Fleas are driving us crazy!

donnar57August 31, 2007

(I'm either Zone 20 or 21, can't remember....)

We have a BAD problem with fleas this year, especially out in the backyard. It's probably because we have no lawn or other ground cover back there - we're in the process of remodeling our house, and the yard was torn up (purposely) in the process of putting in an addition.

The workmen trot through the flea-infected yard and come into my house (now working on the kitchen). Therefore they bring some of the fleas in, who immediately made headway for my carpet.

We've tried some chemical for ants and fleas in the backyard but that was about a month ago. It said "good for 8 months". Should I do it again, or is there something else for outside? I'm going to try 20-Mule-Team Borax on the carpets inside, as I've been told that's a good way to kill the fleas inside. Can I use it outside if we're planning to put in a new yard in October or November???

Thanks,

DonnaR/CA

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botanybob(Northern Idaho)

There are a lot of different products for controlling fleas. To do a good job, you will need to go after them everywhere at once. You will need to treat your pets as well as the house and possibly the yard. There are a couple of products that give good, long-term control on your pets. You should take a look at Frontline, Advantage and others for this.

For indoors, I have used Precor which contains an insect growth regulator called methoprene. It is very flea specific and VERY low toxicity for people and pets.

I am not familiar with outdoor flea treatment since I have never lived in an area where they could survive the winters. You list being in zone 20 or 21, which is from the Sunset Western Garden Book. On GardenWeb the USDA hardiness zones (1-11) are used because they are more widely applicable. Nevertheless, I believe that you are in southern California which does not get cold enough to kill fleas. I would avoid borax around lawn and plants. It contains boron which, in even small amounts, can be toxic to plants. Have a look at this website for more suggestions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flea Control website

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 3:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ditto on the Precor. I've used it inside, as well. Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 5:07PM
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calliope(6)

IGRs are going to be your ultimate answer for the long run. You are never going to get every square inch a flea can hide, with knock-downs. I've heard of people who pull off their base-boards and found it look like cotton candy from flea cocoons. Your pets are part of the link in the chain. Get them treated along with every other link. It's funny you never mentioned pets. You do have them, don't you?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 5:39PM
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donnar57

No, not that live in the house. The kitty lives outside and is not invited in (I'm allergic). We've never had an indoor animal of any kind, because of that.

Sorry about the Sunset Garden zone usage - not knowing, that's what I guessed it to be. But you're right - Southern Cal. We had a good freeze last winter that killed quite a few citrus trees (we managed to hang onto ours) and set avocado trees back (including ours). But I still think the stir-up of the fleas is due to the construction going around our home. The ones in the house previous to June 29th would be dead - we had the house termite-tented. But the ones outside have ridden in on pant legs, socks and shoes, I'm sure.

We'll look into the Precor. Thanks.

DonnaR/CA (north inland San Diego County)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 10:41PM
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oakcitygirl

Hi Donna,

I live in NC and work in veterinary medicine, so I get the flea question a lot. Perhaps I can offer you some helpful advice. The best product to use in your home is orthoboric acid (one brand is Flea Terminator II). This compound is completely non-toxic to humans and pets. The acid comes in a powder form which you sprinkle onto carpets as well as furniture (making sure that you get all sides of the seat cushions and under them). Also make sure that you get under furniture, fleas love dark places. After sprinkling on the powder, you brush it in using a broom and leave it. I would also make sure that prior to this, you vacuum your home thoroughly and then throw out the bag immediately. Anything that can be washed, wash in hot water. Keep in mind that flea larvae can live in your carpet for up to 9 months.

I would also make sure that your cat is on flea prevention, and that you are applying it every three weeks for now (it is safe to do so). If there are ticks in your area, I would use Frontline, but if ticks aren't a problem, then I'd go with Advantage and keep her on it year round for now (stay away from grocery store products such as Hartz or Sargeants, they don't work and are toxic in some cases). Also, it would probably be best to get a professional exterminator to treat your yard - they will guarantee their results for up to six months. Just check make sure they aren't using anything that could be toxic to your kitty!

It sounds like a lot, but, as I'm sure you've guessed, fleas are persistent little buggers!
Hope that helps!
Julie (Vet tech/Vet student)

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 5:54AM
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eloise_ca

Donna, I don't have any animals, but squirrels, cats and I assume birds, can leave their fleas in the yard. Fleas and mosquitos will do a number on me. I don't spray the yard, but if fleas enter my home via clothing or shoes, I sprinkle regular table salt on the carpet and even the couch. Leave it there for about three days, then vacuum. This kills any flea eggs because the salt dehydrates them and so they never hatch. Besides, salt won't harm you and it's cheap.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 9:54AM
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rosebud98

Things Needed

- Diatomaceous Earth
- Throwaway breathing mask

Buy diatomaceous earth, found at any organic gardening shop and few home improvement stores. It is essential to ensure the bag is not designed labeled for swimming pools. It must be agricultural or food grade. Its price should be about $10. Diatomaceous earth is prepared from fossilized microscopic shells and is found naturally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Get Rid of Fleas Naturally

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:07AM
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