Handling the Flea Infestation

Keeping up with regular flea treatments is a necessity for animals and my dropping the notes from the family calendar has led to a flea infestation that has taken over my life.  Because it’s been years since we’ve had issues with vermin of any kind, I’ve had to remind myself that treating any kind of infestation requires disciplined persistence.

Fleas – the Basics

Fleas have a lifespan of about 90 days and the typical female flea can lay upwards of twenty eggs each day.  However, most fleas aren’t on the animals; they’ll be found in the household surroundings such as carpets, bedding and furniture.  What’s stunning to see is the jumping ability of the adult flea.  During a vacuum session last week, I noted that one leaped ahead of the vacuum and it appeared to reach a height of a foot about the floor.  This would be akin to watching LeBron James leap over Madison Square Garden.

Removing Fleas – Getting Serious

Understand that it will require assiduous effort to get rid of the problem.  There are several steps that I’ve taken to remedy things.

  • Take the animals to the veterinarian.  Ours were each given a single tablet of a flea killer called Capstar, which will have a rapid effect on the fleas as it spreads through the animal’s system and poisons the fleas.  This kills off the fleas that can lay eggs and the medication lasts long enough that any newly hatched fleas will be killed as they bite the animal.
  • Frequent changes of bedclothing.
  • Removal of any and all stuffed animals.  In this instance, I’ve bagged them for a month so that any hatching fleas will starve.
  • Daily vacuuming of the carpets and rugs.  That includes moving furniture since cats and small dogs can move almost everywhere and the flea can wind up almost anywhere in the carpet.
  • After vacuuming, removing the vacuum from the house so that the fleas don’t crawl out of the bag and back into the carpets.  Seriously.  It was recommended by our vet that we toss every vacuum bag, but the cost is prohibitive so we keep the vacuum in the garage unless we are using it.
  • Spraying the house with Siphotrol, available at the vets and reapplied in two weeks.  Note that the animals have to be placed in separate areas and the house vacated for several hours due to the odor.
  • Renewing the schedule for the flea medication on each animal so that the issue doesn’t happen again.

 And with the kids always watching, when they’re old enough, they’ll learn that the responsibility for an animal extends beyond feeding them and playing with them.

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