/grass nearby. The nematodes eat fleas and live in the ground.
 
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Location: MAINE
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i'll apologize first, if i have already posted this info


here's another flea weapon for you

fleas and mosquito's hate the taste of Vitamin B1-that's a given

while i think diatomaceuos earth is awesome stuff..

i have also used brewer's yeast to rid my animals of fleas
because they gladly eat it...

plus you can powder their bellies with it especially young animals or pups/kittens
and there is no harm in them licking their fur...

it has ALL the B vitamins in it.... except for B-12
mosquitos will go to land on you but end up doing a touch and go
or don't land at all..... because i eat it regularly stirred into yogurt
i have had clouds of skeetos hover around me but not land or bite me
while they ate the neighbor alive....

it's a very HEALTHY alternative.... look for it at your nearest health food store
in the freezer section.... best kept cold.

it also helps you kick ass on poison ivy blisters as good as prednizone (the steroid) does

it is a by product leftover from brewing beer ..a nutritional yeast not to be confused with bakers yeast.
 
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Oh, how wonderful, my whole flea dilemma didn't post!! Lucky for you! It was quite long and drawn out. So, condensed:
I have a smaller dog, who I've confirmed has fleas. Absolutely grosses me out!! Anyway, I bought a 10lb bag of DE, and I just want to know for sure exactly how I should apply it. I haven't tested with the light/ soapy water yet.
So, the area the dog spend 75% of his day in is tiled floor, with an area rug. The rest of the house is carpeted (getting rid of it isn't an option). The living room is really long, almost shag style carpeting (I don't own, I rent!). The rest of the house is old, worn down, thin carpet. The dog really only goes into 1 other room (my son's room). But, obviously we humans walk all around the house. I know you said grab handfuls of the DE and rub into carpet, but I'm a little confused on the vacuuming thing... Do I rub it on every piece of carpet, then vacuum what I can? Or just put it in the nooks and crannies?? Any suggestions on how to keep a smart, curious 2-1/2 year old boy out of the DE in the corners?? Any additional input you could give would be GREATLY appreciated. Sorry for being repetitive with my questions, just want to make sure I get this right. Knowing there are bugs jumping around in my house is just so sickening to me, but I'm not dumb enough to "bomb" or "fog" my house. Might as well just feed poison to my family!
 
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Paul,
I recently found fleas on my cat (poor kitten ) and absolutely freaked out about it. Handling bugs has never been my strong suit. I kept picturing little fleas crawling all over me, my bedding, my clothes and my cat. I couldn't sleep, hold my cat or sit on the furniture. It was as bad a freak out as I have ever had. And then I stumbled across your article where you repeatedly tell the reader not to panic and proceed to explain why in great detail. Not only did you inform me of how to save a bundle while entirely eradicating my flea problem but you calmed me down so that I could logically handle the problem (and get some much needed rest!). Thank you so much for helping me figure out how to cheaply, safely and effectively handle this annoying situation. My kitten and I are both doing great, you really are a life saver!
Kristin
 
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies, Kristin
Have a look around, you'll find answers to questions you didn't even know you had
 
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While diatomaceous earth works, it takes a long time to really kick in and the flea life cycle takes weeks to complete so you have to live with a lot of dust around. I think it is better for corners and cracks and entrances and outside around your entrances and then use "Best Yet" Red Cedar Oil Spray in addition which is completely safe and healthful on your pet; bedding; litter if you have a cat and even on yourself when you go outside so fleas won't be tempted to hitch a ride inside with you on you.

You'd think you were using Round Up when you watch how fast it works (it is almost like a flea bomb). I've sprayed it not only on fleas but on huge roaches and they get woozy and fall over and die. The fleas die in seconds. Not only is it not toxic it actually has health benefits so it isn't bad if your pet ingests it. For more info go to Cedarcidestore.com.

FYI I won't gain anything if you do. I'm just a satisfied customer passing along the good news about my recent (from two years ago) happy discovery.
 
Emily Harris
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Buggedin Brooklyn wrote:I originally posted this in the general permaculture forum and asked a moderator to delete it as I meant to post here.  Sorry about the mistake!



Hello Everyone,

I hope I am posting this in the right place.  I need solid advice and prayers.

I have 3 dogs and noticed last month that they had fleas.  I believe in home remedies but didn't want them to suffer and for the problem to spread so I put Frontline Plus on them.  Things seemed fine for a couple of weeks. 

I went to work vacuuming, steaming and mopping and dusting with DE.  Then I started to notice that when I would stand in a spot for a few minutes (like when washing dishes) I would feel something jump or hit my legs and feet.  I would not see anything, but would feel like a piece of sand was hitting my leg.  This went from occasionally to now it is all the time.  My hair also started itching, so I thought - I got fleas in my hair and started spraying mentholated alcohol or apple cider vinegar mixed with eucalyptus oil in my hair.  I wear cornrows so, this is driving me crazy.  The alcohol or apple cider works for a little while and then the itching is back in my scalp.  I also have oil in my hair.

I feel like something is hitting my legs and occasionally I feel something jump on my face or eyelashes, even in my ears.  Again I didn't see any fleas or any bugs.  So I took some table salt and water with lemon oil in a spray bottle and sprayed all my floors down.  So now my floors (tile and wood) have a sparkly gritty layer on them.  Been vacuuming everyday.

I took a shower and moisturized well.  While sitting on the bed, I felt the pinging sensation on my legs again.  I reached down and because I was so oily removed a teeny, tiny spec (I have no hair on my legs).  I took a piece of paper towel and wiped it on the paper.  What I saw was reddish and teeny tiny and I did not see it move.  It was hard to squish, could only do it with my nail.  Then it happened again and again.  Basically because I was so oily, they got stuck in the oil.  When my skin was not oily, I guess they just ping off me.  I do not have bites, just itchy on my scalp and but the feeling of them hitting me on any exposed skin is making me itchy.

Today, I felt one hit my forearm while laying on my bed.  I was close to the wall and the walls are off white.  I looked at the sheets (dark colored) saw nothing and looked at the wall next to me.  Then I saw this teeny tiny spec jump off the wall toward me.  It was the first time I saw one move or jump.

I am SO FREAKED OUT, I feel contaminated.  I don't even know where to start or what to do. On my computer screen I see specs but they are not moving.  I keep cleaning my screen and it keeps looking dust covered.  In my bathroom sink (which is white) I see specs.  I keep saying how do I have so much dust?  Now I know it is not all dust but some are these spec sized bugs. 

PLEASE HELP!  I am ready to bomb the whole house but I know it may not work and is toxic.  They seem to be on every surface, probably in my hair, on the dogs (they are not scratching tho have a combination of DE and flea and tick spray on them) in my bed and clothes, just everywhere.

Today I had 2 real estate brokers over to talk about selling my house.  I could feel them hitting my face while I sat in my chair in the living room.  I noticed them swiping their faces too while sitting on the sofa... I know what I am feeling and what I saw today.  It is like a flea because it jumps but about 1/10 the size (if that)...how do I get rid of them?  I am tired mentally and physically from this.   I have been online researching this like crazy but don't know where to start.  What are these things?  How do I get rid of something that is a pin sized spec that is on everything?

I am not imagining this!  I am about to wash all my dogs down again but if these bugs are on walls and floors, they will just be back again as they dry.  What can I do?  PLEASE, PLEASE HELP!

Sorry for this long post but I am at my wits end.  I found this forum by researching fleas and found:

Die Fleas! Die! Die! Die! Freaky Cheap Flea Control.

I know the author said not to panic, but it is hard not to panic now, I feel like I am under an invasion.

Hastily awaiting a solution.

BuggedinBrooklyn, NY

Additional Info:

I researched small spec sized jumping bug and came across spring tail, could this be what I am dealing with?



Whatever it is, even if it is bed bugs, "Best Yet" Red Cedar Oil Spray will kill it. Bugs HATE the stuff and I mean ALL bugs but it is non-toxic and actually medicinal to humans and pets. Check it out at Cedarcidestore.com
 
Emily Harris
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Jami McBride wrote:

Barq wrote:
http://www.cedarcidestore.com/catalog/item/3571008/5094558.htm



Have you purchased from cedarcide, and if so how did you use the product and what were your results?

Thanks



Yes! I have and I LOVE it. I highly recommend it. It kills all kinds of bugs and it doesn't take forever to work like most of the natural things do. You'd think it was poisonous as all get out to watch it in action (killing a flea or other bug) but it turns out it has health benefits (I believe to the kidneys) so if your pet licks it it isn't toxic. Once you try it you'll never need to use one of those AWFUL and DANGEROUS Nervous system disorder causing SPOT ON treatments on your pet again.
 
Emily Harris
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Blue Dog wrote:Just wanted to add my two cents.  As a vet tech for over 12 years and working in veterinary product sales for another four I am very aware of the gimmicks out there on both sides.

1.  Any soap can kill fleas during a bath.  It does not have to contain pesticides at all.  A good lather left off for a couple minutes will make it easy peasy to rinse those fleas away.

2.  Nothing is as safe for the planet as a good old flea comb!  Yep, get a good fine toothed metal comb and make it a nighly ritual.  You can drop the fleas into a bowl of soapy water (or a jar of DE) and they will drown. 

3.  If you are having a hard time catching the speeding creatures dab them with a litte rubbing alcohol which will stun them and give you some time to pull them off and drop them into the soapy water.

4.  If you have a cat that is going in and out and they will be dropping flea eggs in your yard and house.  Comb daily or twice daily or consider using Program.  Herbs will not work enough to keep an allergic dog from flaring up with pyodera again.



If the dog is allergic boost his immune system with something like Beta Glucan and an IMPROVED DIET and anti-oxidants. These bugs don't like biting into strong healthy immune systems.
 
Emily Harris
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A Ziml wrote:Oh, how wonderful, my whole flea dilemma didn't post!! Lucky for you! It was quite long and drawn out. So, condensed:
I have a smaller dog, who I've confirmed has fleas. Absolutely grosses me out!! Anyway, I bought a 10lb bag of DE, and I just want to know for sure exactly how I should apply it. I haven't tested with the light/ soapy water yet.
So, the area the dog spend 75% of his day in is tiled floor, with an area rug. The rest of the house is carpeted (getting rid of it isn't an option). The living room is really long, almost shag style carpeting (I don't own, I rent!). The rest of the house is old, worn down, thin carpet. The dog really only goes into 1 other room (my son's room). But, obviously we humans walk all around the house. I know you said grab handfuls of the DE and rub into carpet, but I'm a little confused on the vacuuming thing... Do I rub it on every piece of carpet, then vacuum what I can? Or just put it in the nooks and crannies?? Any suggestions on how to keep a smart, curious 2-1/2 year old boy out of the DE in the corners?? Any additional input you could give would be GREATLY appreciated. Sorry for being repetitive with my questions, just want to make sure I get this right. Knowing there are bugs jumping around in my house is just so sickening to me, but I'm not dumb enough to "bomb" or "fog" my house. Might as well just feed poison to my family!



I'm very experienced when it comes to treating fleas having had cats and lived in two different climates. I saw the impact not only the flea treatments have but also how a diet and supplements can deter fleas. My first cat unfortunately ate the standard american pet diet as per the clueless conventional vet (Science Diet Dry) which ruined his immune system and his urinary system and he became a magnet for fleas. I finally started to learn about Natural medicine and learned how improving his diet would not only make him healthier but also deter fleas. I switched him over to a Bones and Raw Food Diet ASAP and in short order fleas were not a problem. In those days I had not heard about BEST YET. I did try salting my carpet which worked well except in the humid weather it absorbed the moisture in the air and my carpet became drenched. I called it my "rice patties". I vacuumed a lot of it up and nearly ruined and expensive vacuum cleaner. But that was also the end of the flea problem.

The first thing I would do is vacuum out your bathroom. Next get a tub ready with warm water and mild dishwashing liquid with pitchers of more warm water to use to rinse off your dog.Wash your dog trying to keep the sudsy water on him for 12-15 minutes to kill the fleas. Then rinse him off. Dry him off with towels and leave him closed in the bathroom with water and some towels to lie on.

Now it is time for you to vacuum your house really well. First pour some Food Grade DE on a rug and vacuum that up. Then vacuum the house so that any fleas and flea eggs you get in the vacuum will be killed by the DE in the vacuum bag. Then spray your house everywhere with "Best Yet". If you have a duster applicator your can spray/dust the DE everywhere or maybe in the corners and sides of the rooms. I would put "Best Yet" everywhere and on your pet's bed.

Next go back to your dog and comb him out and try to make sure you get any fleas you might have missed. Then I would either let him dry and then put "Best Yet" Cedar Oil on him to kill any larva from flea eggs that might still be on him or do it while he is still wet.

In a week you will have to do a second Best Yet Treatment on your dog and possibly in the house but after that, you should be rid of them. Call the company to ask for tips on how to use it best for your situation. They have good suggestions and can answer your questions.
 
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Location: Coastal Uruguay. Wet winters, hot and dry summers. 1000 mm annual rain.
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I am a second generation user of garlic for dogs and a true believer. We cook for 4 indoor-outdoor dogs (one of which is a street/country dog). They get 1.5 raw finely chopped garlic heads per week in total (not per dog) mixed in their food after it cools. We have very few problems with fleas. We don't bathe them regularly either (they don't smell). A flea ridden mutt even comes to visit once in a while and we still don't have problems. Once every four or five months, one of them will scratch in the same spot twice or we'll see a flea or two on their bellies or under their pits. Then we bathe and flea powder them. Done.

My mom had a sheltie who lived to be 14 and got garlic everyday. No fleas for him either. Arthritis eventually did him in, poor guy.

We also have a cat, which won't eat anything but Iams and sardines (no garlic). I don't know why, but she doesn't get fleas either. Our vet told us that dog and cat fleas are different.

---
EDIT

They also recently started getting a sprinkle of brewer's yeast nightly on their food. They love it.
 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I rid a room of a flea infestation one time with tansy and marigolds. People who had animals shut in there had just moved out and sleeping was impossible. There was a big clump of tall tansy in the yard and several tall African marigolds. Going on a hunch about these plants insect-repellent qualities, I cut every stalk of both I could grab and strewed them about the entire bedroom, including under the mattress and in all the bedding, and went off to work. Came back that evening, no fleas! Not one! I left the stuff lying around till it dried out, then took it out. Fleas never came back. Now it was a small bedroom, maybe 150 square feet, and I had a lot of herb to work with. You couldn't not step on the stuff on the floor when I was ready to leave...I shut the room up, and it was warm summer in south Georgia, so it heated up pretty good in there that day....
 
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As so many here have stated, I am having a flea problem. I live in a woodsy area and the fleas outside are legion. In the past, in desperation, I caved in and used yard spray to try and control them but they seem to use that for salad dressing. I have used both Frontline and Advantage on my cats which has helped somewhat but still have not gotten the problem under control and I hate using poison on my pets. I decided to search around and try to find a better solution.

I have never tried DE and have been considering doing so - but am concerned about the risks I have heard about - and wondered how real the risks are or if they are propaganda. I live with 6 indoor cats (2 of whom are rescued ferals so they occasionally go outdoors).
One of the things I have read about using DE is that I have to remove my pets from the house when I am applying it. I have no place to go with 6 cats (who would welcome THAT invasion!) and so am not really able to vacate the house to treat with DE or any other flea product. Do you have any recommendations on a way I can treat without having to clear out the house? Would it be enough to temporarily put the cats into an untreated room while I am applying the DE? If so, how long before I could let the cats out of the "safe" room?
Another issue is that one of my cats has asthma, one is FIV positive, and another is elderly (17 years old). Will the DE adversely affect the asthmatic cat and would the residue in the carpets harm an elderly cat or an FIV positive cat whose immune system is compromised?
Also, what is the best way to spread the DE? Are there shakers I can buy or should it be spread by hand?

Some of my misgivings about DE actually came, not just from internet searching, but from user reviews. I researched buying food grade DE on Amazon.com and, as always, read user reviews on the product. Some of the reviews are very postive but there are some that do tell very negative stories about using the product and how it affected either them or their pets. Again, I don't always trust Amazon comments as many are uninformed, wrong, or planted but I still was a bit worried. I really need to get a handle on this flea problem before it gets completely out of control - it's annoying but not chaotic at present - and would appreciate any help anyone can give me.
 
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Hello,

I have started using DE to get rid of fleas with my cat. I prefer to avoid the use of pesticides, etc.

Obviously as the cat is the host animal, he needs to be treated as well as the home, but I am concerned about how to apply it to his fur and about the drying effects on his skin if left on. I have noticed dry skin on my hands after applying it and then washing off, so I wonder how bad it can be for him. I have searched the web looking for info on how to apply externally to an animal and how long to leave it on for, and all I can find is that it should be dusted on the fur, some people going a bit further and saying that it can be worked into the fur. But nobody says the best way to do this without a huge cloud of dust, and how long it is safe to leave it on there for.

Please note that I was noticing that he has some issues with breathlessness after exercise, so I don't want to aggravate any breathing condition he may have and want to keep the dust to a minimum.

Otherwise, I have read the article with the link to this forum and it is very informative, I shall use it to try to placate my husband who is insisting that we get in the heavy boys to rid us of this problem! Thank you for this and in advance for your reply.
 
Just the other day, I was thinking ... about this tiny ad:
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