Dog Flea Treatments - Natural Part 3
In Part 2 of this natural flea control series we discussed the life cycle of the flea, including the 4 stages, and how commercial flea prevention methods tended to only concentrate on the adult flea, which represents only 1% of the flea population. We also discussed how improving your dog’s health would go a long way to minimizing her susceptibility to flea infestation. Finally, we gave a few things you can do with your dog to make her less of a target for fleas. These methods, like commercial flea control products, suffered the limitation of only targeting the adult flea, which represents only one percent of the total flea population. Part 3 will discuss more of what you can do for your dog to keep those fleas away, methods that attack the flea at every stage of its life.
What You Can Do In the Yard to Minimize Flea Problems
Diatomaceous Earth is very effective in killing and controlling both adult fleas and those in the larva stage. But not just any Diatomaceous Earth! The Diatomaceous Earth used in swimming pool filters has been heat treated and activated, so it is worthless for controlling fleas. Instead, look for fresh water food grade Diatomaceous Earth, which has been micronized to a very fine powder. (the link I provided is just one example).
Apply a mixture of water and Diatomaceous Earth to areas of your yard where your dog frequents, including walk ways, lawns, and planting beds. If you live in a wet, humid area, repeat the application at least every other month. In drier climates you can do this less frequently.
So how does this help? Diatomaceous Earth works as an abrasive and desiccant, physically drying out and destroying the adult fleas’ breathing organs as well as drying out and killing flea larvae. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.
Beneficial Nematodes are effective in killing flea larvae and pupae by feeding on them. After killing the fleas, they continue to eat the carcass and reproduce; then they find more flea larvae or pupae to continue the process. Thus this is a self sustaining, long term solution. And it is not just fleas you can get rid of. Nematodes feed on over 200 common pests.
Because direct sunlight can kill the nematodes, they should be applied either at night or on a cloudy day. Mix the solution containing the nematodes with water and spray over areas frequented by your dog. It works best if you pre-water before applying the nematodes.
Proper Lawn Care
Previously, we discussed the fact that fleas, regardless of life cycle stage, prefer dark places. So in the yard, if you keep the lawn mowed low, and rake up all fallen leaves, you remove some of those preferred spaces.
Also, whether you need to water your lawn or not, it would pay great dividends to periodically flood areas frequented by your dog. This will kill all stages by drowning them. Don’t do this too often though, or you can kill your lawn as well!
What You Can Do In the House to Minimize Flea Problems
We’ve taken care of the yard, which will help greatly in reducing the amount of fleas your dog comes in contact with. Now let’s take care of the indoor problems.
Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming will remove much of the fleas inside, including the eggs, larvae, and pupae. Make sure you vacuum all over, concentrating on where your dog likes to lay. Use a crevice tool to get to those hard to reach spaces. And don’t forget under the seat cushions! Here’s a tip... use some of those unused commercial flea collars to put inside the vacuum bag. This will kill any adult fleas that you vacuum up, as well as the pupae that came out of the cocoon as a result of the vibration of your vacuum cleaner.
Clean your dogs bedding regularly. At least every other day is recommended. It may be easier to keep three or four covers, replacing them daily and washing the covers that have been used.
Steam clean your carpets, furniture, and your dog’s bedding. No cleaning chemicals here, just water. The steam will kill the adults and the larvae and stimulate the eggs and pupae into coming out. Follow up with a good vacuuming in two days to vacuum these later ones up. Wash your dog immediately after the dry cleaning.
Consider using Diatomaceous Earth. Sprinkle it dry over your carpet and sweep it into any cracks in your hardwood floor. Make sure your dog is not in the room, and wear a dust mask while applying, as the Diatomaceous Earth can irritate your lungs if inhaled. A word of caution, though. Because it is so abrasive, it could cause your carpet to wear out prematurely, and will probably invalidate any warranty you had on it.
I hope you got some good information out of this series on naturally controlling your flea problems.Let us know how you did in regaining control using the comment form below.
This is your chance to add your feedback. Do you have more questions about what we have discussed so far about natural flea control? Is there anything you would like to add on the subject? Please feel free to add your comment or question below.