I found the article looking for the efficacy of diatomaceous earth on flea pupae who live in a most difficult state. They're like little time bombs, ready to "explode" after lying dormant in their cocoons for potentially many months. This means they can be in hiding all winter when the home is cool and dry, then erupt when warm/moist weather comes in. I could not figure out how, on the second floor, with two indoor cats, I managed to get a flea infestation as bad as mine has been. Answer: I brought the pupae here when I moved back in November.
Last week, I went into a little used bedroom. For a while, the cats had been hanging in there, but when they came out, I decided to shut the door. I knew I had a slight flea problem in the rest of the house - nothing major [...] but this particular room was actually 1000x worse than the rest of the home put together. When I walked into that room after at least a week or two of not stepping in there, I immediately had at least 50 fleas on each leg. I don't know if a sudden wave of hot humid weather had already encouraged the pupae to emerge as biting adults, or if my presence in the room brought them out. Or, perhaps it was a combination of both.
The point is that while you have to treat your pets and home to kill adults, eggs and larvae - the pupae are hardest to kill. Continuous vacuuming during an infestation is really important. When entering a room with dormant pupae, the presence of your warm body and the disturbance caused by the vacuum cleaner can make adults emerge from their cocoons in a matter of seconds. These fleas are relatively small, compared to a biting adult. Have a pointy nozzle ready to suck 'em up as they pop out until they stop popping out. I have a bagless vac, and I take the canister outside and dump it into a pail of water, making sure any living fleas are drowned.
Additionally, I have to wash absolutely all linens and clothing from that room - and there are a LOT. All these clothes will be stored up high, wrapped tightly in plastic bags to prevent reinfestation. They will not be put in on beds or in low areas until a week goes by without any fleas showing up in the vacuum. After I'm sure the flea problem is gone, I will still vacuum quite regularly to diminish the pupae population as much as possible
Vacuum vacuum vacuum! Frequently clean areas used by pets, wash their bedding, vacuum every inch of your furniture - every day during the worst infestations, then 2-3x per week for a while, then regularly enough that dormant pupae don't stand a chance
The little used room still has plenty of food to keep fleas alive and breeding. The vacuum is your best friend and you have to do it repeatedly. For a while, you'll enter the room and see fleas jump around. These fleas probably JUST came out of the pupae stage, instantaneously, just because you walked in. This is good. You can suck them up before they breed and get them out of the house. After repeated vacuuming, you'll see fewer and fewer. Unfortunately, there's no rest for the weary, you gotta keep it up, even after you're sure there are no adult fleas living in your home. There may still be pupae, which can sit in waiting for months, looking for a great opportunity to reinfest
Cal Burns wrote:We just moved to a property with several acres where deer and squirrels roam. Have had a huge problem with fleas the past several weeks. Keep our dog on a leash now when we take him out. Have applied DE to him and the indoor cat every day for weeks. Dog still have 15-20 a day we take off him. There is a bedroom we rarely go in that has them as well. Have spread DE and left in there a week then vaccuumed. Still had them. The DE doesn't seem to be making a big difference.
Think part of the problem is the amount of rain we have gotten this year.
The Comfortis product sounds good but is expensive at $200 for 6 mths. worth for 2 animals, plus the vet visits. Getting an electric fence to keep out the deer. Going to try essential oils and lavender next on the dog.
John Polk wrote:Perhaps you can find some of these flowers that do well in your area.
Though "fleabane" hasn't been proven, it couldn't hurt anything.
Bethanny Parker wrote:Is it enough to do flea control in the house if the dog is going outside every day? Are there plants I can use to deter fleas outdoors in the area where the dog hangs out during the day? I am more worried about the fleas on the dog than the fleas in the house. We have not had fleas in here that were bad enough to bother anyone. I just feel bad for the dog, seeing him scratch all the time.
Homesteading Mama wrote:While the article I read had some informative material, I was disappointed by the amount of conjecture or the number of "statistics" that were the result of the author's speculation. I also believe he seriously downplays the potential severity of a flea problem and severely underestimates the number of fleas that are present when one is visible as well as how quickly they can multiply.
We have now, unfortunately, resorted to a pesticide spot-on treatment. I hate having to do that but I have to break the cycle and what we have been doing so far has not worked. The problem should be significantly improved by now if organic means were going to suffice but they have not.