Everything Almanac

Homespun Remedies for Fleas

Everything Almanac

You know you’re in trouble when your carpet starts to hop, sitting on the couch is like acupuncture, and your pets become itching contortionists. Fleas have invaded! The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Home Wisdom has more than one way to flummox a flea!

Homespun Remedies for Fleas

Vacuum rugs and upholstered furniture daily to remove fleas, eggs, and larvae. Fleas spend most of their time away from their hosts and can survive for several weeks without feeding, so keep up the vacuuming diligently for at least a month.

Add minced fresh garlic or garlic powder and a sprinkling of brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food to repel fleas.

Construct a flea trap that makes use of two basic facts about fleas: They are attracted to light, and they can’t swim. To make the trap, fill a dinner plate or shallow soup bowl with water and a squirt of dishwashing detergent and place it on the floor in an area frequented by your pets. Position a gooseneck lamp over the bowl with the light about 6 inches over the surface of the water. At night, when the rest of the house is dark, turn on the light and leave it on all night. Fleas will leap toward the light and fall into the water. The detergent will have lowered the surface tension of the water so that the fleas will sink and drown.

Your veterinarian can supply you with a non-aerosol flea spray for pets based on the chemical pyrethrum, which is extracted from the dried heads of certain varieties of chrysanthemums. Your vet also may have a rug and upholstery non-aerosol spray that microencapsulates tiny drops of an effective insecticide.

Many pets are made miserable not only by the flea bites themselves but also by an allergic reaction to flea saliva, a persistent condition that is often treated with cortisone-related medicine.

For the most effective control of fleas, start early in the spring and be diligent. With any luck, your fleas will flee.

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