Help! There Are Fleas In My Carpet
Pesky little creatures they are. That tiny bug is every pet-owners nightmare. No one wasn’t to watch their cats or dogs battling with a flea infestation. When the fleas get into the carpet, it can feel like an all-out invasion- one that just keeps coming. Those that are visible are just the tip of the iceberg. The adult fleas hopping up and about can constitute of a measly 5% of the population that has made your carpet their home. The rest consists of everything from flea eggs, larva to the pupa. It all needs to be got rid of.
Why fleas love the carpet
First, it’s warm and comfortable. The fleas at the different stages of their lifecycles will thrive in the carpet. The lush fibres provide the adult flea with sufficient cover to hide in. When hungry, it simply hops onto the nearest host- which is usually your pet, suckles to its fill, then hops back into the carpet. The flat body of the flea enables it to easily move through the animal’s fur, and its hind legs are powerful- giving them the ability to jump as high as 50 times their body length. It’s not limited to dogs and cats. The fleas occasionally bite and infect people, causing those clustered red spots around the feet, ankles and the lower leg region. This wingless insect is particularly troublesome because of the tiny size, plus the strong claws. The dark coloured nature of the fleas enables them to stick out when on the animal’s fur, but when they get back into the safety of the carpet, they will be difficult to trace with the naked eye. It’s not just the adults that are a concern. The eggs can remain buried in the carpet for months while being dormant.
Getting rid of the fleas in the carpet
The process starts off with a thorough vacuuming. The nozzle attachment is carefully directed across the entire carpet, working in strips until the entire unit is covered. Areas like the corners of the room, the baseboards, underneath the furniture, and those spots where the pet enjoys spending its time on are all worked on. The upholstered furniture is also attended to, including its base and underside- especially since the fleas are fond of jumping onto the sofas. Ensuring that the furniture is dealt with is key to preventing your carpet from getting reinfested. The contents that have been vacuumed up are safely disposed of.
Next is the cleaning itself. The mode selected is based on the particular type of carpet. Methods like hot water extraction are particularly effective in getting rid of these annoying creatures. The sheer pressures and temperature of the water involved destroy the fleas regardless of the live stage they are in, from the eggs to the adults. Heated water is pumped into the carpet, flushing out the soiling together with the flea infestation, which are then disposed off. This is a fast and effective mode of dealing with the problem.
There are specialised products available for dealing with flea infestations. These are basically indoor insecticides, that the carpet is treated with. One applies the flea carpet spray onto the unit and allows it to dry. Vacuuming is then carried out every couple of days. The insecticide kills the adults, and not the eggs, hence the treatment will need to be reapplied on a regular basis. In case you’re using an insecticide, be keen to follow the instructions on the product label, especially when it comes to applying it onto the sections that are frequently used by the pet. You don’t want the chemicals involved contaminating the pet’s food and water, which could lead to adverse outcomes.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural treatment that can be used to control the flea infestation. It’s made from sediments of tiny, fossilized algae called diatoms. The cell walls of this algae are made of silica (the same component used in glass). Thus, the diatoms have glass-sharp edges. Fleas and other insects that have a hard exoskeleton are susceptible to the silica shards, which cut through the exoskeleton surface of the insects. This causes the fleas to dry out and die. Basically, the DE cuts up those pesky fleas that are residing in your carpet. It’s a non-toxic way of managing the infestation, and it’s recommended that one goes for the food-safe diatomaceous earth- which is not harmful in case it gets accidentally ingested by the pets. This powder is sprinkled onto the affected areas after they have been vacuumed, focussing on the sections that the pet spends most of its time in, and also near the entryways, baseboards, and under the furniture. Remember to sprinkle some of on the pet’s bedding as well- and don’t let your furry friend sleep in it. After 2-3 days, vacuum up the contents- and even take the bedding through a cycle in the washing machine. Give your pet a bath, since some of the sprinkled DE sprinkled over the sections that it spends its time in may have got onto its fur. After 4-5 days, vacuum the carpet.
Preventing future infestations
The fleas get tracked into the home on the pet’s fur, picked up during its outdoor escapades. As such, it is critical to have the pet treated to eradicate the infestation. Ensure that your furry friend is protected all through the year, with methods such as oral medication, chemical collars and also spot treatments. Brush your pet occasionally, especially using a flea comb since they have been designed with small and tight bristles to catch those tiny pests in the animal’s fur. The items that came into contact with the pet- from the bedding, blankets, drapes and pillows, also need to be thoroughly washed. Dealing with one area alone and leaving the other items still leaves you at risk of a recurrence. It’s prudent to schedule routine professional carpet cleaning sessions as well, where methods like hot water extraction flush out the gunk and insects in your unit. There are plants that come in handy as a deterrent against fleas. Note that they don’t kill the pests- they simply repel them with their smell, thus discouraging them from staying in your home. These are the likes of catnip- that your cat will also love to have around; lavender that adds to the fragrance of the house; chamomille whose flowers can occasionally be used to brew some tea; to herbs like rosemary and sage that can find additional uses in cooking.