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Don’t Panic, It’s Organic: Getting fleas to flee — the natural way

Andy Lopez, Contributing Columnist/Invisible Gardener
7:30 am PDT July 13, 2017

If you are having a severe flea problem indoors, you must first do a thorough cleanup of the immediate area(s).

First, find out how they are entering your home. Be sure to check the immediate area around the home, including the front and side doors. The best way to find out is to follow the animals you have around and see how they are picking up the fleas.

By removing any spaces that can house the adult fleas, you are reducing any eggs which can hatch later. The key thing to do here is to use dry steam, then thoroughly vacuum any rugs; send them to the cleaners if you can’t do this, or have a company come and steam clean them. Make sure that you destroy (i.e. throw away inside a plastic bag) the vacuum bag, which should be full of fleas and their eggs. Vacuum/steam several times per week to ensure that you get all eggs and any adults. 

Use the Ultimate Flea Trap to catch them. This also tells you if you still have fleas inside.

If you have a dog, bathe them in Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, or use a flea comb (check out Flea Zapper) on cats/dogs. Bathing your pet once per week with a natural pet shampoo will do wonders in controlling any fleas or ticks. Read the ingredients to make sure that it is 100 percent organic. Any good natural pet shampoo will do, but some have essential oils as an ingredient. Just test the pet with a small amount to make sure it is not allergic to it.

A good flea comb will help control fleas and ticks on your dog and cat. Dip the flea comb into alcohol between uses. When using the alcohol, make sure you clean the comb before you use it on the pet. Just dip the comb into the alcohol to kill the fleas, then wipe before using again. Or do like I do, and get Natural Pyrethrum Powder (Google it), sprinkle a little bit on your hand and then comb it up with the flea comb. This will kill the fleas on contact. Use this method once or twice a week. The natural pyrethrum will not affect the animals. Spray inside the house with any of the natural spraying mixtures I cover later. Get the Flea Zapper, a battery-operated device that actually works and zaps the fleas!

You can spray the inside areas of your home with soap, essential oil mixture or Flea Bully.

Try one drop citronella oil or one drop lavender oil or one drop tea tree oil or cedar oil mixed with five drops of any natural soap, like lavender soap, per a gallon of water. Mist areas you do not want them on like rugs, pet areas, other areas around house, etc. then vacuum. This will provide you with some immediate help. Test spray on rugs and furniture first before using. Essential oils are not really oils, so it will not be oily. Make sure you start with minimal amounts like one drop per gallon. 

Try Flea Bully, which is made from essential oils. I would use a very diluted version the first time to make sure your pets do not react to it. Use the ultimate flea trap in every room and change regularly.

Be aware that cats will smell this too, so keep them out of the area while you are spraying and allow rugs to air out and be vacuumed before letting them into the room. It’s best not to use if you have small, sick or senior pets.

Try using Dry Heat to kill off any fleas or ticks you may have in the home. This will be hot enough even to kill bed bugs but will leave the rug etc. dry. Then vacuum up afterward.

Spray outdoor with any natural soap or Flea Bully. Use the same formula to spray the grounds and the area around it. Spray around the outside of the house and along any places that you see them. Just make sure the pets are not in the same area, so they do not get on them.

Spray beneficial nematodes outside.

There are many beneficial nematode products available that when applied to the soil will control all flea larvae as well as many other types of pests, grubs, etc. that have part of their life cycle on the ground.  

After you have sprayed the inside and around the outside of the house, you then can close off any entrances that the fleas can use to get inside (fix any screen doors, screen windows, etc.). Learn to keep the door closed during summer or primary flea months.

Also be sure to clean up around the outside of the house and garden.

Control the fleas around the outside of the house by controlling any water sources as well as any food sources for them. Control the rodent population as well by having an active female cat available for hunting. 

Lightly dust the areas around the house with Garden Grade DE. 

By using this natural dust at the right time of year, you will reduce any flea adults before they can lay any eggs. A light dusting is all that is required. You should also dust your dog or cat once per week with Food Grade DE.

Use Natural Essential oils if you are very careful and have diluted it 100:1 to be sure you do not overuse the essential oil. It’s best to buy already made. Just stick to it being natural.

Use any natural lavender soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) sprayed around the area. Another formula is to make a batch of compost tea and allow it to sit in the sun for a day.

Soon, your flea woes will be a distant memory.

Any questions? Email me at andylopez@invisiblegardener.com. Did you get my new book, “Don’t Panic, It’s Organic!” yet? It’s free just by mentioning Surfside News!

Natural flea control basics 

• Remember that healthy soil reduces flea and tick populations. 

• Control water, as fleas and ticks need water sources

• Control rodent and other animal vectors

• Use Garden DE under buildings and around the outside of the house.

• Use Food Grade DE inside on pets and rugs. Be careful around their eyes. Avoid using on their heads. Use the flea comb instead. Just dust lightly, then comb or use the Flea Zapper.

• Use beneficial nematodes to control the soil.

• Use natural castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s or Queen of the Meadow