Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Get Rid of Fleas

How to Get Rid of Fleas

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Sometimes pets accidentally bring some friends home to play, and those friends happen to be tiny, blood-sucking, and persistent. Here's how to get rid of the unwelcome guests.


  1. Throw all of the pet bedding in the washing machine. That includes anything that the pets like to regularly lie or sleep on, which isn't always intended to serve as pet bedding. Does Fido love to nap on that throw rug in the living room? Wash it. Does Fluffy enjoy lounging on the doiley on the coffee table? Wash it. Wash it all - the bedsheets, the throw on the sofa, the bathroom rug.
  2. Spray an insect growth regulator (IGR) like methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Room foggers (total release aerosols) aren't as effective as sprays unless they contain an IGR to prevent the larvae from turning into adult fleas. Without IGRs, larvae won't be controlled because they won't be reached at the base of carpet fibers where they develop.[1]
  3. Become friends with your vacuum cleaner. While the loose, potentially flea-infested items are being washed, arm yourself with a vacuum and suck the flea life out of every surface, nook and cranny you can find. While you're doing this, send the pet(s) outside, or confine them to the bathroom, so that any fleas they're carrying won't jump onto the surface you just vacuumed. Also, while flea collars aren't the best choice for your pet, sticking one in the vacuum cleaner helps to kill off the buggers that you've sucked up so they can't come back out to haunt you. Here are some spots to concentrate on:- areas that don't get much exposure to sunlight (fleas like humid and cool spots)- anywhere that you find dried blood and feces (flea debris)- upholstered furniture (lift up those couch cushions)- crevices around baseboards and cabinets (that's where the eggs and larvae are probably hiding)When the vacuum bag is full, seal it in a plastic trash bag and put it in a covered trash container, preferably outside. Otherwise, the little buggers can crawl out and make themselves cozy again.
  4. Give Fido or Fluffy a bath. They might hate you for it but not as much as you hate the fleas.
    • Choose a flea shampoo carefully. Anything with conventional insecticides (pyrethrins, permethrin, d-limonene, chlorpyrifos, or carbaryl) might irritate or harm your pet, and the people around it.[1]
    • Wash the neck first so that the fleas don't jump up to the head during the bath.[2]
    • Apply a flea-killing product, available as a flea-collar, a spot-on, or oral medication. If the collar contains only insect growth regulator (which prevents larvae from turning into adults, but does not affect the existing adults) use another treatment, such as a spot-on product, to control adult fleas.[1] The following products are not effective:[1]
      • Vitamin B1 (thiamine hycrochloride) supplements
      • brewer's yeast
      • herbal collars
      • ultrasonic devices

  5. Reclaim your back yard. Before letting the pet(s) outside, prune foliage and trim grass to expose flea larvae to sunlight.[3] Look around. Do you see any dark, moist spots? Find a way to expose them to sunlight, if you can.
  6. Follow up. This is the most critical step because if you skimp on it, all your efforts from your previous steps will be undone. The eggs that survived will hatch, and the entire cycle will begin again. Do the following until you find no traces of fleas on your pets or in your home:
    • Vacuum thoroughly every other day - since fleas can develop resistance to insecticides, vacuuming regularly is essential in order to bring them under control[1]
    • Mow the lawn regularly
    • Wash pet bedding in hot, soapy water at least once a week


  • When checking your pets for fleas, use a fine-toothed comb specifically designed to remove fleas. A flea is covered with tiny hairs that allow them to "grip" onto the host's fur. Using a comb with teeth that are close enough together that the flea can't slip through is the most effective way to dislodge them. A comb designed for another purpose or a brush won't remove all the fleas.[4]
  • Frontline works well, you can buy it at the local Petsmart or Petco.
  • Sevin Dust sprinkled on their bedding, in your yard, and a little rubbed into their fur will also help kill and prevent fleas.


  • When using any chemical, follow the instructions carefully.
  • Make sure that everyone - especially children - washes their hands right before eating, since swallowing a flea infected with tapeworm can, well, get you your very own tapeworm.[4]
  • If you do choose to use frontline and it gets on you, wash your hands, just as a precautionary.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7419.html

  2. marthastewart.com

  3. http://www.ehow.com/how_2439_get-rid-fleas.html

  4. 4.0 4.1 http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/flea.htm

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Get Rid of Fleas. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.