|Written by Sieglinde Proctor|
For all the remedies we read about how to control fleas in the house and in the yard, somehow many of us still struggle. Toxins and insecticides may not be a first choice for flea erradication. There is a simple way to get rid of fleas, and it is based on a principle that goes back a long time. It is not expensive, and it is not hard to apply in the area to be treated. Anyone can do it, and it is not toxic or damaging to pets or people. It will not harm plants, and can be applied anywhere there are flea problems.
Treating the environment to get rid of fleas is important. Fleas may infest the envioronment where the pet lives, and even though the pet may be treated with spot on type treatments, this does not always stop the problem for humans or other animals living in the same area.
This type of flea killing action relies on suffocation. Suffocating fleas is a very effective way of getting rid of fleas, because like all insects, they must breathe to live. Suffocating fleas in this way will end the cycle, as even flea larvae must breathe.
Like most insects, fleas breathe through tiny holes in their bodies. When these little holes or entrances get plugged, no air can enter, and the flea dies. Because of this action, this remedy works quickly every time.
Fine powders are the enemy of fleas and many other insects. This is the reason you might see birds taking dust baths. The fine dust will kill mites on the bird's body. Mites are torture for birds, and taking baths in water or dust is how they rid themselves of them. Fine powder can be purchased in many economical forms, but probably the most economical is body powder or baby powder. Because it already comes in an applicator, this powder can be applied to large areas in or out of the home easily.
Selecting a scent that is not objectionable is important, because it will smell for a day or two. So, if one is entertaining a date that evening in the living room, perhaps using baby powder all over the room would not be the best choice. But many powders are available in soft, squeezable plastic containers. This kind of container more effectively spreads an invisible layer of dust, while shaking it will make it necessary to go over the area with a broom to spread it afterwards.
There are applicators for spreading dust for the garden, and they can be found online under pesticide applicators. One very effective tool is called the Dustin Miser, and it is great for larger outside areas. But already packaged dusts in soft plastic can shoot out a large cloud and is suitable for most areas.
The dusts, once they are spread, should settle before someone uses the room or area. Breathing in talc or any powder is not a great idea, especially if someone has allergies or asthma. So close the door to the treated room for about a half hour before use.
A thin layer is all that is needed for carpet or bare floors for the powder to be an effective flea killer. Reapplication can be done at any time, preferably after vacuuming. Leave the powder on the floor for as long as needed. A constant layer is probably best. If the carpet is dark, powders can be dyed with food coloring. Add drops of the appropriate color and shake well. Keep adding food color until the correct color is reached. Allow powders to dry on a flat surface before putting in a container for spreading.
Using plastic jars with holes in the top can be utilized for homemade or dyed powders. Placing netting or nylons over the top may provide a finer filter. Experiment to see what works.
For powders with no scent, corn starch is excellent. It can be purchased for a dollar or so in the grocery store in the baking aisle. Some people like to add their own perfumes or essential oils to cornstarch and make their own scented powder.
The key to effectiveness will be to address all areas of the home. Furniture should not be the exception. Once the problem is more under control, reapplication can be done as needed. But give the effort a few weeks, as flea eggs are hatching. Make sure, therefore, that any area pets have been in or on receive treatments.
A side benefit to killing fleas with powders is that pet odors are also better controlled.