I used the DE yesterday and think I may have put it on too thick, because I had to clean my filter on my vacuum cleaner about 20 times. I had this fantasy that I was going to lay down the DE at night and then get up the next morning and vacuum it (another site said I only needed to have it on my carpet for 12 hours). Well, I started vacuuming at 9 a.m. and didn't finish until 1 p.m. I live in a small one bedroom apartment, and my upstairs loft bedroom is mostly hardwood floor.
So after all that, this morning I wasn't up 5 minutes and I had a flea on me! I quickly drowned it in soapy water. But I was so discouraged over all the work I had put into it, that I told my husband that I give up, we're calling an exterminator. I fed into the fear that because I saw one flea, that must mean we missed more, and that they would multiply by the thousands, and they'd never go away.
Then I happened upon your article. It gave me new hope. I am ready to keep trying. I'm going to lay down the DE and leave it on a few days instead of 12 hours. I will leave it in the crevices. I will put it in the crevices on my hardwood floors. I will put it on my couch (I will just not be able to sit on it for a couple of days). I've not yet seen fleas in my bed. We don't have any pets, so at least we don't have to worry about that. I'm going to spread it on the path between my car and my house, and I saw a flea in my car last week, so I will give my car a good vacuuming, and then put some DE down. However that will have to be vacuumed up within 24 hours, as I use my car to transport clients, and I can't have them sitting in white powder.
I do have some questions though. Can fleas live on vertical surfaces? I mean, I can coat the horizontal surfaces of my couch but not the back, front or sides (because obviously it's a powder and it'll just fall off). So I can give it a good vacuuming when I remove the DE from the rest of it, should that be enough? And my bed sits on a hardwood floor, but there is a lot of crap under it, and I don't know, should I dig all the stuff out from under it to put the DE in the crevices? It sounds like a real pain in the butt to do, but I'd do it to get rid of fleas.
Thank you for the thoroughly informative and entertaining article. I've never dealt with fleas before, and I am learning more than I ever wanted to know about getting rid of them. I just hope I never have to research how to get rid of a rat infestation (knock on wood).
Never had to deal with fleas, but if you're going to go through the trouble of doing it, be thorough and do it right....honestly the best advice I can give. If it takes you an extra hour to get under your bed or into the nooks and crannies you didn't before you'll appreciate the time spent when you don't have to do it again because you didn't get them all.
I can't think of a reason a flea wouldn't live on the vertical surfaces of a couch. Focus on the creases in the fabric. The dust should stick to the couch material (unless it's a slick leather) more than well enough.
If you have fleas but no pets then the previous occupants of the house must have had pets.
Fleas can feed from people, but we are not their preferred hosts and as far as I know they cannot successfully reproduce without a pet in the food chain. Unfortunately that means you likely have a house full of the fleas in all stages left behind by the previous people and all VERY HUNGRY.
Fleas crap out what is known as "flea dirt" - basically partially digested blood - which the baby larvae can find and eat. It gets deep into carpets etc... and can sustain the food supply for a good few months, but the fleas eventually need a live meal if they are to breed.
With no pets indoors you should be able to wait it out. Keep hoovering regularly, use DE, consider getting your carpets steam cleaned (to remove flea dirt from deep inside).
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.