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organic war on fleas!  RSS feed

 
                          
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think it is time to talk to a lawyer.





    I called a lawyer who told me there wasn't enough money involved to make it worth the expense of a lawsuit.  I would like to get some more opinions though. 

Today i emailed Erin Brockovich, probably another deadend but she had a "contact me" link and said she wanted to try to help people.

A guy i talked to yesterday who can install new carpet (supplied by me) in a way that eliminates spread of contamination during installation (using big fans and cutting the carpet out piece by piece and puttign it in sealed plastic bags) for $1250 suggested writing to the media, he said maybe if they were interested in the story, they would call this Fleabusters guy and get him fix my home back like it was before they came in and fouled it.
 
Marilyn Queiroz
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If you can get the media on your side, they can be very persuasive.
 
                        
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My wife and I have had a big flea problem for 16 straight months.  I estimate over 100,000 flea bites in that time. for me alone  Peope think we're delusional.  I think the fleas have adapted to living off my blood.  We've tried everything, toxic and non-toxic, except DE (which I used once a few years back without apparent results).  I could write a book on all the things we've done to try to deal with the problem, which has cost us well over $1000 and so many man-hours I've lost track.  Every commerical treatment, alternative or otherwise, is ineffective at actually ridding the little buggers.  They are in my bed (I wash sheets and blanket every day) and every room of the house, including the shower and even the car).

We had one humid day during which the fleas were horrible followed by a low humidity day and they were realatively mild.  This sent me googling websites about fleas and humidity and I came across this article.  After reading it I now realize I have been working against myself by mopping my kitchen/bathrooms with essential oils (which I spray on myself repeatedly as a deterrant).  Plus, I've been using a carpet cleaner about twice a week thinking it was more effective than a vacuum.  I guess I've been giving the little beasts the water they need to carry on.  Also, because I live in Maryland, which is humid to begin with, it has been wrong to keep windows open for fresh air - allowing humidity into the apartment.

So I'm going to try to keep the humidity low, only use vacuum cleaner, and buy some DE as suggested.  If it works I'll be amazed, but so relieved words can't tell.  Perhaps I should keep my skin dry (no lotion, few showers, etc) for a while?  Also, it seems to me that fleas are less active in temps below 75 degrees, whereas they love heat. 
 
                          
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think it is time to talk to a lawyer.





Hi Paul
I called a lawyer about a month and a half ago, i think i got his name from a list that came from the Chemical Injury Information Network.  He talked to me on the phone and said that my case would not involve enough money to justify a lawsuit.  He suggested trying small claims court. 

Right now, i'm so burnt out.  I have moved out of my home and am staying at my mom's house since 4 days ago, no longer having respiratory tract burning and trying clear my chest, but possibly feeling some continuing shortness of breath, hope there's no permanent damage, supposed to have a pulmonary function test this week or next.

There's so much to do related to relocating, i am taking off from work, i don't know for how long.  I will need to get a doctor's note so i can use sick time.

I'm so swamped with relocating issues--my mom doesn't live here, she lives in a nursing home, it's actually my house now, but it's very far from my work and farther from where my mom is, not to mention far from my whole life that i was living before.  My mom left the house very cluttered, my daughter and her boyfriend have been living here, there is extreme clutter and chaos, i've been going through all the drawers and cabinets and everywhere, trying to make some  space to put away the stuff i brought from home.  The phone needed to be repaired, there's no cold water pressure in the kitchen, a lot needs to be done.

I left home not knowing whether i can ever return, for the past 2 1/2 months i spent almost all my time, including time while at work, trying to find answers, trying to find a way to save my home and my health and not to have to choose between them.  Eventually, i had to choose my health instead of my home. Fleabusters ruined my home.  I'm still waiting for the county guy to get back to me about his investigation, i'm trying to find out if i can show that pyrethrins or permethrin was used. If i could show that, i might be able to get some kind of compensation, or maybe not. I just don't know.  There is no information giving assurance of that and a lot of information suggesting that if an exterminator harms you using pesticide, that's your problem, not theirs.  There will be a lot more work i'll have to do, to find out if that's true, or, i will end up abandoning that project because i'm just tired of it, it's expensive and there's no way of knowing if any good will come of it.  I paid a guy at a place called Environmental Inspections and Solutions $278 to come to my home and take dust samples. He was supposed to check with a lab and let me know how much the testing would cost.  After that, he called me a couple of times about trying to find a lab that would do it and trying to find out how much it would cost, that was either two or three weeks ago that he came and took the samples and the tests still haven't been done, i don't know why.  I am tired of making phone calls to follow up, leavign messages. 

There may be a lot of people out there like me who have been poisoned, who are having symptoms fo serious problems, and those who monitor the statistics on problems with pesticides, the EPA or whoever it is, will not know about them.  Ive found that it's almost impossible if not impossible to be counted as a person who has been hurt by pesticides, and it is apparently impossible for their to be any consequences for companies that expose innocent people to pesticides.  It's close to impossible to prove there was a misapplication of the pesticide, the assumption is that the customer has a rare hypersensitivity, this is the mythology, all the people out here who are hurt by pesticides are silenced and atomized.  By putting so much time into researching it i learned there are a lot of people who are hurt by permethrin, a pyrethroid that is very commonly used for example in treating carpets so moths won't eat them.  I've learned that permethrin contamination persists in the environment indefinitely, years.  Permethrin is sprayed on clothes to ward off ticks.  The company brags that you can launder the clothes repeatedly without losing the tick killing effect. It's commonly used for that purpose in the military. Some suspect that Gulf War Syndrome is related to use of permethrins.  There is research done by the US govt into the effect of permethrin treated carpets in public housing on children showing that sicknesses are associated wiht permethrin.  There is  German study showing that people who got rid of their permethrin treated carpets improved or recovered from symptoms they were suffering from, while the symptoms of people who didn't remove their carpets continued to have the symptoms at a higher rate.

http://www.herc.org/news/mcsarticles/prohl-full.html

the EPA moved people out of their homes in several US cities and put them up in motels for three months after learning the dangers of pesticides that had been applied to their homes, their carpets were changed, their walls were washed and painted, furniture was cleaned or removed, it was paid for by the Superfund, i read about it on a govt site

www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/oldpubs/nov97/story5.htm

This was a different pesticide from what mine probably is, methyl parathion, but the analogy is that it was used by exterminators in homes illegally and the only way to fix it was radical and expsensive. 

anyway, thanks for listening.

EDITED by moderator to disable dead link JP
 
                          
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i just wrote the above reply before i realized there was a page 2 of this thread. So i answered Paul's post about talking to a lawyer twice...

Jim--i hope the humidity reduction works.  what an ordeal.  I had severe fleas last year, the first year i had the dog.  my dog got pyoderma from it and was really sick. I vowed this year to not let that happen.  I live near the ocean.  Although i guess that means it's not really dry, it also means it doesn't get as hot, and at least where i live, the fleas definitely vary in direct proportion to the heat and they are gone all winter.

In my case, this year, i believe vacuuming was the main cause of eliminating the flea problem, combined with Revolution and Capstar, and then i just wanted to add Fleabusters to keep them away so i wouldn't have to keep giving Revolution and Capstar.  Bad mistake but who knew. 

Just FYI, in previous years, i've gotten lots of bites, they itch forever and bad, interfere with sleep, etc, and i really feel for you.  I discovered a remedy last year that really has worked for me, maybe it was year before last, it's worth its weight in gold, it's called Itch Stopper and it's a little electronic thing that heats up that you put on the bite and the itch does stop, for hours, and if it comes back, you just zap it again and forget about it.  It's overpriced for what it is, but it made such a positive difference in my life, i couldn't imagine life without it in flea season so i got a second one.

please report back on the effectiveness of your new approach, i'm sorry for what you've had to go through.  No wonder people use these poisons, fleas can really impair quality of life. 
 
                          
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OK, i have a new flea problem which i am searching for solutoins.

I totally got rid of the fleas in my previous home, between nematodes in the backyard, vacuuming indoors and Revolution and Capstar, and overkill with boric acid powder in the carpet sealed the deal.  the poison that the boric acid guy added to the highly inhalable dust caused chronic lung irritation so that now i have had to leave my home and am now at my mom's home.

Before i came, living in the home were my daughter, her boyfriend, their dog and their cat.  while they were relocating for a couple of months, their dog lived with boyfriend's parents and while there, the dog, Belle, developed a flea allergy.  she chewed on her skin and got red marks where she chewed her fur off.  My daughter worked very hard to heal the flea allergy after bringing Belle to my mom's home which had not had any animals before they moved in and no fleas.

In that environment, my daughter got vet treatment for her dog, some medication  including some short term cortisone, and she vacuumed daily and used Revolution and Capstar.  The dog recovered and her fur grew back and she didn't scratch.

A few months ago, my daughter started nurtuing a mother and litter of feral cats in the backyard.  She would not let her dog into the backyard, not wanting to scare the cats away. 

I assume those cats had fleas although my daughter put Program in their food to try to protect her dog.

When i moved in a few days ago, i brought a cat and a dog.  My cat is 15 and has not come out of the bathroom, she hid under a pile of laundry. My dog is used to having a backyard to go into and i don't walk him, he is free to be in the backyard and doesn't need to be walked.

This created a conflict.  My daughter said she would walk my dog frequently rather than letting him go into the backyard, to avoid scaring off the cats. But she wasn't fast enough and my dog pooped in the house every day. He never pooped at home except outside, but since he wasn't able to freely go outside, he didn't understand the new system.  I lost patience and let him into the backyard.

This seems to have resulted in a slippery slope where the dogs picked up fleas from the backyard, at least that's the theory, and now, Belle is chewing herself again and we are very upset about it.  We need to solve the flea problem here at this new house i have come to live in.  I'm like, Oh no, not again.

There is no way i will have any pesticide sprayed in the backyard, but i need to get rid of the fleas somehow.  I plan to get nematodes and put DE in nontrafficked areas.

Any other suggestions or solutions that have worked for others will be appreciated.  I plan to vacuum indoors constantly and we are using Revolution and Capstar. 

 
                          
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Are insect growth regulators ok to use outside?

i want to add that in the area where we are living, it's very dry, in fact there are currently many fires burning out of control over many hundreds of miles, we're inland and we have had a Santa Ana weather condition which means dry and windy. 

Also, our backyard is patio and hard dry dirt, with some plants, bushes and trees, but no grass on the ground, just hard dry dirt.  There may be some leaves out there though to rake up.

because of the chronic lung irritation i've had from boric acid impregnated with permethrin in the past three months, i think i will hold off on the DE for now.  I would hire someone else to spray it around but after what i've just been through, i'm not going to trust anyone from the bug killing industry ever again. It was dumb to take a risk with them before.  i should've known better.

the whole thing about humdity and fleas confuses me.  Should i leave the backyard dry or put out nematodes and water every day?  I think nematodes need some moisture.  We aren't sure Belle got fleas because of allowing the dogs in the backyard, she might have gotten them from walking in the front yard.  Anyway, we've been having a heatwave, i think that is the main cause of flea exposure.

 
paul wheaton
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jim wrote:
My wife and I have had a big flea problem for 16 straight months.  I estimate over 100,000 flea bites in that time. for me alone  Peope think we're delusional.  I think the fleas have adapted to living off my blood.  We've tried everything, toxic and non-toxic, except DE (which I used once a few years back without apparent results).  I could write a book on all the things we've done to try to deal with the problem, which has cost us well over $1000 and so many man-hours I've lost track.  Every commerical treatment, alternative or otherwise, is ineffective at actually ridding the little buggers.  They are in my bed (I wash sheets and blanket every day) and every room of the house, including the shower and even the car).

We had one humid day during which the fleas were horrible followed by a low humidity day and they were realatively mild.  This sent me googling websites about fleas and humidity and I came across this article.  After reading it I now realize I have been working against myself by mopping my kitchen/bathrooms with essential oils (which I spray on myself repeatedly as a deterrant).  Plus, I've been using a carpet cleaner about twice a week thinking it was more effective than a vacuum.  I guess I've been giving the little beasts the water they need to carry on.  Also, because I live in Maryland, which is humid to begin with, it has been wrong to keep windows open for fresh air - allowing humidity into the apartment.

So I'm going to try to keep the humidity low, only use vacuum cleaner, and buy some DE as suggested.  If it works I'll be amazed, but so relieved words can't tell.  Perhaps I should keep my skin dry (no lotion, few showers, etc) for a while?  Also, it seems to me that fleas are less active in temps below 75 degrees, whereas they love heat. 


Jim,

I am excited that you found this site. 

DON'T SKIMP ON THE DE!!!

The stuff is cheap.  Get 20 pounds of the stuff and get to work.  If you use it all up, don't worry, there's more at the store!

Within two days of laying down enough DE and doing the vacuuming thing, you should notice a dramatic drop in bites.  Possibly down to zero.  You will still see fleas for several weeks, but they should all be freshly hatched - and hopefully you'll kill them before they have a chance to bite you.    And those that bite you should be dead before they have a chance to lay eggs.

It is true that the fleas slow down with cold.  They will hibernate if it is cold enough.  This will prolong their lifespan. 

They have an optimum temperature where they are the happiest.  I suspect that is around 80 degrees.

Can you set up the light traps?  This way, you can measure the effectiveness of techniques.

Can you purchase a dehumidifier?  Or maybe some kind of heater that doesn't have a temperature regulator?  I wonder if a person were to raise the temperature in a room to 115 degrees for two hours if it would kill all the fleas in all stages in the room.  (Four hours for a carpeted room).


 
paul wheaton
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Judy,

I don't know a lot about the flea eating nematodes, but I do know what nematodes are.  From what little I know, I think they will be safe and will cure all of your problems. 

But, if the fleas are already inside, then you need to control the inside fleas at the same time. 

Do you have fleas inside?

I would start with light traps.  Knowledge is the first step. 

If you want to avoid DE, how do you feel about the heat and/or dehumidifier approaches?


 
                          
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paul wheaton wrote:
Do you have fleas inside?


yes, i believe we have fleas in side. I haven't seen any, on the dogs or anywhere else, both dogs and one of the cats have had Revolution and Capstar.  But my daughter got two big bites on her upper arm and she hardly goes outside so i'm guessing she got them in their bedroom where she spends most of the day with her dog.  neither cat has been scratching at all.  Both dogs have been scratching. 

But they could be scratching because of the very dry weather we've been having in Southern California. 

I would start with light traps.   Knowledge is the first step. 


I'll do that. 

If you want to avoid DE, how do you feel about the heat and/or dehumidifier approaches?


I'm open to both those approaches.  i don't know about dehumidification, it's very dry here already and we are all suffering from the dryness. Since i lived by the beach before, i have just bought the first chapstick i have had in probably 15 years.  I would say it's already quite dry and don't know that there's any moisture left to be taken out of the air. 

 
                        
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DON'T SKIMP ON THE DE!!!

The stuff is cheap.  Get 20 pounds of the stuff and get to work.  If you use it all up, don't worry, there's more at the store!

Can you set up the light traps?  This way, you can measure the effectiveness of techniques.

Can you purchase a dehumidifier?  Or maybe some kind of heater that doesn't have a temperature regulator?  I wonder if a person were to raise the temperature in a room to 115 degrees for two hours if it would kill all the fleas in all stages in the room.  (Four hours for a carpeted room).


Paul (and Judy),

Thanks for your response.  Where do you recommend getting the food grade DE?  and is 20 lbs really necessary?  I read a light dusting is all that's needed.  I'm concerned my wife may get asthma from too much cause she's really sensistive to airborne matter.

I wish I'd tried the heat approach before summer ended.  Now its too cool out to get the apt hot enough.  But I'll remember that for the future.  A dehumidifier may be helpful, but just running the a/c or forced air ought to lower humidity as well.  I tried a light trap once and didn't seem to get anything.

I've wondered why fleas bite me (and sometimes my wife) but not others.  My son and daughter (in their twenties) never get bites in our place.  Yet I get hundreds a day in the same spots.  I drove a friend's car and the fleas in the carpet were very aggresive, but she claimed not to notice anything.  The wife and I do have poor immune systems and I read a vet's statement that fleas attack dogs whose immune systems aren't strong.  Any idea about the 'why me' question?  And do fleas jump on a person via some kind of postivie/negative electrical modality?  Like a static electrical current?
 
paul wheaton
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Jim,

If your wife has asthma, then you might want to either use the DE with strategy or try some of the other stuff.

DE will irritate asthma less than regular house dust.  But it can irritate asthma - depending on how you use it. 

The only DE that is a problem is that which is in the air.  Lay it down thick and keep it from getting airborne.  Keep it in the nooks and crannies where your vacuum cannot reach. 

If you are going to try DE, maybe start off with just one room and see if there is any impact on your wife. 

I tried a light trap once and didn't seem to get anything.


Was it a light trap like a describe in the article?  I will spend a week in a room where I am pretty certain there are no fleas and then put the light trap out and see two fleas in the morning.

I've wondered why fleas bite me (and sometimes my wife) but not others.


My reading suggests that fleas do bite everybody, but that it is only those people that are allergic to the flea saliva that get the itch.
 
                            
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Hi Paul

I'm posting this message on the forum from Sydney Australia.

I've been having a flea problem in my home for several weeks now; have tried various 'so-called' flea exterminator sprays and bombs, all to no avail.  I've also searched on the internet trying to find the ideal solution, most of which either didn't work.  Or were similar to that which can be purchased locally here - and they don't work either!

I was getting to the stage of 'throwing my hands in the air' in complete dispair, when I came across your website just by accident.  So I've recently purchased some DE.  And I smoothed it all over my carpets exactly one week ago today.  Ensuring also that all corner cracks and crevices were covered with DE.  I even smoothed some on the mattress and base area of the bed.  Smoothing it carefully by hand is extremely hard not to make everything else in a room, full of dust.  I also took the precaution of wearing goggles (purchased from a hardware store), and a face mask to cover the nose and mouth.  In fact I had to change the face mask a couple of times, as it was thick with DE dust.

Although it's usually dry warm weather here in Sydney (this part of the planet is coming into summer - early December), but the occasional day when it rains causes some fairly high humidity. I mentioned earlier that the DE has been down exactly a week, and I'm occasionally still feeling the fleas around me.  Probably today which is a humid day is making them more active.  I'm also putting a small nightlight over a bowl of soapy water each night, in a couple of rooms.  However, I can't see any fleas in it when I check each morning.  But then again, I don't know whether you can see fleas in your country.  Here, they're far too small to see, so I don't really know whether that's working.

Paul, you mentioned that vacuuming should be done about every three days.  Is that essential?  I'm asking that because going through the vacuuming procedure that often, and then replacing more DE on the carpet causes another lot of dust in the room.  So, the furniture is having to be cleaned and dusted every three days also - quite a chore, I'm sure you'll agree!  Is their a better way?

I'm feeling fleas around me, as mentioned before, after only a week.  But as you pointed out in the forum, I should feel fleas around for about two to four weeks.  So, I'm willing to 'hang in there' for awhile, as I'm really hoping that this eventually will work.

I look forward with interest to hearing your views.

Regards, Ken (Sydney Australia)

 
paul wheaton
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Very late.  I'm groggy.

It sounds like the DE has drastically cut down on the number of fleas.  Does this seem like a correct assessment to you?

I would like to suggest that you change your bowl of soapy water to a dish.  Make it a little easier for the fleas to get in there. 

How good/poor is your eyesight?  My understanding is that fleas are not that small.

Vacuuming can be done every three days, or every day ... or every two days. I think three days is on the outside.  But make life easier on yourself:  don't put the DE where the vacuum can reach. 



 
                            
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[It sounds like the DE has drastically cut down on the number of fleas.  Does this seem like a correct assessment to you?]

Paul: The DE did appear to cut them back a little in the first day or so.  But since then they've turned into a 'mini-swarm'!


[I would like to suggest that you change your bowl of soapy water to a dish.  Make it a little easier for the fleas to get in there.]

I will try using a shallow dish from now on.


[How good/poor is your eyesight?  My understanding is that fleas are not that small.]

My eyesight is extremely good.  I can only imagine that fleas in your country must be bigger than in Australia.  I can certainly feel them, but I can't see them.  And I've yet to meet an Aussie who has seen a flea!


[Vacuuming can be done every three days, or every day ... or every two days. I think three days is on the outside.  But make life easier on yourself:  don't put the DE where the vacuum can reach.]

If I read you correctly.  [...don't put the DE where the vacuum can reach.]  Does that mean that DE is only necessary in the corner crevices, etc. (ie: between carpet edge and side walls)?  So that the remainder of the carpet can be vacuumed as normal.  If this is so, that would eliminate a heck of a lot of dust in the room.  A welcome move!


I look forward to your comments.
 
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I think you don't have fleas.  My reading suggests that all fleas are small, but they are visible.  While it is possible that you have a variety of flea that is too small to see, I suspect that it is actually something else. 

I think the first step in any problem like this is to know, exactly, what you are dealing with.  Otherwise, you might waste huge piles of money and effort on it. 

DE will kill anything with an exoskeleton.  So if your creatures have an exoskeleton (and some of the smaller insects don't) the DE should help.

Here in the US I can contact the local extension office and they can tell me about problems common to the area. 
 
                            
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Paul:

As you don't think that I have a flea problem, due to them being extremely small.  I'm just wondering whether they might be dust mites.  I've been reading up on them, and apparently dust mites are too small to see, being about 0.5mm in size.

Do you know of a suitable safe substance that I could try as an experiment.  I assume DE will not kill dust mites, as I would not be having this problem.

As you rightly point out, I want to know what I'm dealing with.  Getting in a 'so-called' professional could end up costing a fortune, with no real result.

Any ideas you would like to put forward with regard to dust mites, I would be interested in seeing them on this forum.  And I thank you for your interest and help.
 
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I think the thing to do is to find out, for sure, what you are dealing with. 

Maybe it's mites.

Maybe it's a bacteria.

Maybe it's .... who knows what.  There's lots of stuff that is too small to see. 

Whatever it is, you probably aren't the first person to encounter them.  And the thing to do is to find some official office that can tell you for sure. 

Here, in the US, we call "the university extension office."  Some of these offices will have over a dozen people just for one county whose job it is is to answer questions like this.  At no charge.  They are quite savvy about the local bugs and how to tell what you have.  Is there anything like that in australia?


 
                            
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Paul:

re: "the university extension office."  I suspect their 'may' be something similar operating here in Sydney.  But I'm having a problem trying to track it down.

Perhaps if you could enlighten me as to your university extension office in the US by supplying their email address.  I'll see if I can't get some sort of 'lead' from them.  They maybe able to point me in the right direction. 

Of course, if you do not wish to place that information on this forum.  I quite understand.  Perhaps you could send me that by email.  I believe you may have my private email address?

Again, thank you for your help Paul.  It's much appreciated.
 
paul wheaton
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...thanks Paul!  I'll give that a try.
 
                        
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Paul,

I've had the DE down for about two months now (vacuumed almost all of it up by now) and still have a big flea problem.  Like the guy from Australia, I can't really see them (except as little brownish creatures under a magnifying glass) but I sure do feel them bite.  Its been 18 months straight of hundreds of bites a day.  And I assume they are fleas because I feel them jump on my feet and ankles even when they are up to 12 inches off the floor (as in sitting on the edge of the table).  When I visit a friend's house who has dogs I get the same biting, crawling up my pants, etc.  I see his dogs scratching as well. But I've not caught any with the night light and soapy dish water.

I'm in Maryland and think these must be some kind of tiny flea species, unlike the larger ones that I've dealt with before.  I've called the University of Maryland extension service and they are hopeless and basically ignorant.  I tried to get throught to an entomologist on staff but...too busy to respond.  "Sounds like you need to see a doctor," was one suggestion.  They said if I caught some and sent them in with $15, they'd analyze the critters.  Perhaps I'll try the WSU link you suggested (I used to teach at WSU!) as folks seem a bit more kindly and personable out that way.

Don't want to sound like your first failure but unless you know of a creature that acts like a flea but isn't, then it looks like the DE doesn't work in all instances.
 
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Perhaps you can find a reference to a super tiny flea on wikipedia?  In the meantime, I think the smart thing to do is to catch some and get them identified!
 
                              
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Paul,

I think that every so often, you should remind these folks that, while trying to rid pests with materials that are not petro-chemical-pesticides, they should still exercise safe use of handling and application of these "safe" materials.

DE (Diatomaceous Earth) is comprised of the fossilized, microscopic, extremely sharp skeletal remains of water borne micro-organisms (Diatoms). You touched on it a little, but yet: These sharp little creatures are extremely abrasive. They cut into the tough little exoskeletons of insects, which causes them to dry out, just as if DE were finely ground particles of glass. This is the way DE kills insects. DE will not kill soft bodied insect larva effectively.

I noticed that our friends in your blog seem not to have read the packaging at times. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!

While I am fairly sure the packaging states that a person should wear respiratory protection, it is up to the user to choose the type and use it.

A dust-mask provides protection from large dust particles that could get into the lungs. A DUST-MASK DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST HARMFUL IRRITANTS, POISONS, TOXINS, HEAVY METALS, ETC! Dust-masks have no sealing surface against the skin.  Dust will get in the lungs if it is not sealed out. A dust mask will work fairly well for Sawdust.  Sawdust, being relatively inert, could eventually clog your lungs, for they are sticky air filters of sorts, if exposed to enough of it over a period of time, but it will not cut like glass.

DE, if exposed to the unprotected internal cells of the human body, can become a major irritant and destroy cell walls, such as those of the esophagus or lungs.

This is why persons who use, even these natural remedies should educate themselves.

There are two major types of DE. The type used in swimming pools as a filter media component and the insect killing type. Please research this prior to using it yourself. DE should be used along baseboards, in unused basements, and generally where people do not get their noses close enough to ingest it. Insects will crawl in it and dessicate.

For fleas, one must look into the lifecycle of the flea in order to eradicate it. The remedy for fleas in the larval stage differs from the adult stage. An infestation has both types at the same time.

The poor dear who wore a dust-mask and then later a face sealing respirator, probably never gave thought to her hair and clothing being covered in dust after vacuuming. Upon removal of the respirator had her breathing dust from herself for three hours. A quick shower may have remedied that. She was so stressed, she certainly took more years off her life agonizing over this than if she did not panic. Bless her heart.

A flea comb and a bowl of soapy water to dunk the fleas in terminates them. Vacuuming every day sucks up their eggs. Removing clutter from everywhere removes places for them to hide. Please refer to Consumer Reports for an article on vacuum cleaner testing. Seldom does a HEPA vac actually do the job. A good tip for canister vac fans is to have a piece of duct tape ready to seal the hole as soon as they remove the filter for disposal. There are disposable filter bags for many vacuums that are near HEPA Filter quality.

I resided in So-Cal for years and the fleas there are terrible. They only go dormant in the winter. They can get huge. I noticed that I ate more spicy foods than my wife at the time. She always got bites. Seldom did I. You can start eating more garlic or take in a roomate who tends to get more bites than yourself. 

Anecdotally, I recall that people used to keep swine in the room with them  to keep from being bitten by insects. I just cannot recall if it was for fleas during the black plague or mosquitoes to prevent from contracting malaria. But how do you get rid of the pigs? Bacon anyone?

This whole saga reminds me of the story of the Mouse and the Elephant.

Silverdale Slug
 
                                    
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Can somone tell me where like what kinda stores will have DE i dont order online unless they could bring it too me right now lol i cant sleep im head to toe in these relentless parasites! i have to go out and get some today and google search just not cutting it i looked at like home depot and stuff but why whould they sell u that when they can sell u a bottle of juice that wont work for 50 bucks ya know please ne steering in the right direction whould be appreciated?
 
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It can be done!

Call your local farm supply store and ask them if they have it. 

Some eco stores carry it.  And some organic grocery stores carry it. 

I suppose it is possible for something like a hardware story to carry it - I would call first.

I think that getting it over the internet is going to be best.  Best selection, best price.
 
                                    
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Hi Paul,

Just discovered your site while I was looking for an organic alternative to modern lawn care.

I have a question regarding flea control, however...

How do you maintain "flealessness" in the lawn?

Alexis
 
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I have never had this problem, but during my intensive research on the topic, I came across a lot of folks recommending a special variety of nematodes. 
 
                    
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Hi, Paul, my first post.  I am intrigued by your writing style and your inquisitiveness to search for a solution by reasonable means.  I applaud you.  I look forward to reading your solutions to other things.  Actually, I first found your richsoils.com site.  I have a pH problem with my yard (more on that later when I go back to researching my yard care).

The rich soils page lists a reference to flea control and since a friend of mine recently encountered a problem with fleas that enticed me to peek at your topic about flea control.    Your article mentions about researching the use of a dehumidifier on 2 rooms with an update to be posted by Sept 2007.  I did not notice an update (unless room #2  is the updated experiment), so what is your conclusion?
Silverdale Slug posted my thoughts to a “T” on several points.  Do consult Consumers Research or Consumers report for a vacuum cleaner.  A $400-$500 Dyson proved no more effective than a $100 Eureka model.  A vacuum cleaner is a motor sucking air through a filter before ejecting said air back to the environment … a filter is a filter is a filter (more or less).  Once the filter is clogged, no more air can pass through, no more suction, no more cleaning  whether it has “cyclone” cleaning effect or not.  To each their own, but I prefer a significantly cheaper allergen type bag filter (smaller pore size out of the bag and I am allergic to dust and this type bag is great).

Diatomaceous Earth  (DE)  is very fine, almost silky feeling fine substance.  I imagine it would clog any filter quite quickly and ruin the filter.  You mention under your vacuuming section (assuming carpeting) that if you don’t vacuum but every 3 days to lay down a fine layer of DE.  Have you or others been successful in removing DE once laid down?  It is so fine,  I don’t see how you would ever get it out of the carpet (and see respiratory later).  You also mention to use DE where your vacuum does not reach.  I think you should state boldly, do not to place DE on carpeting except maybe around the carpet-to-wall edges where vacuums don’t have much effect and continue to insist on vacuuming daily.

Respiratory wise, it does seems reasonable that the microscopic sharp edges of the DE could potentially harm a person’s fine cellular lining of their respiratory tract … especially if that person has weak mucous producing cells in their mucosal lining of their respiratory tract, the mucosal lining is there to help protect and move irritants up and out of the respiratory tract.  You believe the DE changes shape perhaps or swells perhaps once it becomes wet and may not cause lung damage.  Any cellular biologists have an answer??  Whether if microscopic sharp edges or wet sticky goo with unsharp edges when it gets wet,  it does not sound like a good thing to not allow into your lungs as might happen if you apply full coverage on top of your carpeting  (fine layering technique or not).

What did Syd  in Australia and Jim ever find out to be their culprit if not fleas,  did they ever capture and have the critter analyzed?  If not fleas nor dust mites, perhaps they had “no see’ ums”  (although these can fly around and are a real nuisance and I don’t know if they can live indoors or if only outdoor critters.)

Paul, I look forward to reading about your cast iron experiments, but for eggs only, I might stay with Teflon pans for a limited usage.  More importantly, I will be digesting your thoughts and readers comments on soil enrichners.  Good luck to all of you with flea problems.  May you find your solution.  My friend has already had his house cleaned by his local pest control company (rather than supposedly some super duper flea killer company) … but for the future, should his problem return, I will mention your link. 

 
paul wheaton
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> I applaud you.

Thanks!

>  to be posted by Sept 2007

Thanks for the reminder.  I added the info and took a pass through the whole article adding some polish here and there.

> I imagine it [DE] would clog any filter quite quickly and ruin the filter.

Ruin?  How do you think it would ruin the filter?  What kind of vacuum filter would it be if dust ruined it?

> Have you or others been successful in removing DE once laid down?

I think I have.  One pass with a vacuum and I think it is 99% gone. 

Respiratory wise, it does seems reasonable that the microscopic sharp edges of the DE could potentially harm a person’s fine cellular lining of their respiratory tract … especially if that person has weak mucous producing cells in their mucosal lining of their respiratory tract, the mucosal lining is there to help protect and move irritants up and out of the respiratory tract.


I'll admit that it is possible, but I feel pretty confident that once wet, DE loses its sharpness.  I'm open to folks showing some microscopic bits about it.   

Basically, what we have here is a battle of speculation.  Your speculation vs. my speculation.  The real way to solve this is for one of us to get off our butts, pull out the microscope and get to coming up with definitive proof of one way or the other.



 
                                          
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I Live in Oklahoma.  It is hot. It can be humid.  Last year we had a small flea issue on our pets, but nothing too serious, that baths for those too young to receive frontline, and monthly doses for those that could, didn't take care of, my biggest problem then was ticks!

This year I noticed a problem starting around February, but it just wasn't in the budget to treat it that early. Well, when we got back from being out of town for memorial weekend we discovered a flea infestation of monstrous proportions.

I have a definite fear of any insect, and ones that jump freakishly high and suck blood that leaves spots that itch for weeks are definitely at the top of my "most easily paranoid by" list, especially when we can't walk across the living-room without having about 10 fleas jump on us. (no exageration) And I feel every bite when it happens, I have personally caught and drowned easily 60 fleas in the last week.
In fact, my bedroom is so taken over by fleas that my husband and I have had to sleep on the couch for nearly a week now, and we cannot walk around the house without wearing a heavy layer of OFF! Deep Woods on our clothing.


So far I have vacuumed, put down Borax, and am fixing to vacuum and lay it down again, but it is not nearly as effective as I hoped.

I just found this article when searching for weather or not to invest in flea bombs.  I'm not particularly poison-conscious, I believe that if we survive all the daily poisons we receive from various sources, what's a little extra if it gets the job done.

I am not a rich person.  In fact I usually have about $10 to spare each month. No matter what solution I intend to go with it will put me in debt, so I want to make sure to get the most effective treatment for my money.

You say in your article that: "In my worst flea situation, I don't think there was ever more than 30 adult fleas alive in the house at one time."  Well, I've been setting flea traps every night in all three of my effected rooms with the results being exactly 73 fleas in each bowl by morning (there's something for you to experiment with, why that particular number?) Would you consider my case severe enough to seek professional help, or should I try the DE? Keep in mind I cannot afford to invest in multiple solutions.

Also, I have a cat who often has a stuffy nose, (in the summer due to allergies that we have yet to determine) so I'm wondering if it's a bad idea to use this on him? I'm probably going to end up using frontline simply because it's less hassle, but if I did decide to use DE too, I'd like to know if anyone else has tried it on cats with allergies.

Thank you.

-V

 
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GAH!  ACK!

There are so many things I need to respond to.

First, whatever you do, do NOT use the flea bomb!  The results typically suck and then you have poison all over everything!  The toxicity of the flea bomb is going to be at least a hundred times worse than the borax. 

Next, stop using the borax!  I think that borax can be a least toxic solution for some things like controlling mold or mildew - when done correctly.  But there are better ways even for that.  But this is different - you would be putting the toxin on your floor and then walking on it with your bare feet.  Plus, when you walk on it, you are stirring it up into the air. 

Good job on the flea traps.  The number you are getting is downright freaky.  Expect the numbers to go up!  After all, the 73 you caught may have laid a whole bunch of eggs. 

Yes, you need to use the DE.  If you let your fingers do the walking, you should be able to find some place in your area that will sell you some food grade DE for less than ten bucks.  If all else fails, you can send me ten bucks via paypal and I'll send you some some of mine via USPS.

Please stop using OFF!  That stuff is toxic too! 

I suggest that before you use frontline that you google "frontline toxic" and do a little research.

How often are you vacuuming? 

I wonder if you might try the heat trick or the dehumidifier trick.  If nothing else, you are doing careful monitoring.  Suppose you got the temp in the room to 105 for 24 hours.  And then you put a flea trap in there and got just five fleas in a day.  It might not be a complete win, but it would be a strong indicator.

Wow. 73! 

I wish I were there.  I would like to understand how many hiding places there might be for fleas and if there is a source for larvae food.  I would also like to try at least one of the experiments in a very scientifically controlled manner.  Preferably the heat experiment complete with a remote thermometer. 

Be careful with your vacuum.  If you suck up the fleas but there is no DE in there, the fleas could still be alive and work their way out of the vacuum.

 
                                          
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Paul,

We opted not to use the flea bomb when our vet informed us that for it to be effective we would need to use it one day a week for three weeks in every room of the house. and wash everything every time. I want the fleas gone, but I'm not willing to put that much poison around.

The borax I am continuing to use until I find DE and give it a whirl.  We do not ever let it touch our skin, I'm too alergic to most things to let it touch my skin. We wear shoes at all times, and the pets are kept in separate rooms which we remove our shoes before entering.

I didn't see an improvement in the number of fleas I was getting until I tried Sergeants gold home spray, apparently ridiculously toxic, but very effective! I was against using it at first, but I want my bedroom back! I used one can in the livingroom to test the effectiveness. I sprayed the carpets, the drapries that touch the floor, the couches, everything.  I then set out the flea trap, and in the morning the 73 had decreased to 21. Now, Seargants gold says one spray keeps fleas away for 7 months...they lie...it kills the ones it touches, nothing more, nothing less.

I found DE at our local CO-OP, and we bought a 40LB bag for $25, however, and I really need a reply as soon as possible to this part: It is brown and I was under the impression it was supposed to be white?? Did they sell me the pool grade instead of the food grade? I didn't think the CO_OP would sell the pool grade but my husband didn't think to ask, either.  I've been holding off on putting it down until I get an answer to this.

The OFF! can't stop being used until the fleas are gone, I am very allergic to the flea bites, (one bite on my ankle can cause a rash all the way up to my knees) and can't afford to be itchy everywhere at work.

I googled frontline, I talked to my vet, it's never hurt my dogs before, and while he encouraged me to use DE outside and inside he told me to absolutely not use it on my cats, as he has lost one cat to this, the powder is much too fine, and a cat's respiratory system is much too fragile. He told me that my cat with allergies would especially not fair well if he breathed in some of the DE.

I'm a bit leery of using something like frontline on my cats, it's one thing on a 50+ pound dog, but my cats are so little...I will have to see what else can be done for them.  If I can treat the house and the dogs I may be able to just give the cats a capstar to get rid of what is on them right now.

I am vacuuming everyday with a rainbow vacuum cleaner, if you are familiar with these they vacuum everything up into water, so no worries about the fleas surviving that!

I would love to try the heat trick, but my house is not equipped with central heat, we use little electric heaters and heating blankets in the winter.  (The winters here aren't usually too severe) I do know that my back room on a 100 degree Oklahoma day may get that hot, but it is not carpeted, so I'm not really having flea issues in it.

There are MANY places for fleas to hide here, though tonight I did find a source that I hadn't considered before.  I had a kitty condo which is carpeted, and a quick glance of it showed me that it was harboring quite a few of the fleas, so I have tossed it outside. 

Does anyone know if and for how long a flea can live on say...a linoleum floor?  I keep finding a few fleas in my bathroom, I am convinced that they hitch a ride from the other rooms, but my room-mate insists that they are living in there.

Anyway, please get  back to me as soon as possible about wether the DE is supposed to be brown or if  have the wrong kind, I'm very much wanting to try this, but not if I just invested $25 in the wrong stuff! Also, my vet does say that DE works quite well. He said he has a breeder who is a client of his, and she uses the DE once a year around her kennels and it keeps the fleas away all year.  For here, that's really impressive.

Thank you for all your help!

 
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This is so frustrating.

People go on and on about DE and their lungs - or the lungs of their pet.  For crying out loud, just don't fling it into the air and make a big cloud out of it!

I can see how a person could make anybody or any animal cough and choke on DE, or flour, or talcum powder or corn starch or anything powdery.    And yet people don't go flinging the other powders across the room.  But because they choose to fling DE across the room it makes them cough.  Just don't fling it!!!  It can be applied without the fling!  Go easy! 

And if you are sensitive to stuff, I would think that would make it so you would stop using the toxic gick immediately!  If you don't stop using the toxic gick, I'm afraid I have to stop talking to you.  It is maddening:  "I cannot bear the poison, but here - let me put just a little more poison on myself!"

DE can be pretty white, but it is usually off white.  I have some that has a brownish tint to it, but I have never seen any that I would call brown.  What does it say on the bag?

Fleas and water:  Fleas do survive an encounter with water - but they die quickly in water with a little soap.  The soap is critically important!

Fleas can live a long time on a linoleum floor.  But if you toss a little DE along the edges, they won't live very long.  DE and floors kills fleas about 10 times faster than carpets and DE.

Also, my vet does say that DE works quite well. He said he has a breeder who is a client of his, and she uses the DE once a year around her kennels and it keeps the fleas away all year.  For here, that's really impressive.


I would think that this should be the final word for you.  Quit using all of that toxic crap and start using the DE.  Don't fling the DE - lay it carefully down so you don't make a dust cloud.  Breathing a little dust in is okay.  Just don't breathe in a heavy cloud of it because it will make mud in your lungs. 

Do you have a flea comb? 

NO MORE BORAX!

NO MORE "Sergeants gold home spray"

NO MORE "OFF!"

DO NOT USE "frontline"

DO NOT USE "capstar"

Put that DE to work and note the date.  For four weeks I want you to count the fleas in your flea trap and count the bites you can find on anybody.  Daily.  Flea comb your animals and put DE on their bedding.  Vacuum daily. 

The flea count in your traps might go up for a couple of weeks because the adult fleas in your house may have been on an egg laying spree the last couple of weeks.  But because of the vacuuming and DE, I predict that bites will immediately go to zero (or near zero).  So you have 21 fleas in your trap today.  I think you might see as many as 30 or even 40 a day about two weeks from now.  But 28 days from now I predict that you will be seeing something like 1 or 2 per day.  And six weeks from now you might see 1 per week.  And after three months, I think you won't see any more. 




 
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Even the pool grade stuff is probably safer than the borax.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth :
Safety considerations

The absorbent qualities of diatomite can result in a significant drying of the hands, if handled without gloves. The saltwater (industrial) form contains a highly crystalline form of silica, resulting in sharp edges. The sharpness of this version of the material makes it dangerous to breathe and a dust mask is recommended when working with it.

The type of hazard posed by inhalation depends on the form of the silica. Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis. Amorphous silica can cause dusty lungs, but does not carry the same degree of risk as crystalline silica. Food-grade diatomite generally contains very low percentages of crystalline silica. Diatomite produced for pool filters is treated with heat, causing the formerly amorphous silicon dioxide to assume its crystalline form.

In the United States, the crystalline silica content in the dusts is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and there are guidelines for the maximum amounts allowable in the product and in the air near the breathing zone of workers.[3]




From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax

Toxicity

Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic. [5] Its LD50 score is tested at 2,660 mg/kg in rats. [6] This does not mean that is is safe, merely that a significant dose of the chemical is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. Simple exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Ingestion may casue gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. "In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure." [7]

A reassessment of boric acid/borax by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs found potential developmental toxicity (especially effects on the testes).[8] Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be especially toxic to infants, especially after repeated use because of its slow elimination rate.[9]



A little common sense goes a long way with things like this.
I'm guessing that a lot of the toxic  products ship mixed with a non active ingredient like chaulk (or even DE) that would be just as harmful if breathed in high quantities.
 
                            
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Hi... I found this article and wanted to add some info.  I never in a million years thought fleas could steal a month of my life... but they have.  I have welts all over my chest and back.  Somehow the infestation is outside.  But a tool I have found that is a life saver ... it is the sticky roller that you would normally use to remove pet hair from your clothes.  but it works wonderfully to pick up fleas and almost instantly kills them, I found one made by evercare that extends like a mop.  I will get about 20 fleas on me between the 10 feet from my front door to my car door and use the roller to trap them as they crawl up my pant leg.  I definitely have been in panic mode but now I know I have about 2 minutes before they crawl to my waste line...  Yes... it is a nightmare.  I am still fighting the battles but this sticky roller has been really helpful.  I will try the nematodes in my yard.  I did use a professional pest company as my cat almost died from an infection from all the bites...  Finally...My dyson vaccuum cleaner and I have bonded ...  I vaccuum several times a day....I can look through the clear canister and monitor how many fleas I pick up... and as I empty the container I use my kitchen water sprayer and dump the canister over a midsized trashcan vinegar...  that seems to kill them... not sure why.  It has been a miserable argh.  Good luck everyone.
 
                                          
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Sorry for all the questions, I just really need to make sure this works, because I'm nearly broke, and looking into moving out of my house if I can't get this infestation taken care of soon! I highlighted my questions this time to make it easier

Okay, The bag it came is was just a plain ole' white paper bag no writing or anything, so I called and asked the CO-OP about what kind of DE it was that they sold me, and they said it was Food grade DE mixed with Clay...I'm not exactly sure why they mixed it with clay, but I'm guessing that accounts for the brown color. I assume it will still be effective against the fleas...but I'm thinking I'll need to borrow a more conventional vacuum cleaner cause vacuuming clay into water can't be a good idea.

My husband is laying the DE down tomorrow, I do want to make sure I understood your article correctly though, I am to lay the DE all over the carpet, vacuum daily, and put more DE down. when the fleas are down to "0" in the water traps I should  sprinkle and leave DE in the corners to prevent another infestation. Is this correct?

Also, my cat's don't really have one certain spot where they bed down, and I've heard mixed theories about whether or not fleas will leave a host if the only other option is a hard surface.  Right now they are confined to the dining room, where I will put DE in the cracks as suggested, but should I be putting anything on say the table where they do nap quite a bit, or the windowsill? Or should I just trust that any fleas in the room will eventually be got by the DE in the cracks and corners? Will DE in the litter box help prevent fleas from hiding there? (I think that's a huge source of the problem for the cats, even though I've been changing it out frequently.)

As for the price I paid for this DE/clay mixture, ($25 for 40LBS) is that average or expensive? I'm sure I'll have to get more before I'm through, so I'd like to know if it's more cost effective to get it online. The few places I've looked have been about the same or higher, one place was charging nearly 1.50/LB!!

And for my last question, how often should I wash couch cushions, bedding etc. that I can't put the DE on? Is once a week enough or should I be doing it more? And I had a friend suggest that I put stuffed animals, un-washable pillows, etc. in a plastic bag with salt, tie it up and leave it for a few days to ensure that no fleas or egs are there. Does the salt thing actually work?

Thanks again.

-Vanessa

 
paul wheaton
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gardenia.girl,

So your yard has zillions of fleas? 

Where do you live?  Is it warm and moist?  Are you contributing to the moist somehow?

 
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I'm not exactly sure why they mixed it with clay, but I'm guessing that accounts for the brown color.  I assume it will still be effective against the fleas...


Yes.  It will be.

but I'm thinking I'll need to borrow a more conventional vacuum cleaner cause vacuuming clay into water can't be a good idea.


A little clay with a lot of water will be okay.

But borrowing a conventional vac might be good so you can vacuum up DE with the fleas.

My husband is laying the DE down tomorrow, I do want to make sure I understood your article correctly though, I am to lay the DE all over the carpet


That is a way.  But I think that is not the way that is best for you. 

There are two general approaches:

1)  A paper thin layer of DE on all of the carpet, or,

2)  A paper thin layer of DE on all of the carpet that a vacuum cannot reach.  And then add in vacuuming every few days (or even every day).

I think you are going for "2".

when the fleas are down to "0" in the water traps I should  sprinkle and leave DE in the corners to prevent another infestation.


You probably don't have to go that far.  Once you get to zero, you might just keep some DE around where it is well hidden and fleas could be a problem.

Also, my cat's don't really have one certain spot where they bed down, and I've heard mixed theories about whether or not fleas will leave a host if the only other option is a hard surface.


Fleas tend to not leave the host.  Hence the flea comb.

should I be putting anything on say the table where they do nap quite a bit, or the windowsill?


I wouldn't.

Or should I just trust that any fleas in the room will eventually be got by the DE in the cracks and corners?


Don't trust that fleas will go where you want them to go. 

Keep in mind that fleas can jump no higher than 8 inches and they do jump a lot.  This means that almost always end up on the floor. 

Will DE in the litter box help prevent fleas from hiding there? (I think that's a huge source of the problem for the cats, even though I've been changing it out frequently.)


Freaky!  DE in the litter will kill the fleas.


As for the price I paid for this DE/clay mixture, ($25 for 40LBS) is that average or expensive?


I think you got a good price.  Although the whole thing about mixing in clay is new to me.

how often should I wash couch cushions, bedding etc. that I can't put the DE on?


I would only wash them when I find fleas on them.

If I had bites above my knees, that would tell me that fleas are in the bedding, so I would wash the bedding.

Does the salt thing actually work?


It's new to me.  I think I would skip that technique.

With the DE, vacuuming and the flea traps, you have this whole project on rails.  It's just a matter of time.



 
                                          
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Thanks for the answers. We didn't get a chance to lay down the DE when I thought we would, but hopefully my husmand will do it tomorrow while I'm at work!!

gardenia.girl>>>live in OK by chance, cause that's exactly the way they are here too, I can't get from my car to the house without having a small army of them crawling up my legs, and you're right the pet roller does seem to kill them, I'm thinking maybe it's one of the ingredients they use to make the glue that's killing them

Also, a tidbit for anyone who feels like experimenting: My fleas are much much more attracted to watermelon juice than to any of the water traps, not sure why, but they are drawn to it then drown! I noticed this last night when I set my plate on the floor for a minute or so, and when I came back I had about 30 fleas on it.

Another thing that kills fleas on all surfaces, even sand fleas,  is a spray bottle of alcohol.  Spray down everything every three days for 12 days., and use it around doors, porches etc as an invisible barrier.  I tried this on my porch and it worked amazingly well, unfortunately it's a bit too expensive for me to buy enough to do everything!! But maybe that will help someone else.
 
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