Do-It-Yourself Flea Control
Flea control is challenging, even for professional exterminators. This is one pest that you may want to consider hiring a professional PCO to handle. But whether you decide to hire a pro or do it yourself (more about that later), the most important part of effective flea control is preparation.
Preparing for a Flea Control Treatment
Prior to the exterminator arriving (or prior to doing it yourself), you should prepare for the flea control job by taking the following steps:
All bedding, slipcovers, pet bedding, and similar items should be dry cleaned or washed in detergent and the hottest water the fabric can stand.
All carpeting, upholstered furniture, and wooden flooring that contains gaps between the tiles or slats should be methodically vacuumed (and washed or shampooed, if possible, using products that do not contain stain repellents). Allow carpeting to dry before performing the treatment.
Remove as much stuff as possible from the floor and stack it on tables to provide maximum access to the floor for treatment.
Pets should receive professional flea treatments or be treated with a high-quality flea shampoo at the same time (or as close as possible) to when the house is treated, and kept out of the house until the products used inside the house are thoroughly dried. This is to prevent fleas in the house from re-infesting the pet, and vice-versa. As with all pesticides, be sure to read, understand, and follow the label instructions, including making sure that your kind of pet (dog, cat, etc.) is listed on the label.
Treating Your Home for Fleas
There are several ways to treat a flea infestation, but the most common is to use a flea spray that is labeled for fleas on all carpeting, floors, pet bedding areas, and cracks and crevices in wooden flooring and around baseboards. Sometimes, upholstered furnishings, draperies, and other textiles must also be treated. Application rates vary by product, but rates of one gallon per every 800 to 1,000 square feet are common. When using liquid insecticides for flea control, thorough, even coverage is more essential that sheer quantity. (We're not trying to drown the fleas.)
The insecticide should be applied as per the label instructions, being careful to methodically treat all susceptible surfaces (carpeting, pet bedding, etc.). This doesn't mean saturating the surfaces with insecticides. We're not trying to drown the fleas. Use the insecticide at the label-specified rates. Over-application is illegal, wasteful, will not improve the success of the treatment, and may be dangerous. But do apply the insecticide methodically and evenly, being careful to treat all susceptible areas in accordance with the label instructions.
Flea Control Carpet Powders
Carpet powders like Zema Flea Control Carpet Powder are useful for thick or shag carpeting that may be difficult to penetrate using liquids. Carpet powders are easy to use. Typically, they are sprinkled on and worked into the carpeting, and then vacuumed up after a specified period of time. Powders can be used by themselves or as ad adjunct to liquid treatments, but different insecticides should not be used on the same carpet.
Organic Flea Control / Flea Trapping
As a general rule, it's very difficult to eradicate a flea problem using only traps. But for those who are chemically sensitive or who just want to avoid using pesticides, we recommend a combination of a thorough cleaning / shampooing using a natural product like Kleen Free Naturally and a sufficient quantity of high-quality light/heat flea traps like the Spring Star Flea Trap. Purchase enough traps to place several in every room, and leave them on at night. For best results, keep the rooms cool and dark, other than for the traps.
There also are a wide range of naturally-derived flea sprays that can be very effective, but as with any pesticide, be sure to follow the label instructions. "Natural" doesn't mean "I can spray this stuff all over the place and nothing bad will happen." Treat natural products with the same respect you would any pesticide.
There are many aerosol "foggers" labeled for flea control. Fogging comes with its own set of chemical, physical, and fire hazards. Furthermore, in our experience, fogging is rarely necessary except in very severe flea infestations. We strongly recommend that do-it-yourselfers avoid the use of aerosol fogs. If your flea problem is that severe, then you really need to call a professional.
Flea Control Treatments for Pets
We recommend taking your pet to a veterinarian or a qualified animal groomer to be treated for fleas. If you would prefer to do it yourself, however, there are a wide variety of flea shampoos and other flea control products to choose from. Be sure to follow all label instructions, and monitor your pet for any adverse reactions.