Fleas thrive in warmer weather, and the summer months often bring a rush of infestations of the annoying bugs.
But it’s not just pets that can suffer – fleas can cause a health hazard for their owners too.
Millions of British homes are at risk of an infestation because more than a third of pet owners have never treated their home for fleas , and they ignore cleaning in out-of-sight spots under rugs and sofas, which can become a breeding ground for them.
Even when their pets have had an outbreak, a quarter of owners don’t check their homes further for a possible infestation.
Related: The 4 Design Mistakes Pet Owners Make (and How to Fix Them) (provided by Real Simple)
So here’s everything you need to know about getting rid of these annoying bugs.
Treating your pets
Fleas are brought in to your house by your dog or cat, so if they’re infested you need to act quickly before the bugs spread around your home.
If they catch fleas, you can feed your pet flea tablets. These fast-acting pills put a flea-killing toxin into the animals blood – which is harmless to the pet, but means any flea which bites them will be killed in minutes.
You can also get spot-on flea drops, which you apply to your animal’s fur with a pipette. These work in a similar way to flea tablets, quickly killing the fleas on contact.
It is important to follow the instructions and dosages on any flea treatment for your pet.
For a home-made flea trap, fill a plate or shallow dish with a mix of water and dish soap, and put it next to a dim light source (like a night light) in rooms where you often get fleas. At night, the fleas will be attracted to the light, jump into the water, and get stuck in the liquid.
Many people are unaware that they should treat their home after their pets suffer an infestation.
More than 95% of fleas don’t live on animals, but in wood floor crevices, carpets and soft furnishings. And they can remain alive in the cracks for up to two years.
So it’s important to get cleaning.
You should regularly wash pet bedding to get rid of flea eggs and larvae, but also make sure you’re washing the other soft furnishings where they sleep (even if they’re not allowed to!). That means sofa coverings and bedsheets too.
You should also get the vacuum cleaner out regularly. Fleas prefer dark areas where dirt and debris gather – under the sofa, in-between sofa cushions, floorboard crevices, skirting boards, and curtains. Rugs and mats are also classic breeding grounds, and places pets like to take a nap.
Flea sprays are available which you can apply to your carpets and furniture to kill fleas (but make sure you follow the instructions carefully).
If your pet spends a lot of time in your car, it’s also worth giving that a good clean too.
Another option to get rid of fleas is to use a fogger, or flea bomb. These are aerosol cannisters that let off a mist into your room which contains an insecticide to kill the fleas and their larvae.
When using a flea fogger it is essential that you follow the instructions carefully.
They often need to be left for eight hours or more to work properly, and you need to stay away from the room while it’s working so you’re not breathing in the chemicals.
It’s important to keep your pets away from the mist too, as you don’t want them inhaling the chemicals either.
You’ll also need to make sure any food or utensils are not going to get covered either, and turn off the electricity in the room, as aerosols can be flamable.
Make sure you clean your surfaces and air out the room after the treatment is finished.
Calling in the professionals
For serious infestations in the home, it could be worth a professional pest controller.
They’ll have the expertise and equipment to get rid of tough-to-shift infestations that you might be struggling with.
Related: 4 Reasons Your Home Is Giving You Anxiety – and How to Fix Them (provided by POPSUGAR)
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