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Fleas
Old 08-29-2011, 11:19 AM   #1
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Fleas

About a month ago we had some tenants move out of a one bedroom with hardwood floors. They had a kid and a cat and did not leave the place broom clean - the debris piles were left "to avoid filling the dumpster". Normal deal, we swamped it out, hauled off the junk, sent in the cleaner and placed an ad.

Several days later went in and when I came out my socks were covered with fleas - like 20 or so. Crawl on me you little @#~! ? Oh it was on! First we blasted the rooms with various aerosol bug grenades, leaving cabinet doors open, giving a few days between each application and tromping through the place with vigor to wake and hatch the fleas from their pupae stage. B*stards laughed it off. Then we got serious and hosed it down with high dollar vet flea sprays - Siphotrol and Knockout. That left a growing mushroom shaped cloud and the apartment glows with a pulsing green light now, but the flea production has shifted into crazed overdrive.

After creating fast mover zombie mutant flea hordes I decided to become one with nature and built a flea trap:

Actually my trap involved water and a heat lamp. Should have known the smoked out flea bitten tree huggers weren't the best source for flea murder traps. Went in after a few days and was briefly captivated by the show of synchronized swimming a few fleas were putting on until I realized they had infiltrated a battalion behind me to invade my ankles.

There is a scruffy female cat trying to insinuate itself here at the house - feel bad for it, it's super friendly, but dang it, we are down to one cat and gone 1/2 the year. I had dosed it with Revolution back on the 25th since it was hanging out and looked like a fleabag - we don't need a flea population taking hold here. The gal has me stripping in the yard and clothes go direct to a hot water wash when I come back from flea battle. Anyway, on Saturday I stuck sacrificial scruffy cat Softy in a carrier and put her, a catbox, food and water in the apartment. She was not enthused - pretty sure cats are more sensitive to flea movement than humans. Sorry Softy - you are the poison bait.

- Went back after 24 hours and couldn't find Softy - the cat box had been used, most of the food was gone, but no sign of Softy. Windows and doors were locked, it was weird going from room to room calling for her and getting no response. Had the fleas eaten her blood, bones and all? Was about to give up when I found her cowering behind the toilet. Stuffed her in the carrier, grabbed up the food & litter box, did a quick clean and left. With 2 fleas on my socks. Pretty good kill ratio there Softy. She got a special dinner after her work on the front lines. May call on her again after a few days, if she hasn't fled to Canada.

A month without rent so far thanks to the flea infestation and a curse upon cat owners who don't de-flea their animals!

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Old 08-29-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
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Calm, that is hilarious! Poor kitty--you owe her big time!
I have used my dogs as sacrificial flea attractors in the past, too!

We sometimes have trouble with fleas in a little-used spare bedroom. We don't allow our pets into there, so occasionally I will go in there looking for something and discover the peppered ankle effect you so accurately described. Like you, I've discovered that they are likely to live through anything short of Chernobyl.

Great visual of the cat, too!
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:07 PM   #3
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One of the big problems with fleas is that they lay eggs... lot of eggs... and those can stay dormant for a long time... just waiting for the radiation level to go down or another sucker to come and donate blood...


I do not know what they have now, but in the past you would use a flea control spray that basically made them sterile... they thought they were laying the next group of warriors, but they never hatched.. maybe what you put out was one of these... if so, it is just a waiting game for all the eggs to hatch...


What is in the rooms? If there are couches and chairs etc., there are plenty of hiding place for them... carpet also...
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:24 PM   #4
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Speaking of carpet, one of the great cheap fixes for fleas in rugs and carpets is borax, ie 20 Mule Team in the laundry aisle at the grocery. I've used it in the past, but with all our dogs and cats, we don't have a rug in our house that can't fit in the washer! All hardwood and tile now.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:31 PM   #5
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Many years ago I had huge flea problems - you could lay a newspaper on the carpet and hear a rapid fire clicking as the fleas smacked into it. Expensive bug bombs did nothing, flea treatments for the dogs had no effect.

I finally tried finely powdered boric acid (I forget the brand), sprinkling it on the carpet, working it in with a broom, then vacuuming. No fleas for about 10 years, with multiple large indoor / outdoor dogs. I reapplied it once (maybe 5 years ago), never a flea in sight.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:15 PM   #6
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Life cycle for a flea is adult, blood feast, breed, lay eggs - like 50/day for a long long life. If the adult hasn't had a blood meal it can live for months on random house dirt - dander, skin flakes. Once it lays eggs those eggs will hatch into the larval stage, which lasts weeks or more. The larvae live on blood flecks, skin, more random organic debris, and ultimately build a cocoon of sticky stuff and house debris that is pretty much proof against anything, as Texas has noted. While in it's cocoon the larvae enters it's pupae stage and miraculously turns into a glorious butterfly - I mean fully adult flea. Given the right vibration, humidity, heat, CO2 the flea then senses a victim and hatches as a fully formed ready to bite Alien, that is, adult. Really, makes me wonder if the movie Alien is based on flea life.

Without the right stimulus the flea can remain dormant in it's little cocoon for six months to several YEARS. The advantage to products like Advantage or Revolution is that they kill adult fleas after 24 hours or so as well as affecting the eggs, making them incapable of hatching.

Using a poison bait cat hopefully causes the impenetrably cocooned fleas to hatch for feeding on poison kitty (allegedly just being in contact with the skin or fur of the treated animal poisons the flea), resulting in dead adults and a non-viable egg generation. Hope is that the larval fleas have been nuked into submission by our sprays and bug bombs.

I hate fleas.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:32 PM   #7
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Ugh, I am having flashbacks of the great flea invasion of ought six. We brought my newborn daughter home to a mostly carpeted house that turned out to be infested. I vacuumed the carpets several times a day for a couple weeks (which did the trick), but eventually had to resort to a spray in the concrete floor basement.

I hate fleas.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:20 PM   #8
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I think a proactive action is to vacuum like crazy. There was a huge outbreak of fleas at my friend's place. At the time she had a dog, cat and 5 kittens. We'd itch all over at night. I remember going to the closet, then looking at my calf, there'd be about 20 fleas on there. Finally, we went to the vet, got some flea spray in a can. Used that in the rooms and vacuumed/vacuumed/vaccumed. That combination seemed to fixed the problem.

Study: Yes, Vacuums Kill Fleas | LiveScience
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:35 PM   #9
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My cousin de-flea'd his place and things were looking pretty good until a bomb went off next door (10 sticks of dynamite in his neighbor's car).

Apart from blowing his house off its foundation, every semi-comatose flea in the place awoke with a start and jumped on us. It's amazing how much dust, dirt and critters accumulate in the space around us.

That was quite an evening, even without the fleas.

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Old 08-29-2011, 09:31 PM   #10
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With effective flea meds for pets, I don't see how folks with cats/dogs can have any fleas anymore. How does that happen?
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:56 PM   #11
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With effective flea meds for pets, I don't see how folks with cats/dogs can have any fleas anymore. How does that happen?
Poor people have pets too. They mostly manage to house and feed themselves and their pets, but medical care, dental care, and flea meds may not make the cut. Costs about $15/month for Advantage, more if you are poor and have to buy doses one at a time from the local store. A matter of choices.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:00 PM   #12
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With effective flea meds for pets, I don't see how folks with cats/dogs can have any fleas anymore. How does that happen?
We were going without to avoid kid/pregger chemical exposure.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Nuiloa View Post
My cousin de-flea'd his place and things were looking pretty good until a bomb went off next door (10 sticks of dynamite in his neighbor's car).

Apart from blowing his house off its foundation, every semi-comatose flea in the place awoke with a start and jumped on us. It's amazing how much dust, dirt and critters accumulate in the space around us.

That was quite an evening, even without the fleas.

Nui
Nui, you do lead an interesting life!
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:11 PM   #14
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We were going without to avoid kid/pregger chemical exposure.
Well yeah, and then there's that...
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:03 AM   #15
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I am itching just reading this thread. I remember those nasty buggers from my childhood where we had outdoor cats that would occasionally be allowed in the house. This was when we lived in southeast TN so the fleas were awful and they seemed to especially enjoy me instead of my brother.


Out here in the desert there are essentially no fleas. Too dry for them to survive long off of their host. I don't miss them at all. We do have to treat the dogs when we travel to humid areas of the country to keep them under control in the RV.

Fleas, ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, gnats, black flies, etc. Hate 'em....don't have 'em here much and don't want 'em ever again. I'll take the occasional scorpion, more plentiful desert cockroach, black widow, tarantula, and road runner any day.
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