Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ugh! The Flea Circus is in Town

Or, at least it's in our house. And, the show is getting very poor reviews, especially from our dog who seems to be the fleas' favorite venue.

Did you know that fleas adapt to Frontline Flea Control?

It's true. It's no longer effective at controlling fleas on my pets. Which means we also have fleas in our house and in our yard.

The relationship between fleas and Frontline is similar to that of bacteria and antibiotics. Eventually, those little buggers learn how to survive despite our best chemical efforts. Drat.

Unfortunately, we learned this the hard way and my dog is now infested. I think the cats are, too. Though, they are handling it better.

Now I've found myself having to battle fleas in a war I thought I'd won years ago.

As with any battle, I'm taking it very seriously and doing everything I can short of bombing the little bastards.

I hate chemical flea bombs. They can't be safe for humans or animals. If nothing else works, I'll bomb as an absolute last resort, but I think I've caught the problem early enough that I can defeat the fleas without resorting to that.

Here's my plan of attack:

1. Use Adavatage II Flea Control for the pets. This has been ordered and is on its way. I've read anecdotal evidence on-line that says changing your flea control every so often is the wise thing to do. That way the fleas don't adapt to any one med.

2. Vacuum - a lot. I thoroughly vacuumed the living room today, after sprinkling flea powder on the chair, which seemed to be infested. Tomorrow I'll vacuum downstairs. Thankfully, most of our floors are hardwood, so there's very little space for the fleas to take hold.

3. Use pennyroyal to repel fleas from the furniture and the pets. According to Phyllis V. Shaudy's Herbal Treasures (Garden Way Publishing, 1990), the herb pennyroyal is an effective flea repellent. Dried pennyroyal smells nice and won't harm us or the pets, so it's safe to use. I've sprinkled pennyroyal on the living room furniture. I'm also going to make collars stuffed with pennyroyal for the pets and give my dog a rinse in cooled, pennyroyal tea.

4. Treat the lawn with diatomaceous earth. This safe, powdery substance is made from the shells of microscopic sea creatures called diatoms. It contains tiny, sharp particles that damage the exoskeleton of fleas, causing them to die. This has to be applied to a dry lawn, which we haven't had for some time now. It's supposed to stop raining on Friday. Then, I'll sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on the spots my dog frequents.

5. Pray for an early frost. I have to try, right? The outdoor fleas will be history once we've had a hard frost, which isn't likely to happen here for another month. Until then, I'll keep up with my flea attack both indoors and out.

I really despise fleas. I'm hoping they'll be gone by the end of the week. Wish me luck!

For follow-up and a review of the above, plus some great reader tips, check out Fleas: Best Reader Tips.


  1. Oh my I felt so alone! My cats have fleas also and everytime I think I've gotten every little bugger (pun intended) More crop up and begin biting! I'm going to look into the Pennyroyal to see if its safe to use around and on the cats! Good luck! I hope you get rid of them quick!

  2. We don't have fleas (yet) up the street here, but we did get mice. Yuck. I've been on shopping sprees for traps and whatnot twice, and at two different stores the managers said that both mice and fleas (and rats) have become a widespread problem since Irene flooded their natural homes.

  3. I don't have animals but a friend sprinkles salt liberally on the furniture & carpet, lets it set over night, & then vacuum it up. It dehydrates the fleas & kills them.

  4. Dad used to sheep-dip the dogs at the beginning of each summer. That seemed to do the trick.

  5. Hi! I just stumbled on your blog and saw this post on fleas. We have a new dog and I am TERRIFIED of getting a flea infestation! I mentioned it at my son's soccer practice and a fellow mom, who happened to be a vet tech, gave some good tips. She said fleas go to dark places- under furniture, rugs, etc- when not on the dog. She said flea bombs are worthless, as the fleas already built up a resistance to it, and to use the product FleaBusters. I guess it's a fine powdery substance, which you sprinkle in the dark areas, rub it in with a broom, and then vacuum up. She said in 3 days, it'll be a lot better. (And no, I don't work for FleaBusters or have any affiliation to them). It dehydrates the fleas.
    Good luck!

  6. I've just very recently created a blog about household hints, and I'm hoping that, because this one is quite similar, you might take a look at mine? It's at http://hintsforyourhome.blogspot.com