Author Topic: Fleas?!  (Read 3751 times)

jeromedawg

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Fleas?!
« on: August 31, 2017, 12:43:11 PM »
Hey all,

So we currently have an issue with fleas in our condo. We actually had a problem previously after dog-sitting but this was years ago and we eventually got rid of them. The past week we were out of town and the heat has been crazy down here in SoCal. Within the past few days after getting back I noticed flea bites all over my feet/legs. My kids have gotten bit too I think. I have a sneaking suspicion it might be from roof rats burrowing under the decking we have immediately outside our kitchen and master bedroom due to the heat. Just a couple days ago we noticed a dozen flesh flies and blow flies flying around our home, indicating something probably crawled up and died behind a wall (a rat perhaps?). We've had issues with rats previously but when I go into our yard I don't see any immediate signs like droppings. The HOA came out and set traps but that was months ago. I even posted a thread here with a video of *almost* catching a huge rat in a trap at night.

In any case, we just vacuumed last night and I confirmed seeing 2-3 fleas in the vacuum canister. I've tried DE but unless it was fake stuff, it didn't seem too effective. So now I'm wanting to get some sort of flea spray or perimeter control. Any suggestions on what can be done? I have a couple rat traps and am tempted to set them but may just contact the HOA first about all this. 
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jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 01:10:38 PM »
To confirm my suspicions I walked out to the second deck near the master bedroom with white socks and a TON of fleas jumped on my socks! I had a cup of water so I picked them off and dumped them in. I probably got bit a few more times but I had to do it to find out where they are coming from - same location as where the rat I tried to trap was months ago.

I ended up contacting the HOA and they're putting a work-order through for pest control both for the suspected rats and fleas. Fleas don't just show up out of nowhere - I know that much. We don't have pets and I've never see stray cats come into our yard, so I'm pretty sure this is a rat issue. Not sure what else it could be bringing these things in.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 02:14:05 PM by jeromedawg »
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jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 02:27:23 PM »
Went back out again to sprinkle Sevin Dust all over that deck. While doing so I spotted a bunch of rat droppings over there - so that pretty much confirms it's the rats. I'm probably going to set a couple traps out there and see what happens...

EDIT: just placed some unloaded baited traps against the wall in the area I see the droppings. We have a shed up against that wall so I think they're using it for cover. I may have to get rid of or move that thing... I'm gonna set a camera up outside like what I did last time and see if I can capture the activity. I figure the exterminator will only trap outside our walls and possibly just spray insecticide in the yard.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 02:46:58 PM by jeromedawg »
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paddedhat

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 06:23:05 AM »
I feel your pain. Our first new home was the first structure built on an old farm field. We accidentally moved into half a bazzion field mice and had Whitetail deer surrounding the place as they grazed. We weathered several infestations.  At the peak of the worst one, the exterminator ran up the basement steps, squealing like a little girl, after he looked at his socks. It got so bad at one point that my pickup truck was infested. We did all the DE, natural remedies, dog bath, vacuum etc, but once it get's bad enough, "bombing" the interior was the only success. Good luck.

jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 11:41:24 AM »
I feel your pain. Our first new home was the first structure built on an old farm field. We accidentally moved into half a bazzion field mice and had Whitetail deer surrounding the place as they grazed. We weathered several infestations.  At the peak of the worst one, the exterminator ran up the basement steps, squealing like a little girl, after he looked at his socks. It got so bad at one point that my pickup truck was infested. We did all the DE, natural remedies, dog bath, vacuum etc, but once it get's bad enough, "bombing" the interior was the only success. Good luck.

After sprinkling Sevin Dust, within hours of walking back around the deck, I couldn't find any fleas on my socks, so I guess the stuff works! I sprayed some perimeter control stuff right before as well so maybe that killed off a bunch too. No activity to report as far as the rat traps are concerned. I baited the traps with walnuts and cashews that are a bit old, so maybe they need some higher-end stuff like peanut butter LOL
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 06:44:05 AM »
I have treated some pretty severe flea infestations, and it can be rather challenging.  The key is a total, holistic approach.  The area must be vacuumed a lot, and that means all furniture, under furniture, drapes, etc.  Fleas/eggs can live an amazingly long time without food (you/pet), and can live on hard surfaces, in joints between floor planks, that would seem inhospitable.  After a very thorough vacuuming of everything, it's time to spray the area, furniture, rugs, etc with insecticide, and a growth regulators.  Raid makes a pretty good canned product, but I like to use a 1% strength Permethrin, mixed up with an added growth inhibitor.

After spraying, you might see what seems an increase in flea activity, but this will die down.  Vac again every day, and perhaps spray again in 5 days or so.  Persistence is key, and if you miss one spot, you could have issues...  That means closets, under couches and chairs, drapes...  I also add a cat/dog flea collar to the dust collection system of the vacuum, to keep live swept up fleas from getting out.  Doesn't hurt to spray this dust container either.  I will also spray the yard, patios/deck with this same spray, and it really, really works. 

Never had a situation that I did not win, it save s a ton of $$$ over a pro, and you may get better results than a pro.  Good luck, I know how frustrating this can be.

Edit:  Forgot to mention, make sure to read the application label very carefully.  Permethrin is a very safe insecticide when used as labeled for people and dogs, but cats are very sensitive to it.  Accommodations would need to be made.  Permethrin in fact, is what certain tick repellent clothing is sprayed with; I do it myself as a defense against Lyme disease carrying ticks, and it is extremely effective.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 06:51:29 AM by Holyoak »

jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2017, 07:13:01 PM »
I have treated some pretty severe flea infestations, and it can be rather challenging.  The key is a total, holistic approach.  The area must be vacuumed a lot, and that means all furniture, under furniture, drapes, etc.  Fleas/eggs can live an amazingly long time without food (you/pet), and can live on hard surfaces, in joints between floor planks, that would seem inhospitable.  After a very thorough vacuuming of everything, it's time to spray the area, furniture, rugs, etc with insecticide, and a growth regulators.  Raid makes a pretty good canned product, but I like to use a 1% strength Permethrin, mixed up with an added growth inhibitor.

After spraying, you might see what seems an increase in flea activity, but this will die down.  Vac again every day, and perhaps spray again in 5 days or so.  Persistence is key, and if you miss one spot, you could have issues...  That means closets, under couches and chairs, drapes...  I also add a cat/dog flea collar to the dust collection system of the vacuum, to keep live swept up fleas from getting out.  Doesn't hurt to spray this dust container either.  I will also spray the yard, patios/deck with this same spray, and it really, really works. 

Never had a situation that I did not win, it save s a ton of $$$ over a pro, and you may get better results than a pro.  Good luck, I know how frustrating this can be.

Edit:  Forgot to mention, make sure to read the application label very carefully.  Permethrin is a very safe insecticide when used as labeled for people and dogs, but cats are very sensitive to it.  Accommodations would need to be made.  Permethrin in fact, is what certain tick repellent clothing is sprayed with; I do it myself as a defense against Lyme disease carrying ticks, and it is extremely effective.

Thanks - I agree on the persistence part. Last time we dealt with these I felt like we were endlessly vacuuming our condo. The major problem is the one outside though I think. I just set a small white bowl/soapy water/lamp trap out last night and caught a dozen or so fleas on our main deck next to the kitchen. I haven't stepped foot by the deck on the other side though, as it seems worse over there. I sprinkled a little sevin dust inside the vacuum canister where I found some live fleas so we'll see if that kills them - they were in there for hours though and still living. The sevin I have is older too so not sure if it has lost any of its strength.
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TomTX

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 08:15:42 PM »
I've tried DE but unless it was fake stuff, it didn't seem too effective.

DE is better at killing baby fleas, any adults around likely won't be killed quickly if at all. However, it can prevent reinfestation from eggs hatching after you killed the adults.

Make sure you use insect grade DE, not the pool grade stuff. Pool grade doesn't have the sharp edges/spines you need to scratch up the fleas.
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jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 11:16:32 AM »
I've tried DE but unless it was fake stuff, it didn't seem too effective.

DE is better at killing baby fleas, any adults around likely won't be killed quickly if at all. However, it can prevent reinfestation from eggs hatching after you killed the adults.

Make sure you use insect grade DE, not the pool grade stuff. Pool grade doesn't have the sharp edges/spines you need to scratch up the fleas.


I see... that makes sense - there are adults in the vacuum canister still alive. Even after sevin dust! I think I got "food grade" DE a while ago - will that cut it (ha ha)? Or should I specifically look for insect grade?
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2017, 12:06:06 PM »
You can get stuff that has a hormone that tells the flea embryos to keep growing and they die inside the eggs. Lasts 6 months and breaks the cycle.

Recommend it.
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TomTX

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 02:08:57 PM »
I've tried DE but unless it was fake stuff, it didn't seem too effective.

DE is better at killing baby fleas, any adults around likely won't be killed quickly if at all. However, it can prevent reinfestation from eggs hatching after you killed the adults.

Make sure you use insect grade DE, not the pool grade stuff. Pool grade doesn't have the sharp edges/spines you need to scratch up the fleas.


I see... that makes sense - there are adults in the vacuum canister still alive. Even after sevin dust! I think I got "food grade" DE a while ago - will that cut it (ha ha)? Or should I specifically look for insect grade?

While DE is used to control insects in food (primarily grain)  in agriculture - I'm not certain that the consumer version of that would be sure to maintain the sharpness, or just that it's safe for humans to eat.

When I bought it, I got insect grade.
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jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 09:44:32 PM »
You can get stuff that has a hormone that tells the flea embryos to keep growing and they die inside the eggs. Lasts 6 months and breaks the cycle.

Recommend it.


Interesting... do you know what it's called or branded as?
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jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 12:27:39 PM »
I've tried DE but unless it was fake stuff, it didn't seem too effective.

DE is better at killing baby fleas, any adults around likely won't be killed quickly if at all. However, it can prevent reinfestation from eggs hatching after you killed the adults.

Make sure you use insect grade DE, not the pool grade stuff. Pool grade doesn't have the sharp edges/spines you need to scratch up the fleas.


I see... that makes sense - there are adults in the vacuum canister still alive. Even after sevin dust! I think I got "food grade" DE a while ago - will that cut it (ha ha)? Or should I specifically look for insect grade?

While DE is used to control insects in food (primarily grain)  in agriculture - I'm not certain that the consumer version of that would be sure to maintain the sharpness, or just that it's safe for humans to eat.

When I bought it, I got insect grade.

Where did you buy from btw?

Had the pest control guy come out and give a quote of near $600 to lay rat traps and spray for fleas in our yard/home... :T I'm pretty sure the HOA will deny the quote for the interior yard work and will only approve of the outside perimeter bait stations (which the pest control guy said were not maintained...!) Figuring they're not going to cover any of this, I went out to the deck area with a bottle of dishwashing liquid, poured some around the deck and sprayed/flooded the deck with water, hoping that it'll wash away larvae/eggs and kill existing fleas. I'll probably do this regularly until they're all gone. As far as the rats, I'll put some peanut butter out there to see if I can entice the rats to come out, then set some traps and hopefully kill them off. I haven't had much luck in the past. Dunno if flooding the deck area would have had any effect on the rats either....
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 01:02:05 PM by jeromedawg »
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 12:55:04 PM »
You can get stuff that has a hormone that tells the flea embryos to keep growing and they die inside the eggs. Lasts 6 months and breaks the cycle.

Recommend it.


Interesting... do you know what it's called or branded as?


Looks like there are heaps. Google IGR flea treatments.  Eg

https://www.amazon.com/Precor-IGR-Regulator-Control-ZOE1010/dp/B0043HXV66
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 02:40:22 PM »
I grew up in So. Cal. and we had horrible fleas, then my mom found Fleabusters powder -->  https://www.amazon.com/s/?tag=mh0b-20&ref=pd_sl_2rlvf2ny6t_b&hvadid=3527164536&hvqmt=p&hvbmt=bb&hvdev=c&keywords=fleabusters&hyd_lpo_exg=85&index=aps&ie=UTF8&hyd_lpo_url=C&hyd_lpo_ex=e7d4978876e3f3e2352029fb27c9d2380cf6ceb9323c97ec7de38bfb0d333de3

Simply sprinkle on your carpet and furniture and then vacuum it up and you will not have fleas in your house.  I had 2 cats when I lived in CA and I treated every apartment that I ever lived in with this before moving in and I never had a problem with fleas.  I even had a vet tell me that "all cats have fleas" so I challenged her to find one on my cats and she couldn't find any or any "flea dirt". 

jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2017, 04:28:30 PM »
I grew up in So. Cal. and we had horrible fleas, then my mom found Fleabusters powder -->  https://www.amazon.com/s/?tag=mh0b-20&ref=pd_sl_2rlvf2ny6t_b&hvadid=3527164536&hvqmt=p&hvbmt=bb&hvdev=c&keywords=fleabusters&hyd_lpo_exg=85&index=aps&ie=UTF8&hyd_lpo_url=C&hyd_lpo_ex=e7d4978876e3f3e2352029fb27c9d2380cf6ceb9323c97ec7de38bfb0d333de3

Simply sprinkle on your carpet and furniture and then vacuum it up and you will not have fleas in your house.  I had 2 cats when I lived in CA and I treated every apartment that I ever lived in with this before moving in and I never had a problem with fleas.  I even had a vet tell me that "all cats have fleas" so I challenged her to find one on my cats and she couldn't find any or any "flea dirt".

Crap, that stuff is expensive! And a lot of it at once too lol. I think if I can remove the rats, that *should* take care of the bigger problem.
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jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2017, 04:31:01 PM »
You can get stuff that has a hormone that tells the flea embryos to keep growing and they die inside the eggs. Lasts 6 months and breaks the cycle.

Recommend it.


Interesting... do you know what it's called or branded as?


Looks like there are heaps. Google IGR flea treatments.  Eg

https://www.amazon.com/Precor-IGR-Regulator-Control-ZOE1010/dp/B0043HXV66

Thanks - I need to get one of those insect pump/sprayers too, if I want to do it right. Only thing that concerns me is the fleas that are growing under the deck - I don't think anything I spray can make its way directly under the planks fully. The *best* option ideally would really be to rip the stupid decking out but that's a lot of work and paying someone else to do it is a lot of money.
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2017, 11:19:53 PM »
I think that's what is so good about the IGR (insect growth regulator) approach  - because it's a hormone it only needs parts per trillion to work. So spray like crazy and it should work.

I'd get going on the rodents. Rats + fleas = plague
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2017, 11:22:16 PM »
I think that's what is so good about the IGR (insect growth regulator) approach  - because it's a hormone it only needs parts per trillion to work. So spray like crazy and it should work.

I'd get going on the rodents. Rats + fleas = plague

Over a week ago I let the water loose on the deck and really tried to flood out any rodent burrows around the deck and what not. I think the pest control company repositioned and re-baited a rodent trap station on the other side of the deck area/wall where the burrow entrance is. Hopefully they were able to catch something if flooding it out didn't work out. I flooded the deck a good 3-4 times.

I ended up getting Martin's IGR (Pyridine) and a bottle of Permethrin off Amazon in addition to a 1gal pump sprayer from Sears that I used some of my SYWR points on. The Permethrin arrived while I was out of town this past week so I wanted to wait till I got back to mix and spray. Today was the day - I checked earlier and there were definitely still fleas around but not nearly as many as before. No signs of rats either - none of the unset/baited traps looked like they were touched and no rat droppings. Possibly all the attempted-flooding helped with some of this, but it has also gotten a bit cooler too (I noticed there were a *ton* of fleas around when the weather was much warmer. After spraying this morning, I waited and walked back out there in the afternoon. No fleas spotted jumping on my legs. I'll have to do the sock test too. I've seen at least one other common area report of rats so I'm hoping the exterminator did his due diligence across the entire community.
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2018, 03:27:50 PM »
Martins is the IGR I use, and eluded to in my post.  Keep at it, and if you apply the spray correctly, continue to sweep carpet/chairs, etc, re-apply, they will be gone with this one-two punch - the residual value is very good too.  BTW, I always went with a 1% Permethrin solution.  Permethrin is also absolutely the bomb for ticks if they are a concern, and damn near any other insect.

jeromedawg

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2018, 06:43:23 PM »
Martins is the IGR I use, and eluded to in my post.  Keep at it, and if you apply the spray correctly, continue to sweep carpet/chairs, etc, re-apply, they will be gone with this one-two punch - the residual value is very good too.  BTW, I always went with a 1% Permethrin solution.  Permethrin is also absolutely the bomb for ticks if they are a concern, and damn near any other insect.

I'm pretty sure the flea problem is under control at least for now :) I went over to the deck area the other day and nothing. Seems like the Martins stuff works well (both the IGR and Permethrin are Martins). When applying it way back when stupid me forgot to release pressure from the sprayer before unscrewing the top (I don't even know why I unscrewed it) but the mixture splattered on my face. I rinsed my face/eyes/mouth for a few minutes after that mishap lol. I'm still a little concerned over this long-term, but it was also a one-off incident (I'm not exposing myself to this stuff on a daily basis).
Anyway, I'm thinking perhaps I should consider reapplying within the next couple months. I applied this first at the end of September - I'm assuming reapplication after X months is probably not a bad idea to fully break the flea cycle?
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2018, 04:02:17 AM »
A re-dose of IGR can't hurt after 6months. It is amazingly effective. It only needs parts per billion to work.
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2018, 01:16:48 PM »
IGR definitely works, but I'm concerned about killing the good bugs in my garden.  In the house, no problem.

Cedar oil (or just cedar mulch) can work well in the garden, but is expensive.

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2018, 06:50:29 AM »
If it's just IGR it's highly specific to fleas and shouldn't effect anything else. Just stops the flea eggs hatching.

But, yeah, permethrin will kill all the bugs good and bad...
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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2018, 01:14:21 AM »
What is the best treatment if you have a crawling baby/toddler? I am worried about putting a spray down on the floor since LO spends so much time there, and places everything in his mouth. We have already sprayed the furniture, bathed the cat with special shampoo, and are thoroughly vacuuming every 2 days with a new bag each time.

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Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2018, 12:46:16 PM »
What is the best treatment if you have a crawling baby/toddler? I am worried about putting a spray down on the floor since LO spends so much time there, and places everything in his mouth. We have already sprayed the furniture, bathed the cat with special shampoo, and are thoroughly vacuuming every 2 days with a new bag each time.

@jpdx if you're not treating the cat (Frontline, Advantage, etc), you need to start, and keep it up. Teach said toddler not to eat the cat. Of course, the cat may take care of that for you!

MoMan

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  • Posts: 119
  • Location: Houston
Re: Fleas?!
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2018, 07:01:31 AM »
Sounds like you've made some progress. I can't help you with the rats (still battling them myself with a variety of traps -- most effective so far has been the old fashioned spring traps) but I do have one additional suggestion for outdoor fleas: Nematodes.

Our previous dog had serious skin irritations, so beyond shampoo, the ingestable types were not usable for her. And fleas in wet Houston can get pretty bad. Our vet recommended nematodes, which are tiny (invisible to human eye) unsegmented worms. You buy a mix of dirt (we got it from a nearby garden supply store) that contains the critters. The kit includes a paper filter, like a coffee filter, which screens out the dirt but lets the critters pass through: Put dirt mix in, pour water over mix and put the resulting dirty water in one of those garden hose sprayers (Orkin makes one) and go to town watering everything in the yard. I think the package contained a 2-treatment pack--keep the 2nd pack in the fridge for a couple weeks until stage 2. The nematodes also attack fire ants and some other pest insects and are completely safe to spray around pets/people. Some Googling will give you all the info you need.

Between the nematodes, permythrin/IGR and vacuuming, we were always able to control our infestations.

Good luck!
"He is richest who is contented, for content is the wealth of nature."