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FLEAS IN THE HOUSE!! Please help me!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
OK, so I haven't been here for a while--I couldn't pay for Internet access and had to use it at the library, and my college courses were unfortunately more important than TCS.

Anyway, here's my flea problem; hoping some of you people might know what to do about it.

I recently moved out of a house with three housemates. All three housemates had dogs; and all three dogs lived outside except at night. During the last few days before I left, I noticed small bites on myself; I thought they were chigger bites until I saw a small jumping insect in the car of the housemate who was helping me move. Also, I found a picture of flea bites in the library and matched them to mine. Her dog is the most likely to have been the one who had them, in retrospect; she rarely groomed him and would not have noticed an infestation for a while.

After I moved, I thought I had left any fleas behind me; but apparently either the new apartment already has them, or I took some with me. The last residents of the place had a cat (apparently, a badly-behaved cat, since the landlord will not let me have a cat). So there are two possibilities for origins: The dog, or the last resident's cat.

I have found five of them in two days, and drowned them in soapy water (which is the only way I can think of to kill them, tough little things that they are). Also I've had more flea bites, especially at night because I have to sleep on the floor since I haven't got a bed.

The only animal I have is a hamster. He's a dwarf hamster--smaller than a newborn kitten--and I do NOT want him to get fleas. It would be dangerous for such a tiny creature.

For the most part, I don't think the problem is very bad yet. I've only been able to catch five fleas; and they do tend to go towards me, since I'm the best source of food in the house.

My hair is short, and I would know if the fleas had gotten into it. Mostly the bites are at my waist and on my feet--where my bare skin makes contact with furniture and floor.

I can't afford to buy anything that costs more than $2, because that's the money I have right now. I'm pretty poor (See above re. lack of bed, among other things); so if I buy something, it'll have to be pretty cheap. I have a lot of "common household substances" though.

My landlord will be unavailable for two weeks. If I know anything about how fast fleas can spread, I can't wait to contact him. And it may not be his fault anyway--the biggest possibility is that I brought them with me.

So, from you experts who've rescued flea-ridden strays and probably had to deal with the problem yourselves:

How do I get rid of the fleas?
post #2 of 29
Instead of someone typing it all up...why don't you do a search in the care forum for fleas? There would be TONS of info there.

Thats your best bet

Good luck, I know how awful fleas can be
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
I can't seem to find much for ridding your house of fleas... especially if you can't afford either insecticides or diatomaceous earth... All I know to do now is vaccuum frequently and hope the fleas get sucked up. And shower every day, in case they're on me.

I do laundry by hand, in a bucket--will that still kill anything on my clothes?
post #4 of 29
I think I heard someone say that you can cut up a cheap flea collar and put it in the bag/canister of your vacuum. That way when you suck the fleas into the vacuum it will kill them.

But I've never tried it, so I don't know how successful it is. It would be cheap tho.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
My vaccuum's one of those little hand-held dust-buster things... I'm not sure a flea collar would fit into it... Maybe a piece of one might.
post #6 of 29
If I were you I would barrow money from a friend and pay it back later when money isnt so tight
post #7 of 29
Get a white plate or bowl... preferably a deep plate, but really, whatever you have at hand will do the trick. It needs to be light colored because it needs to reflect light. In the dish, make up a soapy mixture of dish soap and water. The soap kills them. Get a desk lamp, or something similar, and plug it in in a corner of the room... then shine it down and over the plate, on the floor. The fleas will jump toward the light, land in the dish, and die.

A side note, though... this is a LONG process. I'd put down as many of those as you can. You could probably get away with styrofoam plates though...they just have to hold water, but I guess maybe you'll want to make sure that the lamp doesn't melt them.

Let me see what I can find as a natural repellent for dealing with them while you're killing them off. Maybe you'd be able to spray that on your carpets... let me go check.
post #8 of 29
Okay, check out the citrus de-flea bath: http://flea.smart-tricks.com/2007/02...-and-tick.html looks fairly inexpensive, just takes time to make it.

*edit* If you spray this on your carpets and furniture, according to the website, this should kill the fleas, but I'm betting you're going to need to do this several times. I know they have a hatching cycle, I think it's 10 days. I'd spray the entire house once, wait 10 days, spray everything again, and then wait another 10 days, and do it a third time. Two will probably kill most of it, but double check and see what the flea cycle is. You might even consider spraying it all, waiting five days, spraying to kill any newly hatched eggs as they won't be on an exact cycle of 10 days, spraying again in another five, and so forth, until you've covered a 20 day period. It certainly won't hurt anything to spray that often, and since you don't have any pets with the exception of the hamster, just make sure you keep him out of the spray area while you're spraying (maybe in a bathroom or something, with an exhaust fan if there is one, with the door shut for several hours while the mist settles)... and then don't let him run about on the sprayed carpets, although it's all organic. You may want to check and see if citrus is harmful to hamsters.. it may not be harmful at all.
post #9 of 29
put several of those cheap flea collars (the kind nobody should ever use on their pets) in your vaccume cleaner and go vaccume your entire house. You also MUST call out an exterminator to get them all gone -those suckers can multiply faster than those cheap fixes will catch up to them. Also- put your kitties on eithor Feline Advantage or Frontline Plus for felines (i prefer frontline plus as it kills fleas & ticks) make sure whatever you put on them it kills ALL stages of flea development, larva,eggs, babies,adults, EVERYTHING! Make sure you use a pest company that uses safe products so they will not make you or your furbabies sick.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Reminder--total funds: $2 plus common household products!

Lemons and limes... I can't buy those for me to eat; I'm subsisting on ramen!! I do have lemon juice but I don't think that counts.

Thankfully I've got no cats (I never thought I'd say that!) and don't have to treat them...

How much does borax cost? I've got to look into that--maybe it can kill the ones in the carpet.

Are they really attracted to light? Shouldn't cost much to find out...

Maybe I could just put insect repellent on me, so they wouldn't be able to feed. How long can they live without food?
post #11 of 29
Well, lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges... any citrus fruit is going to be less money then borax, I think. At least, I haven't been able to find it cheap. I think you're probably going to spend as much on that as you would on some raid foggers. If your apartment is small enough, you might be able to get away with a double pack. It sort of depends on how much space you have there. You might also call your grocery store and see if they're throwing any citrus produce away that you can get from them at either a terribly discounted price (I don't see why it wouldn't still work for the "potion") if it's not any good for sale but still mostly intact..
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Okay, check out the citrus de-flea bath: http://flea.smart-tricks.com/2007/02...-and-tick.html looks fairly inexpensive, just takes time to make it.

*edit* If you spray this on your carpets and furniture, according to the website, this should kill the fleas, but I'm betting you're going to need to do this several times. I know they have a hatching cycle, I think it's 10 days. I'd spray the entire house once, wait 10 days, spray everything again, and then wait another 10 days, and do it a third time. Two will probably kill most of it, but double check and see what the flea cycle is. You might even consider spraying it all, waiting five days, spraying to kill any newly hatched eggs as they won't be on an exact cycle of 10 days, spraying again in another five, and so forth, until you've covered a 20 day period. It certainly won't hurt anything to spray that often, and since you don't have any pets with the exception of the hamster, just make sure you keep him out of the spray area while you're spraying (maybe in a bathroom or something, with an exhaust fan if there is one, with the door shut for several hours while the mist settles)... and then don't let him run about on the sprayed carpets, although it's all organic. You may want to check and see if citrus is harmful to hamsters.. it may not be harmful at all.
Great Comment CatsAreBetter.
yes, do this, and I hope your fleas are gone. Or, if money is tight, borrow money and call an exterminator.
post #13 of 29
Sorry for the lame joke above!

I use to use (I no longer have a flea problem where I currently live) a tea made from rosemary (fresh or died, doesn't matter). I put a few tablespoons in a heat-proof bowl; boil a kettle of water, pour that over the rosemary, and let it steep and cool. Strain out the leaves/needles, pour into a clean (never used for anything else, especially anything toxic) spray bottle. Test on a small area of fabric/uphostery before spraying like a wildwoman! I've never had a problem with it staining, though never have tried it on anything very light-colored. The "tea" is a disgusting brown color, but it seemed to help a lot. I also used to make sachets to tuck in and under furniture, stuffed with cedar chips--the kind for hamsters from the pet store/WalMart. You can also do this with rosemary, though it's would be much more expensive.

Avon Skin-So-Soft, diluted with water, and again in a spray bottle, works quite well.

you may want to invest in a real vacuum cleaner. It's essential to vacuum every day, including the upholstery, and CHANGE THE CANNISTER/BAG OUTSIDE, DUMPED INTO A TRASH BAG, AFTER EVERY USE. Don't bring the flea eggs back into the house! Also, I got rid of most of the carpet in my house, and haven't seen a flea since--not that there were many before--but I think hardwood, laminate, tile or vinyl floors would help. If your cat sleep on the bed, make sure you change the bedding a couple of times a week, and wash in very hot water to kill the fleas/eggs or mites.

Frontline and Advantage work very well with cats, if you can use that. The others over-the-counter brands never seemed to work for my pets.

Good luck! I know how nasty it is to have a flea infestation!
post #14 of 29
You know, your landlord would probably hire someone to spray the place for fleas. That may be the cheapest option if you can wait until he gets back. In the meantime, if you have some Avon skin so soft, spray that on yourself.

For a personal repellent... make up a garlic "tea"... or eat garlic.. they don't like the taste of it and your skin will adopt the scent (not so much that people can smell you usually), but enough that fleas will smell you. Otherwise, if you have rosemary, as marge said, and spray yourself with that.. your ankles and clothing, etc. If you have rosemary you might do well to spray that all over the place..

What household cleaners do you have on hand? Do you have any mints flavorings, dried mint, citrus based cleaners... citrus flavorings or extracts..
post #15 of 29
There is info here on where they are generally hiding
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trouts mom View Post
Instead of someone typing it all up...why don't you do a search in the care forum for fleas? There would be TONS of info there.

Thats your best bet

Good luck, I know how awful fleas can be
Well thats a nice response. Couldnt find a less smart arse way to go about it?
post #17 of 29
I think Natalie was trying to point out in a polite way that the poster started her thread in the wrong forum. I've moved it, so she will get more responses here. I don't think she was being "smart" at all, I think she was just pointing her in the right direction.
post #18 of 29
Erm, where was it originally? I don't think I personally would have posted it there... since she doesn't have a cat? I never even noticed where it was posted at.. just saw it in new posts, heh.
post #19 of 29
Yeah, Im not in the best of moods, and I probably snapped when I shouldnt have. My apologies Natalie, hope your willing to forgive.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Erm, where was it originally? I don't think I personally would have posted it there... since she doesn't have a cat? I never even noticed where it was posted at.. just saw it in new posts, heh.
It was in the lounge, but most people with knowledge would look here so the OP will probably get the most help in here.
post #21 of 29
Ahh, gotcha, makes sense.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Ah, good ol' forum management... 's okay, nobody's feelings were hurt. Well, mine weren't anyway.

Okay, so here's what I did. I got some boric acid powder, which cost $2, and vacuumed my floors thorougly. After that, I sprinkled the powder all over my floors, and used a broom to "sweep" it into the carpet.

Since then, I haven't seen any fleas. I've had two flea bites, total, in three days... so they're still out there... but I used to get ten flea bites in a single day, so it's getting better.

I think the best solution will be to simply wait for the landlord. If the landlord is willing to buy me some flea treatment or other, then the problem will be solved (I hope).

My hamster is residing on top of the fridge now. I don't want such a small creature to breathe boric acid, or to get bitten by fleas.

I'm eating a lot of onions... does that count?
post #23 of 29
Dunno if onions will do it, but I think I read that fleas don't like cedar... so.. if your hamster is in a cedar bedding.. they might never even think about going to visit him. On top of the fridge should keep him safe. Actually, on top of the counter would probably do it.. as I don't think fleas can jump that high.. one would have to jump on you, and then jump up there, and then get in the cage... I think you're pretty safe.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Dunno if onions will do it, but I think I read that fleas don't like cedar... so.. if your hamster is in a cedar bedding.. they might never even think about going to visit him. On top of the fridge should keep him safe. Actually, on top of the counter would probably do it.. as I don't think fleas can jump that high.. one would have to jump on you, and then jump up there, and then get in the cage... I think you're pretty safe.
Just FYI, cedar should NOT be used in small animal cages, the aromatic oils are very bad for them.
post #25 of 29
I don't use cedar, but that is what they normally sell for smaller animals, if I remember correctly. I actually don't have any small animals unless you count the Tonk, who is doubling in size every week... he used to be teacup sized... now he's teapot sized, with the big belly from eatin so much...

But I'm sure Callista will be glad to know of that information. Thanks for giving a heads up.
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wishiwas View Post
Just FYI, cedar should NOT be used in small animal cages, the aromatic oils are very bad for them.
Yep, I'm aware of that--I use recycled-paper bedding for him. A hamster breathing cedar smell for a lifetime, with his sensitive nose and tiny lungs!... no wonder the poor thing would end up with respiratory problems.

Okay, so the fleas are back. The boric acid worked temporarily, but I think it only kills adult fleas. I got a couple of bites and yesterday I found the second of two fleas since the boric acid treatment.

In any event, I'm trying something stronger now.

I can do that because my mom sent me some "natural vitamin pills", and I don't need vitamin pills because I have about three bottles already. So I went to Wal-Mart and exchanged them! (Yes, I know it's a bit ungrateful; but Mom wants to be of use to me, and if I need flea control but not vitamins...! Well, if this works, I'll be VERY grateful to Mom, however impolite it might've been to return her vitamins.)

I'm using these "fogger" things (I think they're also known as 'flea bombs'). My hamster Newton has been barracked on the back porch for the time being, so he's safe from the fumes. I'm at the library, hoping that when I return the air will at the least be breathable enough so I don't have to hold my breath while I open the windows. I got enough of a mouthful of that stuff when I started the foggers going, and it's noxious!

Wonder how long before I'll feel comfortable sitting on the floor again? Yeah... I think I'm gonna spend time on the porch with Newton for a while.
post #27 of 29
You'll want to do this again in about a week...see what the instructions suggest. It takes about an hour or two to clear out of your house. Once you go back and open the windows, then I'd sit out on the porch for a bit while it clears out some. It's tolerable, but not pleasant.
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to say that it's been a few days since I did the flea bombs, and so far, I haven't had a single flea bite! Hopefully, they won't come back. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for the advice, everyone.
post #29 of 29
Good luck! :lucky:
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