Getting Rid of Fleas. Period. The End. I hope.

Currently, I am sitting in the car outside my house writing this post. It isn’t the most comfortable of places to be and Twinkle is an unhappy cat. I put her in the pet carrier I borrowed from my neighbor a couple of days ago. She’d familiarized herself with it and would wander in and out. I had pictured an idyllic time waiting for the fleas to die but it was not to be. I have her cat box, food, water, and she’s in the carrier perched on the back of the car. When I put the carrier in the car, she started having fits. She was screaming and hissing nonstop and I couldn’t handle that. Hence, her banishment.

What has brought me to this point is the weeks of unmitigated misery. If you want to drive someone stark raving mad, subject them to constant attacks from fleas. I’m going to copy and paste some of yesterday’s post from the forum because I feel particularly lazy after the happenings of the last few days.

These consarned fleas are nocturnal animals. I’m fine during the day and was about to the point that I was going to forget doing anything drastic when the sun went down. They were out in force. Back to Plan B.

Plan A was to use all the natural means at my disposal. I have fed Twinkle dozens of brewer’s yeast tablets and she’s still scratching. I’ve put black walnuts and black walnut branches on the floor. I’ve salted the place within an inch of turning it into Redmond, Utah. I’ve sprayed with a walnut extract I made by boiling the leaves, letting them steep, and straining them. Orange rinds are another thing I’ve cooked and sprayed in the hope that it would either repel or kill the fleas. Did you know that if you cook brewer’s yeast in water it will smell like boiled peanuts? I also found out that sticky paper will stick to the bottom of shoes. And Twinkle must’ve tangled with one sheet from the looks of the cat hair on it.

I’ve sealed things up in garbage bags to kill fleas. Twinkle let me know she didn’t like the way things were going by peeing on a couple of the bags. How do you explain what’s going on to a cat??

A departure from natural is the Sevin dust on paper under furniture. I don’t know if it’s helping or not.

Plan B is to bomb the place. I was out at the clothesline yesterday when my neighbor came over to see how I was doing. I was almost in tears, talking about it. I got myself under control and told her I’m going to bomb the place Sunday (tomorrow). I hate to do it but I hate worse living with fleas. Another thing–when I was cleaning up my bedroom, I spied a roach (I’ve never had roaches here). That’s something else I can’t tolerate so that sealed the deal. She had bought a case of foggers when she was ridding a fixer-upper of fleas and had some left. I am the proud recipient of seven cans, enough to do the whole house.

She asked what I’d do with Twinkle. I told her I plan to put her in the car with everything she needs for the 2.5 hours we have to be out. Did she have a pet carrier? Of course she does! She got it for me and I brought it in the house so Twinkle could get acquainted. When I mentioned bringing my computer outside, she showed me where her extension cords are and said for me to plug into their electricity. I’m set.

Well, that was the plan. Here’s the reality.

I was supposed to vacuum the carpet and shampoo it before I bombed it. First, my shampooer died. Then my Dyson quit. I had to haul out the old Dirt Devil and hope it worked. It soldiered on. I left the Dyson in my bathroom last night and you’d think I’d have moved it after the first time I tripped over it. Well, NO! Not even the second time. The third time, I think I broke my little left toe. I have it wrapped with an elastic bandage and people are sorry for me. I figured I should get a professional opinion so I called and talked to one of the nurses at the hospital. She said I’d done the right thing.

Upshot is the carpet didn’t get shampooed so the fleas are dying a less than pristine death. Shari is disappointed with me because I went ahead with the operation anyway but she isn’t here fighting the Biters.

Now for what I’ve learned from this experience. The following are things I have tried with the results (or lack of them).

  1. Brewer’s Yeast: This is a longterm remedy meaning it takes a long time for it to build up enough to be effective. Applying it to the skin, especially if it’s already irritated, can burn. Putting it on the floors, furniture, and bedding does repel the fleas somewhat. If it’s left mixed with water in a spray bottle, it will sour. As I said before, if you cook it in water, it will smell like boiled peanuts.
  2. Sticky Paper and a Light: This is, without a doubt, the least trouble and has the best results. When the fleas check in, they can’t check out.
  3. Bagging Belongings: I didn’t go into this much but be prepared to be without your treasures for a couple of weeks if you go this route. The fleas will die a horrible death from starvation.
  4. Borax: Didn’t try it. Probably should have.
  5. Garlic Powder: I actually saw a flea jump off Twinkle when I put the powder on her neck. When I put it on mine, it burned. Careful with the garlic if you try it.
  6. Moth Balls in the Vacuum Cleaner Bag: This may be why my Dyson quit. It didn’t seem to work too well, anyway. I wouldn’t recommend it.
  7. Salt: I think these critters were related to sand fleas. (I hope past tense is correct.) They seemed to thrive on the salt. It might have been another reason my Dyson quit. I don’t think salt is good for that type vacuum.
  8. Citrus Elixir: If that’s what you call boiling citrus peels, letting them steep, and then straining it. I don’t know that it killed anything but it smelled good and spraying my sheets seemed to keep them away.
  9. Black Walnut Leaves and Black Walnuts: The leaves can make one big mess and I couldn’t get enough of them when I was trying them out to really test them. The black walnuts, themselves, smell good so I’m leaving the dozens I’ve picked up at the head of my bed. I do need to put them on something to keep them from staining the carpet as they cure.

Sorry, I can’t say any of the natural means worked well enough to steer me away from chemicals. I think my sanity is important. Hopefully my health won’t go downhill from here.

My neighbor from across the street came over. He was concerned with all of Twinkle’s yowlings and hissings. There’d been an owl hooting and he thought it might have her. I assured him that she was not a happy camper. She still isn’t. I unhooked the door so she can get out any time she wants to but she’s sulled up and won’t budge.

19 Responses to Getting Rid of Fleas. Period. The End. I hope.

  1. Cassandra September 29, 2008 at 8:01 am #

    *hugs* I hope the bombing works!!!

  2. Tommie September 29, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    Not nearly as much as I do! I put sticky paper down last night and got 10 so they are still hanging on. The poison is still there so they should be done for, anyway.

  3. sonatherun April 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade. Makes a mess, takes awhile, but everything takes awhile because you have to go through enough flea hatches there are no more to hatch (bombing only kills what’s hatched), but it works, it’s absolutely natural, people actually feed it to their animals and to themselves, and it kills all crawling bugs.

  4. Shawna July 19, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    I know this was several years ago, but just in case someone is trying to get rid of fleas and stumbled upon this blog post… We had an outbreak of fleas once. What we did was bought several cans of Bengal Flea Killer spray (got ours from Walmart) and after vacuuming really good and vacating the pets and family, my husband went through and sprayed everything he could with the spray (I also washed all bedding in hot water). We then stayed the night at my parents and came home the next evening. Some fleas hatched within the next couple of weeks, but because the spray is good for 210 days they died after hatching. Worked great and we needed nothing else!

    • Tommie July 19, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      Thanks, Shawna. I wish I had just gone ahead and bombed the place to begin with but hindsight is 20-20.

  5. sally July 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Borax soap is the only thing that worked for my mom when I was younger and we had a bad infestation on which nothing else worked even bombing didn’t work. I don’t know how natural it is but she put Borax soap on carpets for 24 hours then vacuumed it up and we never got fleas again. This house had wall to wall carpeting in all rooms except for kitchen and I think that makes it a lot harder. I have used diatomaceous earth to get rid of ant infestations and that was the only thing that worked so I would think it would work for fleas too. I think you can also put diatomaceous earth on pets just don’t let them breathe it in but they can eat it. I think the concept of the borax and the d.e. is the structure of the particles, they are sharp to these creatures because of their soft exoskeleton and the ants or fleas get cut and dehydrated to death. Good luck and I hope this helps!

    • Tommie July 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      I appreciate the tips, Sally. Maybe someone in need will come across this and it will help.

  6. Sienna August 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    I just went through this when I moved from the Northeast to the South. I was determined not to use chemicals until it was getting worse not better. My dog was suffering and I did not want an infestation. I researched too and used most of the natural remedies you tried but it was too late. I did not want to bomb either and was ready to move back home. I broke down in tears the day I succumbed and decided I had to apply chemicals to my dogs skin. I felt like I failed her and the guilt was eating me up. Now that she is no longer suffering with the bites and itching – she’s allergic to the fleas so it is miserable for her to be bitten – I have to say that it was the right thing to do. It is a balancing act and while I hated to do it she is so much better now. She was covered in scabs, had a few hot spots and her little legs were bald in so many spots from all the itching and biting. :’( Vet said I should expect tape worm soon……oh joy.

    I prevented fleas on all our dogs with natural remedies (mostly DE and Nematodes in the yard) for 11 years so this was really hard to do.

    Anyway, you aren’t alone with what you went through. Also since you are raw and seem to like doing things naturally and without toxins, I thought you might be interested to know that baby oil is one of the most toxic things you can put on your skin. It is made from crude oil….same stuff the wildlife gets covered in after an oil spill. Best stay away from that nastiness. :))

    • Tommie August 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      I know how hard that must have been, Sienna. You gotta do what you gotta do, though.

      The only oil I put on my skin is coconut. I don’t even use deodorant. I use a Himalayan salt bar after my shower.

      Read on! I have started eating cooked in the past three years or so. Another of those “balancing acts”.

  7. Sienna August 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Thought I read in one of your flea posts that you used baby oil to keep the fleas off. My mistake. :)
    I understand about adding cooked food in. I was raw for a long time and needed some cooked food too. Nothing wrong with balance.

    • Tommie August 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      It’s been a long time since I wrote those posts so I may have. I surely don’t any more.

      A naturopath prescribed fava beans for a health issue and they were the “gateway drug”. It’s easy to add something here and there. At least I’m not back where I started.

  8. Eilena August 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    I tried the salt…since we’ve had about 40 inches of rain in about 8 weeks and the humidity never went under 80% in any given day…the salt melted with the torrid weather and I had to use fans on the floor one spot at at time and then could finally vacuum it up..did it work..no..did the bombs…not really helpful for more than a few days…

    used olive oil on cats neck and head..kept that area flea, mosquito and tick -free..but not the rest of them…been using frontline plus for years..all of a sudden this year it didn’t work…made the cats so nervy for 2 days…but they’re ok now…it’s been about 16 days and fleas are back on them…my lawns have zoysia grass which breeds a thick dry rope-like root system..fleas seem to love it…Used chemicals outside on the lawns as I was fed up brushing the fleas off my cuffs when I walked down the cement walkways..unfortunately we’ve had rain almost every day [lots of horrendous downpours] which obviously washed away the treatments..Finally went back to the big guns I used to buy in Philly..Dursban is now outlawed here but I was able to get Precor 2000 online and I’ve methodically done room after room including closets…the weather is hot and humid AGAIN today and overcast . the Home Defense pesticide doesn’t work either nor does it divert mosquitoes..actually NJ has become tropical in the past few years with a miserable warming trend and continual high humidity so all one can do is keep trying everything.. Professional Exterminators want about $350. for a treatment BUT advise their monthly contract @ $35.00 mo. may be the best way to insure success…YEAH right…

    Best of luck everybody…Eilena

    • Tommie August 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      AND salt attracts moisture. You’ve been through it! My vet advises Advantage. I’ve tried Frontline on Twinkle and it didn’t work but the Advantage did.

      Some of my relatives had a lawn of zoysia grass. It’s beautiful but I can see where it would be a haven for fleas.

      Hope you find your solution and soon! It can truly drive a person (and the animals) crazy.

  9. Laura September 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    My cats have fleas and so does my dog. I tried the chemicals (squirt on neck, for the dog squirt on and follow to the tail). They have not worked. My dog is a sheba inu and has about three layers of different fur so I don’t think the chemical worked. My question is has anyone tried boiling black walnut leaves and then strain and use the liquid. I have a huge black walnut tree and now also have green walnuts that have fallen this year and I have access to the shells of last years nuts (squirrels). Please help me. I am allergic to most bites and for some reason the fleas bite my granddaughter and me. I can’t send her back to her moms with bites.

    • Tommie September 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Laura, my sympathies are with you. Yes, I tried the black walnut “tea” in a spray bottle. Also the unhulled black walnuts behind the head of my bed and the branches everywhere I could strew them that they wouldn’t be in the way walking. The fleas enjoyed all of it. It might work for you so go ahead and try it but it didn’t work for me.

  10. Laura September 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    That’s too funny. :) So I guess I won’t be going with black walnuts. I’m going with the garlic powder. My cat, Tippy, is about 17 yrs old and they seem to love him. The black cats don’t seem to have them as bad. Wish me luck.

    • Tommie September 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      Be careful with the garlic. Cats can ingest the garlic when they “bathe” themselves and too much can cause problems and even death. Do your research before you try it. You don’t want to do Tippy in before his time.

  11. Bridgette October 29, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    OMG- I am going through this right now!!! I stumbled upon your blog by looking up fleas. Thanks for sharing your story and for making me laugh out loud. My husband I joke that these fleas are ruining our marriage! I live a pretty organic life but this flea experience had us calling an exterminator after two weeks of ineffective natural killers that just broke our vacuum and didn’t kill any fleas. I wish people were just honest that none of that stuff works… Unfortunately.

    Glad you finally got rid of them and lived to tell about it.
    We are still at war :(

    • Tommie October 29, 2013 at 8:48 am #

      My thoughts and prayers are with you, Bridgette! May you win the war!! I still vacuum 20 Mule Team Borax out of my carpet. That may be what’s keeping the insect population down in my house.

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