Blood Pests of the Earth: All You Need to Know

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Fleas are some of the worst pests to encounter in your home. They’re so small and nimble that they are difficult to detect within the environment. They don’t have wings but can jump as high as 8 inches (20.32 centimeters). Their bites are very itchy (both for us and our animal companions), which can develop into unsightly clusters of swollen red patches on the skin.

What’s worse is that fleas can breed right after hatching from the egg and consuming blood, quickly enough that your home might be infested before you even know it. If ever you encounter these evil little creatures in your yard and home, you should take these immediate actions to treat your lawn and prevent further infestation.

Preventative Measures for an Infestation

1. Check your surroundings

Before the fleas latch onto you or your pets, they loiter around your yard first, so there is a high chance that they are living there. Start checking by wearing white socks that go as high as possible on your legs to prevent getting bitten. Then walk a few times around the inside of your house before going outside to do the same thing (to prevent more fleas from getting inside). If you see tiny reddish-brown or dark dots on your socks, you may be witnessing the start of an infestation. Dispose of the socks by putting them in a sealed bag before throwing them away.

2. Mow your lawn

Fleas prefer the outside of your home more than the inside. They hide in tall grass, so you’d have to mow your lawn more frequently to discourage them from living in your yard. But don’t mow too short as this will drive away their natural predators like ants and spiders. Also, remove thick patches of grass where they might be hiding.

3. Clean up your yard

Fleas prefer to live in shady and damp areas of your lawn, so trim any bushes or trees that prevent the sunlight from drying the wet soil and grass. Remember to always clean up clutter to prevent any areas where water and rodents might settle. This will also prevent other flea-carrying animals from entering your yard.

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4. Treat your pets

Wash the pet beds and toys in hot soapy water to kill flea eggs and larva. Consider buying anti-flea soap or shampoo for your pet and combing their fur with a flea comb after patting them dry to remove the ones left on their bodies. Place the fleas you combed out in a bowl of soapy water to ensure they’ve drowned. Comb them again after their fur has dried. Otherwise, talk to your veterinarian for a recommendation on how to deal with it more effectively.

5. The vacuum is your best friend

If you find that fleas are also inside your home, start vacuuming right away. This will suck up not just the adult fleas jumping around but also the eggs they laid in your carpets and upholstery. Put the dust bag in a sealed container before disposing of it in an outside bin. You’ll have to do this regularly to prevent them from breeding and multiplying inside the house.

Treatments for Flea Infestation

  • Diatomaceous earth is a natural material consist of powered microscopic remains of fossilized algae. Sprinkling this on your lawn will kill fleas and other crawling pests by drying them out and leaving them defenseless to their surroundings. This also kills the eggs and larva. Diatomaceous earth only works in dry conditions, so it is mostly used during the summer.
  • Nematodes are parasites that prey on fleas and other pests but are harmless to larger animals. These can be bought in your local garden centers, commonly infused in liquid as sprays that are easy to apply around your lawn.
  • Store-bought chemical sprays and treatments are also readily available in garden centers but are typically more harmful than the previous natural remedies. Consider contacting an exterminator for pest control. They are more capable of handling these chemicals and are better equipped, especially for large or out-of-control infestations. They might have to ask you to vacate your home while they treat the infestation.

The Bottom Line

Keeping your yard free from fleas may be a difficult (and itchy) task to handle but knowing what to do when they terrorize your home will help prevent an unmanageable situation. Chemicals and organic treatments may solve the immediate problem. But you’ll find that thorough cleaning and maintenance of both the inside and outside of your house will benefit you in the long run.

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