If you are one of those animal-loving people, then you will always be in good company. In the vast majority of homes around the world there will be at least one pet.
Have a pet can bring a lot of joy as well as other benefits for both physical and mental healthHowever, one of the biggest problems of having an animal at home is the annoying fleas.
Fleas have been with us for a long time
These small threats have a long history within civilization. Modern science has identified at least 2,000 species, including the notorious rat fleas and those that plague cats, dogs and humans.
Because these biting insects are bloodsuckers, they are known to transmit deadly diseases to humans and animals.
Some of the earliest historical records mention small pests invading homes and inflicting bites on man and beast. These plagues caused death and disease centuries before microbes were discovered. Perhaps the deadliest flea pandemic on record was the Black Death in the 14th century.
As the population of European countries increased, so did the lack of proper hygiene and sanitation. Human waste and garbage was often dumped in the streets, further contaminating drinking water. With so much dirt and chaos, flea-infested rats thrived and lived in luxury.
These insects bit infected rats and then fed on human blood. Because both rats and insects carried the deadly bubonic bacteria, Europe erupted in a plague that lasted nearly seven years, costing an estimated 50 million people.
Nearly three centuries later, the bubonic plague reached Britain, claiming at least 100,000 lives. The same conditions and another infestation of rats bitten by fleas were the causes of this tragedy.
Bubonic plague may not be a threat in most countries in the modern world, but we still continue to fight against these insects that affect the well-being of our pets and our home.
Some facts about these little monsters
These bloodsuckers may be small, but they are robust insects for their size. Like most insects, their life cycle is divided into four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Did you know that the average flea can jump at least 150 times its body length?
If a 1.8 meter tall human had the same ability, he could jump up to 270 meters, which is the length of 2.5 football fields. Not surprisingly, these parasitic pests have no problem jumping out of the ground onto animals and humans.
Since fleas can live up to three months and a female typically lays 20 to 30 eggs at a time, infestations can occur in a matter of days.
These hellish bugs use your beloved pets to invade your home, but they can also sneak onto your shoes, clothes, or even through doors and windows. Because they require the blood of their hosts to lay eggs and survive, they do not discriminate between furry mammals or humans.
Fleas often leave multiple bites on their hosts that cause swelling, redness, burning, and severe itching. A very important sign that your furry little friend is infested with bloodsuckers is a chronic scratching, hair loss, irritated skin, and stains of fecal matter on their hair.
Fleas not only pose a blood-borne disease threat to animals and people, they can also cause anemia, infections, and skin diseases.
These can lodge in your carpet, furniture, and sheets. Bloodsuckers can survive up to two weeks without parasitic food.
Fight these pests naturally
Ever since these hideous parasites began to plague civilizations, people have tried to eradicate them in numerous ways. In the early days, people relied on natural remedies like alum powder, sulfur, or plain salt for insect control.
These were eventually replaced by chemical solutions that were often useless or too poisonous.
Are you looking for a way to eradicate fleas without harming your family, pets, or the environment? You can stop the constant itching and other potential dangers of an infestation safely, efficiently and organically. To rid your home of these pesky bugs, try these ten simple home remedies.
1. Use a vacuum frequently
Waking up in the morning, getting out of bed and placing your feet on a soft rug is a comforting feeling. Not only does this add an extra layer of insulation to your floors, it brings beauty and texture to the entire home. Unfortunately, your beautiful rug can serve as the perfect haven for certain pests like fleas.
To minimize the presence of these invaders, vacuum your carpets daily with a quality vacuum cleaner. Use a crevice and edging tool so you can get into corners and along baseboards.
After each cleaning, place the disposable cleaning bag in a small sealed trash bag and dispose of it in an outdoor container. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the collection container the same way.
2. A pinch of salt
Dehydration spells certain death for pesky bugsincluding ticks and other bloodsucking insects.
For a quick and cheap way to dehydrate them, sprinkle some fine salt on your floors or carpets and let it sit for at least 24 hours, which will kill all adult fleas. Then vacuum your carpet and repeat, if necessary.
3. Diatomaceous earth
Mother Nature supplies some of the best insecticides available, such as diatomaceous earth or DE. Millions of years ago, microscopic organisms called diatoms died out in bodies of water, leaving behind countless fossilized skeletons in the dry mud and clay.
For centuries, people have used DE for medicinal purposes and as a natural insecticide. It was easy to collect around lakes, rivers, and oceans. DE is safe for humans and animals but deadly to invasive insects.
Unlike most members of the animal kingdom, insects do not have an internal skeleton. Instead, their bodies are covered with a shell called an exoskeleton that must be kept moist and flexible. If not, it will break and the insect will dehydrate and die.
You can buy food-grade DE at most garden or farm equipment stores for great prices. Sprinkle DE in your yard or home to kill bloodsuckers and other harmful insects. The sharp microscopic diatom grains pierce the exoskeletons, which will kill these pests.
You know the pungent aroma of this element if you have ever smelled rotten eggs or cooked cabbage. Ancient cultures like the Egyptians prized sulfur as medicine and a cure for body lice. When using sulfur, make sure you only spray it lightly, as it smells very strong and too much is not good for your pet.
5. Use what your herb garden offers you
If you’re looking for something to rid your beloved pets and home of blood-sucking insects, why not take a walk through your herb garden?
Many of your favorite culinary herbs, like basil, lavender, oregano, and mint, are bad news for pests. Use fresh herbs or their essential oils to make a very effective flea repellant.
You may enjoy the refreshing scent of fresh lemon juice, but bugs and bloodsuckers hate it. While experimenting with some natural herbal insecticides, mix them with fresh lemon juice or zest. Then mix and pour the liquid into a spray bottle.
Lemon juice can be an organic bleach, so test it on an inconspicuous surface before using it. It’s a pleasant-smelling spray that may even be safe for you or your pets. Refill spray bottle with mixture as needed.
7. Baking soda
Like salt and sulfur, baking soda is a natural ingredient that you can sprinkle inside or outside your home to repel all kinds of nasty critters. You could also lightly dust your pets and your sheets to keep bloodsucking bugs at bay.
Sprinkle baking soda on the floor and upholstery, let it sit overnight, then vacuum it up.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Scientific reports abound regarding the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Not only can this be good for your health and useful around the home, but it can also repel blood-sucking pests. Just add a little to a cotton ball and leave it in places where you see these pests.
When bathing your pets, use a little apple cider vinegar in the rinse to repel nasty fleas. Vinegar can also combat pet dander and make their coats soft and shiny. It is a cheap and totally natural home remedy.
9. Cheats with liquid dish soap
Since bloodsuckers are not strong swimmers, this is a very effective simple trap that will clean your house in no time.
Just pour some water into a shallow dish and add a few drops of liquid dish soap, then place it where you notice insect activity. The pests will jump in large numbers for a swim, however they won’t make it out alive.
10. Neem oil
Do your precious pets have sensitive skin or are they dealing with blood sucking insects? The veterinarians have recommended organic neem oil for years as a natural way to deal with insects and cure animal skin diseases.
All you need to do is rub some into their skin and fur to see impressive results.