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Fleas! Oh, Help! - Zer Netmouse
September 26th, 2009
10:03 am

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Fleas! Oh, Help!
I am the only mammal in my house. The house has fleas.

I am catching them and killing them as quickly as I can, when I see them on me, but I know they lay eggs, and I sense this solution will not be effective in my lifetime. I don't have carpets, just wood floors, but I have stacks and stacks of books and crap all around so I despair of doing a thorough cleaning.

These are probably fleas that came home with me from Chilicon, since the night we came home is the first time we noticed them. The internet tells me they are most like "cat fleas", since even a dog is more likely to have those than "dog fleas". The internet provides a lot of advice for getting rid of fleas on your pet.

I have no pets. Brian has long since gone back to Ann Arbor. It's just me and the fleas.

What must I do?

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:tlatoani
Date:September 26th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
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I have no pets.

You do now. ;-)
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From:shekkara
Date:September 26th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
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Wow. Good luck. Abbie and Lou got fleas once, and when we treated them the fleas left our house. I guess they didn't like the available human diet.

Googling "fleas no pets" does return a lot of pages. This page has a specific section on "Fleas, but no pets". http://insects.tamu.edu/extension/bulletins/l-1738.html And there are a lot of forums that address this specific situation, too.
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From:xdaemon
Date:September 26th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Flea Bomb. They suck, but the fleas simply will not survive.
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From:jojomojo
Date:September 26th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
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I remember when I was a teenager and my cat was getting old (she lived to 20 or so...ancient for a cat). I'd be drinking a nice cup of tea and fleas would keep hopping in it. I feel your pain.

I'd suggest getting your cat on anti-flea medication, since that worked for me, but...yeah ;)

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From:catrambo
Date:September 26th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Oh man. I had this issue at one point, but it was solved by putting Advantage, which kills them, on the cat living with me. One of the most satisfying moments of my life was seeing her sleeping with a ring of feebly twitching, dying fleas around her.

Wood floors should be much better than carpets, but you probably should sweep/clean as thoroughly as you can, particularly all the crevices of upholstered furniture. In my experience, the chemical bombs were less than effective.

Could you borrow someone's cat, treat it with the anti-flea stuff, and then use it to lure them to their tiny deaths?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 26th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
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Could you borrow someone's cat, treat it with the anti-flea stuff, and then use it to lure them to their tiny deaths?

Grin.

I really like that idea, but I'm told by other sources that human blood is not sufficient food for them to breed, so I should not bring cat blood in here for them to munch on. Luckily they only live two weeks to 100 days...

*sigh*

I'm going to try thorough cleaning and one or two of the various tricks people have mentioned to dehydrate them.
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From:kgkofmel
Date:September 26th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
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Do a massive laundry. Add Borax to the wash.

Vacuum everything and dispose of the bag immediately. Sprinkle Borax in crevices or corners where dust collects. Fleas will lay eggs in dust if no other option exists.

Repeat every two weeks until you see no more fleas.

WASH YOUR HAIR AND COMB WITH FINE TOOTH COMB.

For the most part cat fleas are not evolved to spend a lot of time on the human body, but if you are the only thing around to eat, they'll find a way. Textiles, especially seams in clothing and bedding are their best avenues for humans. Hair and hats are the next.
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From:kgkofmel
Date:September 26th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and if you see eggs, squish 'em. And they are large enough to see.
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From:shekkara
Date:September 26th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
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If you "go chemical", then be wary of the big national chains. They don't always train their technicians as well as they should. When I was researching pest control this summer, I read some horror stories of technicians improperly applying pesticides (and not even being licensed for those particular pesticides, to start!), and the poor home owners ending up with horrific health issues. Find a local company that's been in business for decades. If you're lucky, maybe you even have a local green/environmentally conscious pest control company.
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From:kate_schaefer
Date:September 26th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
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I'm chemically sensitive, so we used orange oil when infested with fleas. Because we have to do everything the eccentric way and because fresh orange oil is supposed to be best, we got some oranges and grated the peels while walking around the house, allowing bits of oily peel to fall all over the floor while we laughed hysterically. After grating and laughing, we ate the oranges. The following day, we vacuumed up the dried orange peel bits.

You could do this with lemons instead, but eating the lemons might be more challenging.

Eventually, the fleas died off, perhaps injuring themselves laughing at our efforts in the process.

Good luck.
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From:cathshaffer
Date:September 26th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
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Do nothing. Fleas can't survive without animal. They may occasionally bite humans, but they are not compatible with humans and they won't be able to reproduce and survive in your home without pets. Fleas also typically die off when average daytime temperatures drop below 70, so the stragglers that came home with you will probably disappear within a couple of days.

You don't need the exposure to the chemicals in a flea bomb, etc.
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From:eviljohn
Date:September 27th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I was just about to post the same thing. No need to co crazy with chemicals, if they are cat (or dog) fleas they'll just run out of food and die.

A vacuuming and sheet laundering won't hurt, and will probably speed along things.
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