Beset by Fleas!

Beset by Fleas!

Recommendations are at the bottom of this post.

Damnit, the house has erupted in fleas or something that leaves tiny bite marks. The cats have been scratching themselves all day, and I’m itchy too.

The cats don’t go out, so it’s something that either crawled over from the outside or I brought them back with me from somewhere else.

I have a big day planned tomorrow, involving the mass deployment of chemical agents

First, I need to get some 20 Mule Team Borax from the super market. Apparently, you spread it on your carpets and under your couch cushions to suck the moisture out of eggs and larvae. You let it sit for a few days, then vacuum it up. Apparently it’s ok for cats as long as they don’t roll in it and them groom themselves, so I’ll probably have to isolate them.

Then you need to vacuum and toss all the bags, otherwise the fleas will crawl out of the vacuum cleaner. Flea Combs are also in order…I have yet to see the little bastards. According to Consumer Reports, flea collars are not effective.

The Treatment Begins

* I got a flea comb from the supermarket. Upon brushing Kat, he came up with black specs (dried blood excreted by the flea), and a wriggling brown insect! Disgusting! Drowned the flea in a bowl of soapy water.

  • Sprayed Hartz Home Flea & Tick Killer around the basement. It’s upposed to kill fleas, ticks and flea eggs. It will take 4 weeks to see if this has really been effective. [update: The Hartz 4-in-1 isn’t nearly as effective as Advantage. Go to your Vet and get some Advantage. It’s totally worth it].
  • Vacuumed and chucked the bag outside immediately.
  • Need to schedule a Flea Dip for the cats? Is that even possible?
  • Using 20 Mule Borax on carpet and furniture might work also. It will dehydrate the larvae and eggs apparently.
  • Need to nuke all bedding. Also, seal off the upstairs rooms from the cats.
  • Built a flea trap out of a small 20W halogen lamp and a bowl of water, half filled, with some dish soap in it to break the surface tension. I guess the heat and moisture will attract fleas.
  • I’ve picked a dozen fleas off of Kate so far with the comb. She’s very “bitey” so it takes some finesse. My strategy is to watch for when she starts scratching or biting, then I move in with the comb and sweep. If I get a perp, I douse the comb in the soap water. I’m going to get some of that anti-flea goo for them tomorrow. Poor kitties.

update 9.21.2004

  • The Hartz 4-1 flea/tick remover seems to be kicking in after about 36 hours. For the first 24 hours, Kate and Kat were quite unhappy. Kat cheered up the next day, and accepted much brushing (which is unusual for him). Kate hid behind the toilet, but came out after about a day and half to accept some flea combing. Nothing showed up. Kat still had a couple.
  • The DeBoraxing of the Living Room and Upstairs Bedrooms killed 2 vacuum cleaner bags, which were tossed immediately. There was not a lot of flea action going on there. The cats have been banned from the bedrooms for the next few weeks.
  • It took 3 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax to do about half the house. I still need to do the entrance ways and dining room.
  • A call to Amherst Animal Hospital to inquire about flea control revealed some useful information: The petstore brands of medicine are harsher than their preferred product “Advantage”. Advantage costs 4 times as much as the Hartz stuff. I got 4 applications. Annabelle, one of the doctors there, filled me in on flea control issues: (1) fleas don’t really go after people…if you control the cats, you will win in the end. (2) de-flea them every day to make sure they’re clear, removing dead fleas and “flea dirt” (3) Wash ’em after a couple weeks, then put Advantage on them for the next month or two to make sure the fleas stay gone. (4) Advantage works by actually covering the cat with anti-flea stuff. You apply it to the backskin of their necks (like the Hartz 4-in-1) and it slowly oozes over the cat over several days. Freaky!

update 10.20.2004

  • Advantage® rules! The link is the official Advantage site, which is manufactured by Bayer. About a day after applying it to both cats, the number of fleas dropped dramatically. Of course, it’s also the end of the flea season and it’s been chillier in the house.
  • I’ve maintained an every-2-days vacuuming schedule for about 3 weeks, chucking the bag each time. The number of fleas did diminish with the Hartz stuff, but they weren’t completely gone. I have start vacuuming every 3-4 days now, and haven’t noticed a recurrence yet.
  • I’ve kept most of the house off-limits to the cats, but I think I can start opening it up again now that they’ve been treated.
  • I bought several flea traps, in addition to the bowl of water w/ lamp. The flea traps consist of a sticky pad under a grate, over which is a 7W night-light bulb. It caught a few fleas, but not a whole lot. They’re kind of nice if you think of them as night lights with extra purpose, but I’m not convinced they are effective. The flea traps with the soapy water actually caught several dozen fleas in my basement. One of my cats actually discovered he liked sitting directly on top of the trap, because it was warm.
  • Wearing running pants when you sleep helps prevent leg bites :-)

Recommendations

If I were to do this all again:

  • Go to the vet and get the Advantage or Frontline right away! The difference is that Advantage is fleas only, and Frontline is fleas + ticks. For indoor cats, the Advantage is fine. The sooner you do this, the better you’ll be. It cost me $40 for 4 vials, each good for a month. This is considerably more expensive than the Hartz stuff, but it actually seems to work. It not only kills fleas in 12 hours on your cat, but it kills ’em if they hop on. Your cat becomes an active flea killing agent.
  • Isolate the cats while you vacuum, seal off areas that you don’t want them in (like your bedroom). Buy extra vacuum cleaner bags, because you’ll be vacuuming every other day. Throw out the bag immediately outside your house. Do this for two weeks after you’ve Advantage’d your cat.
  • Steam clean the carpets. Wash any bedding or toss it out far away from your house.
  • If you have carpet, get a few boxes of the “20 Mule Borax”. Sprinkle liberally in carpeted areas and in sofas and let it sit for a few days. I used an awl to punch about a dozen holes in the top of the box, and used it like a giant salt shaker. I then use a broom to brush it in deeply into the carpet fiber. I’ve also read that very finely crushed salt (as prepared in a blender) also helps. The point of the borax and salt is to dehydrate any eggs and larvae. I’m not convinced this actually worked…it is supposed to kill larva.
  • Also protect yourself: during the first week or so of the investation, make sure you’re wearing long pants and socks to protect yourself from flea bites. It’s easier for the fleas to feed off your pets, but if they’re covered with Advantage they’ll go for you! Deny them the blood! I also used flea repellant indoors on my exposed skin to keep the bugs off. Starve ’em!
  • bug bombs: useless. They just stink up the house and while they kill fleas, they don’t kill eggs. I bombed my basement and keep it clear for 4 weeks, and they still came back there. Treat the fleas at the source: your cats with Advantage.
  • Flea Traps: Not particularly useful but I did like to have them in the bedroom and other sealed areas. They did catch fleas, and in sealed areas where there isn’t a lot of pet activity, they caught a few dozen. Since each flea can lay 200 eggs, that is potentially a lot of eggs prevented.
  • daily flea combing was useful as a monitoring tool. After applying the Hartz 4-in-1, I still had to comb every day, because the stuff just didn’t work. After using advantage, I haven’t had to comb at all. Every once in a while I catch a cat scratching itself and do a comb through, but the level of flea dirt and eggs is practically nill.

update 08.03.2005

I’ve been hearing more about flea problems with some family members, so I’ve been extra vigilant. I found a couple very informative articles on flea control:

  • University of Nebraska — Sounds like the whole state has severe flea problems every year, and this article has that kind of grim, matter-of-fact tone to it that sounds credible. If you see the fleas, there are already thousands of eggs and larvae, so you have to break the cycle of reproduction…this will take several weeks.
  • Placerville Vet — Another factual, informative article on fleas. This one confirms the approach of making the pets into flea-killin’ machines, by putting Advantage or Frontline on them. Fleas jump on, fleas die.

As a bonus, they describe the difference between Frontline and Advantage. Frontline apparently lasts longer for just anti-flea use (2 months), though they say it’s only good for one month for full coverage. So you may save money with Frontline. There some other alternatives listed too.

39 Comments

  1. BradFitzz 16 years ago

    Wow, that sounds like more effort than I could handle right now. I think this is what you’d call an official FUMIGATION! We need pics :)

    Good luck.
    ——-

  2. Bridget 16 years ago

    Hey, Dave – glad you went with Advantage… 9 years ago I realized late at night that my kitty had fleas, and wanting to get her instant releif, I went to the all-night grocery store and got a flea-spray type product. I followed the directions to the letter, but something went horribly wrong, and it ended up affecting her central nervous system. Long story short,  she ended up in the kitty E.R. after my Dad found her dragging herself though our house that next afternoon, unable to walk :{

    A) Leave-in, my a$$.
    B) Never buying any Hertz product again in my lifetime.
    C) Love the vet (and Dad) very much for saving her from my stupidity.
    D) Ensuing treatment with Advantage was MUCH more gentle, and apparently effective as we never had the problem again.

    Augh!

  3. Bridget 16 years ago

    Ummmm, Hartz not Hertz.

  4. Dave 16 years ago

    The Advantage works much better, though Kate ran away before she got a really good dose, so I hope it’s enough.  I will need to continue vacuuming the house for a couple more days, and then I will probably re-open the basement to them. They must be bored being upstairs all the time.

  5. Nell Liquorman 15 years ago

    When you finally decide that your flea-control is not working, go to the KEEP FLEAS OFF site.  My two cats seem to be invisible to fleas, and I spend about $10 a year to keep them that way.  From 1993 until recently, the KEEP FLEAS OFF bathing and grooming guide was only available through a green organization, but now has its own site.

  6. Dave 15 years ago

    The Advantage has been working fine…both cats seem quite content and flea-free.

  7. mary 15 years ago

    FLEAS!! HELP! I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING THAT WAS MENTIONED. I TREATED MY KITTY WITH FRONTLINE, IT DIDNT WORK. SHE IS AN OUTDOOR CAT, AND COMES IN RARELY. SHE IS GOING TO THE VET FOR A FLEA DIP THIS WEEK. MEANWHILE I HAVE WORLD WAR 3 GOING ON IN MY HOUSE WITH FLEAS. WHEN PERSIA COMES IS SHE HIDES IN THE BASEMENT, THIS SEEMS TO BE THE “FLEA-BASE”! THEY WERE EVERYWHERE DOWN THERE. I KNOW I HAVE SET OFF ABOUT 15 BUG BOMBS DOWN THERE IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS. SHE IS NOW REMAINING OUTSIDE FOR HER SAFETY AGAINST THE CHEMICALS. I HAVE TRIED THE BORAX IN THE CARPETS AND FURNITURE. I HAVE A SON WITH ASTHMA AND HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL. I HAVE SPRAYED UPSTAIRS ALSO, WE SEE ABOUT 4-5 FLEAS IN THE LIVING ROOM DAILY. WE VACCUM ALL OF THE TIME. THE EXTERMINATOR IS COMING TOMORROW, I JUST DONT KNOW IF WHAT HE HAS WILL WORK EITHER. HOW CAN YOU TRUELY GET THESE OUT OF YOUR HOUSE FOR GOOD? PLEASE HELP

  8. Dave 15 years ago

    Yikes! That sounds awful!!! I think the Frontline worked for me because my cats are indoor, and they weren’t avoiding the afflicted areas, so they were mobile flea killers, and I hit it before it became really really bad. That doesn’t help you at all, though.

    It was very helpful to talk to my vet about the issue…when you go tomorrow, maybe they can help you come up with a plan of attack.

    The exterminator may have some tips on where the fleas will be hiding and you will have to upturn your house…it sounds like extreme measures are called for.

  9. mary 15 years ago

    Thank you for the advise. I will talk to the vet. Your advise has inspired me allot. I hope to win this ‘FLEA WAR.’ LOL! Take care! Mary

  10. Joe 15 years ago

    lookout though, fleas can adapt to the medication you give them. In other words: advantage might stop working.

  11. Barbara 15 years ago

    I haven’t had a problem with fleas on my cats for 20 years.  The combination of things that works is giving them garlic-yeast tablets every day, along with good quality food.  This means no dry food, unless exceptional quality (no Iams). The best is homemade raw food.  This year our cats found a source of Iams dry food available to them 24/7, and stopped eating at home for awhile, thus no garlic pills, AND horrible quality – actually addictive – food.  So now I’m going to try Advantage!

  12. Colleen 15 years ago

    I’ve been reading everything I can find on flea infestations – we moved into a rental property 3 months ago that was apparently infested with fleas.  We are finding them on us 5-10 times a day, minimum.  They are EVERYWHERE, in every single room of the house.  For 2 weeks, I have tried flea powders in the carpet, as well as bombs, and I now have more fleas than ever. I DON’T EVEN HAVE A CAT INDOORS! (I’m afraid that there is a rodent living very near—we’ve seen ‘possums and skunks—perhaps even under the front porch of this place, and that the fleas are coming in from a wild animal.

    Latest attempt: I just went and bought 3 boxes of 20 Mule Team and am in the process of sprinkling the stuff everywhere.  My question: has anyone actually tried this with success?  The more expensive stuff doesn’t even seem to touch them!

    Please reply if you can—we are going crazy!  I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before!

  13. Tara 15 years ago

    I’ve put down 20 Mule Team Borax (3 Boxes for a 2-bedroom apartment) just yesterday.  It’s still there- I will wait a few days until I vacuum, montitoring the pets carefully to make sure they aren’t rolling in it and licking themselves.  I’m going to get some Advantage or Revolution next (I, too, have given up on the Hartz stuff.  Luckily, it didn’t harm my dog or cat- it just didn’t work).  The light flea traps were working a little, catching a couple of them.  Every little bit helps in this war!  I’ve definitely learned- I will give my pets Advantage or Revolution faithfully from now on to prevent investations from occurring!  What a nightmare!

  14. Samantha Wright 14 years ago

    Just discovered my little Ragdoll scratching after a visit to grandparents while out of town.  Their Russian Blue is in and outdoor all day with a stray named Blacky.  Know how she contacted fleas but can’t believe how careful we were and then let our guard down.  Started with Frontline a few days ago and purchased a flea collar.  Decided not working fast enough b/c she sleeps with me so I stopped by Dr. Scott’s office, our vet.  His assistant told me to take the collar off…it is too much and Dr. Scott doesn’t recommend them due to allegeries and smell.  He also didn’t recommend flea dips but said give the Frontline at least a few days to start working and the fleas would start to die off as well as the larva and eggs.  Still hoping this is all it takes.  I’m worried that the fleas jumping off will continue to multiply in my rugs althought my reading tells me that Frontline is a poison that will kill the damn buggers.  Just wondering if anyone knows what will be a good product to put on screened in porch where my Bleu likes to roam during the day.  I know the fleas have to be out there now.  So far none jumping on me from the carpet so hopefully, we caught it early enough.  Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Respectfully,  Samantha Kaye

  15. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Samantha: Once you put the frontline on your kitty, she’ll become a roving flea killing machine! Ask your Vet about fleas…mine told me that just waiting actually was better than spreading poison all over the place. You can in the meantime do a lot of vacuuming and tossing the bags after every session far away from your house…that may help keep the egg problems to a minimum, but they’re pretty tenacious. I vacuumed a lot for 4 days while the frontline was starting to take effect, and then the problem was gone. In the interim, I also wore long pants to bed and socks, and applied some flea repellent on my skin during the day to keep them off me.

    Wash everything too, while you’re at it, especially places where your cat likes to sit or lie down on. I closed off several rooms to keep my cats from roaming too far, until the flea stuff kicked in.

    Good luck!

  16. Christine 14 years ago

    I have been in a wicked battle with fleas lately. I bombed this weekend, as well as took our cat for a flea dip. The flea dip was a big waste of $. Not only did my cat still have fleas when she came home, but then I noticed WORMS as well. Apparently they are caused by the cats eating fleas!
    I took her to the vet, and they gave her med for the worms. Also they gave her a pill called “Capstar” it starts to kill all the fleas on your pet after 30 min, and it works for 24 hours. IMO this is a wonder pill. It worked quite well, all the fleas were gone. You can buy a whole pack of it at 1800petmeds for only $20. (I paid $10 for the one pill, which was much cheaper and more effective than the flea bath. :p )
    We are still battling the fleas over here, and vacuuming 1-2X a day.
    Until the worms go away, our cat is living in the bathroom. (Although our 2 y.o. keeps trying to spring her from there.) I put frontline on her today. I feel like I’;ve tried almsot everything, and yet, we sill have fleas in the house.

  17. Linda 14 years ago

    For flea infestations when the animals go outside or stay outside use Program.  I used to raise cats and can’t tell you the problems I had.  Frontline and Advantage are only good if the cats remain indoors.  Program kills all the fleas in the neighborhood!!!! I thanked God!!!  If you have occasional raccoons in your area and perhaps even some other animals, leave wet cat food outdoors with liquid Program (a creamy liquid) added (I use the large cat size) and all animals in the neighborhood become flea killing machines…it is unbelievable how long this lasts.  I didn’t have to retreat outside cats for two years, and then only needed to treat them one or two months.  The actual fleas on cats turn black eventually and move much slower and fall off and since they have been affected they no longer bite after a couple weeks or so… even if you do not remove the fleas.  Eggs will not hatch.  No more fleas until new animals introduced into the area come with fleas again!!  So keep Program on hand.

  18. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Linda: Cool! I didn’t know that! Thanks for the tip with treating outside animals.

  19. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Christine: Good luck with your flea battle! It sounds awful. Hope the Frontline works!

  20. Primedeath 14 years ago

    Wow, perfect site… I am having a flea problem at the moment… I wondered where all the red bumps on my ankles were coming from for awhile until I saw a few fleas… then many.

    Thanks for all the tips. Going to get started on it soon, and atleast I have a bagless vacuum so I don’t have to waste money on all the tossed out bags.

  21. dianne sproul 14 years ago

    we waited a little too late this spring to treat our indoor/outdoor cats and now we have a flea nursery in the basement where they slept at night. We have sprayed repeatedly, bombed twice and will do more, have just sprinkled two boxes of Borax upstairs on carpet as sort of a preventive measure. I’m glad to know that other people have gotten rid of them. We have never had them in the house before…&%&%)&^(&)WGAD&r@jDB:!!!!

  22. kristina 14 years ago

    all these comments really do not compare to my problem i dont just see a couple of fleas they cover my whole body thousands and thousands of them i have tried bombs and more bombs bleach and other things i thought would kill them i am currently living with my mother with my 4 children which is the biggest inconvienience to us and her while i pay rent and utilities for these nasty fleas to live in our home please help me i really need someone to actually tell me something that actually does work i dont have the money (200.00) dollars to call an exterminator i have already spent too much money on bombs please help me please

  23. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Once they are in your bedding, clothing, and carpet, it’s tough to get rid of them. Bombs pretty much don’t work, because they can’t reach the places where the eggs are. You will have to take pretty extreme measures to root them out at this point, even if you did hire an exterminator. I’m sorry to say that you probably don’t have any easy ways to get rid of them now except by moving everyone out of the house, then cleaning, vacuuming, and washing EVERYTHING in a meticulous fashion room by room…even then, nothing is guaranteed. I was lucky that I caught mine early enough, and could use the cats themselves as a killing agent.

  24. Dina 14 years ago

    PATIENCE & Frontline is working…

    When my cat started scratching and we found fleas crawling on him, he was already infested and so was the house. So preventing fleas was too late. The vet put Frontline on him and i waited 2 days and gave him a bath. A week later, i was still finding fleas around the house and on him. The vet said to put it on again. Well, apparently, i put it on too low and my cat turned around to see what was going on and took a big LICK where I just put it on. NO! Talk about being scared, he then started running around the house, shaking his paws and a surge of saliva came dripping out his mouth. I thought I had poisened my cat. I immediately called the vet and he reassured me, he’ll be okay. That Frontline is safe it just has a bad taste. After about 5-6 minutes, he was fine. but, he licked all the frontline off. So, I added just a little bit more higher on his neck so he couldn’t lick it off. (according to the vet) 2 weeks it worked. and then i started to see them again, same thing all over. Doc said it would be okay to put it on him again. Side note: I have also used sprays and vacuum while all this is going on. I will not put any more on him though I don’t want to hurt my kitty. I called Frontline’s hotline, the lady told me the reason I’m still seeing fleas two weeks after is because those were the eggs hatching. My cat will act as an exterminator, once the fleas are in contact with him, they will be killed 3-18 hours. I did find some dead fleas as well as live ones. The entire flea removal process from the home and my precious kitty will take around 3 months. three treatments. The fleas are being killed off. So, even though, once you treat your cat you’re still seeing fleas, 2 weeks or prior, they ARE DIEING! It will just take time. Well, that’s what i’m hoping. I bought a flea comb, and i comb my cat once a day and haven’t seen any yet but who knows when the next cycle will start. I will have to endure this for another 2 months. I will be back to let everyone know of my hell. Thanks

  25. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Dina: THANKS FOR THE REPORT! I think my bout of fleas lasted about 3 months as well, but I didn’t think of timing the entire period from first detection to the point where they were gone.

    I did a LOT of vacuuming the first month. I’m wondering if some of what helped was isolating parts of the house early on from the cats, once I realized I had fleas, and this may have prevented the infestation from setting in too deeply and laying too many eggs.

  26. jackie 14 years ago

    This site has been VERY informative. I just noticed a flea on my dog 2 days ago. I gave her a “flea bath” right away (at 11 p.m.no less). And then I vacuumed like a madwoman!I called the vet the next day who immediately sold me 6 bombs (2 for each floor of the house including basement)and Frontline to treat 2 dogs and 3 cats!! (only one dog, no cats came up positive with fleas!!) The total cost being over $225!! But at this point, I’d do anything to rid my house of these pests. I have read in a few different flea sites about the use of 20 mule team borax. Would you suggest I use this even after I’ve bombed? The flea culprit is only in the living room/kitchen area of the house. But because the cats come to visit her, the vet said I must treat ALL!! Any suggestions of anything else I should do (or wait patiently) would be appreciated!!

  27. Nancy 14 years ago

    These fleas are driving me crazy.  I had a cat and forgot all about the cat getting fleas.  The first week of August I noticed a bite on my foot.  Then a week later, another bite.  Then all of a sudden I had them all over, and I’m still getting them.  I’ve tried sprays, dimataceous earth, flea collars, the stuff u put on the back of kitty’s neck, vacuuming, the cake dish and candle deal, steam cleaning etc.  They just don’t seem to go away.  BUT do fleas live in boxsprings?  My friend moved out a few weeks ago, but decided not to take her bed but left for someone to pick up.  It’s still there.  I’ve vacuumed the basement, bleached the basement, put the diamataceous earth down there and sprayed relentlessly.  Is the boxspring where the fleas are living? possibly?  Does the cold make the fleas die?

    I hope so, I will need much aloe vera to get rid of the scars on my ankles from the bites.

  28. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    The bombs don’t really seem to do much good I’ve found, because they don’t hit the flea EGGS that are laid (hundreds are laid for every live flea, which then gestates in a few days and lays MORE eggs!) The borax is kind of a pain in the butt…I applied it to rooms where I could close things down, and let it sit for a few days. I’m not sure really how effective it is.

    Putting the frontline on the dogs and cats seems to be the best bet, especially early on. You probably need to put some bug spray on YOURSELF too. I wore long shiny track pants and socks constantly in the house while I was treating the fleas. I also isolated one room completely for sleeping after treating it, and didn’t let any pets into it. I kept a few flea lamps going there also, to get the scragglers. The vet told me that the fleas mostly go after the pets, but they’ll take a bite out of a person too. Starve ‘em!

    I don’t know if fleas can live in a boxspring, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The bedding is more likely. Don’t forget to THROW OUT THE TRASH BAGS outside of your house after you vacuum, and also to wash all your bedding. ALL OF IT. You might want to bag it up in trash bags too (that’s what I did) afterwards.

  29. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    The fleas go away when it gets cold, yes. Hooray!

  30. cindy 14 years ago

    Boy does this bring back memories.  It was 4 years ago that we had a horrible out break.  Our four kitties had the little buggers all over them.  It didn’t take long for all family members to get what we call fleabitis (we were being eaten alive). The bombs, after wasting much money on them, we discovered are no longer as strong as they used to be, because of new laws.  They have to leave a key ingredient (I can’t remember exactly what) out, so the formula is different.  Years ago, when we would come home after the “bombing”, there would be flies, spiders, all kinds of death, laying every where.  this time (it’s been many years since we needed to do this), I didn’t see one thing dead, just the dusty mess. I then researched and found out why.  So we did the whole website search thing, desperately looking for answers. The first thing we did was got frontline plus. It was a tough year financially, and with four cats @ $10. each a month, we decided to skip the treatment when spring came, big mistake.  Why is it that you can’t afford the preventative, but somehow always manage to afford the cure? Well, we won’t make that mistake again. Anyway, the house was so bad, that we couldn’t even enjoy being home. It was the first year I looked forward to winter, I dreamed of opening my windows and freezeing the little suckers out. First we did the vacuuming thing. Twice a day, and then shampooing. We had a bagless vacuum, so I bought a roll of little garbage bags, that are made for the little garbages. I would run outside with the bag and vacuum right after I finished and do the dumping in the bag outside.  I would sprinkle flea powder on the carpet before I vacuumed. It was a pain in the butt, and we still had so many fleas.  We even noticed some in our car, so we had to treat our car. We wore pants and socks every where and we dreaded getting up during the night to go pee.  We would have to turn on the light to pluck all the fleas off of our legs and feet before we got under the covers.  Well, finally we did the borax thing.  I bought 5 boxes of the stuff. The cats were kept outside at this point with there frontline plus, they all are now flealess.  We put the borax everywhere. Even on our hardwood and bathroom floors. We only have one carpeted room, the rest are hardfloors, so I always thought we were safe. We left the borax down for over a week.  It was like heaven. I will walk on borax over fleas any day. Even though we had a sandy feeling on our socked feet, we seen no fleas. Our bites were starting to heal.  We Still vacuumed the furniture everyday, and washed our sheets daily, but we seen a light at the end of the tunnel.  After like a week and a half, we vacuumed up the borax (apparently the borax dehydrated the little critters).  We were flea free.  We let the kitties back in, and we lived happily ever after.  We will never again, not afford to get frontline plus, and we now have 4 cats and a dog. It’s not worth losing the use of your home and sanity. I do buy the frontline plus on ebay though, it’s much cheaper.  Good luck to all.

  31. KIm 14 years ago

    I too, beset by fleas…which is great fun when you have 3 cats, a dog and a ferret rescue. I’m going to pepper the yard with the dimataceous (sp) earth and just hit everyone with advantage.only advantage and revolution are safe for ferrets by the way. AND I concur NEVER EVER EVER BUY /USE HARTZ PRODUCTS!!!!! Happy scratching.
    Kim @ Somethin Up My Sleeve Ferret Rescue

  32. Paula 11 years ago

    I am so happy I found this site.  We rescued a stray only 3 weeks ago.  Before we brought her in our house she was treated with Advantage and kept out in the barn for 12 hours.  I didn’t notice any fleas at all until yesterday.  My animals are all faithfully treated with advantage year round even though none of them go outside.  My neice who lives next door has been battling fleas for 3 years and strangely enough we have never had them.  I suppose it has something to do with the advantage.

    Anyway I am super sensitive to flea bites.  I am managing the clean up process but now that my cats and rabbit have been redosed with the advantage the fleas are literally eating me alive.  I took a bath and almost threw up when I got out.  There were at least 5 or 6 dead fleas in the water.  I am guessing they must have been in my hair.  I am now sitting in my office covered in skin-so-soft hoping they will stay away.  I have tried to put socks on to cover my feet and they are jumping right through them and biting so fast that I can’t get to them without ripping the socks off.  I am so desperate I am ready to put the advantage on myself.  Of course that wouldn’t work but it would sure be nice.

    Besides long pants and socks does anyone have any idea how I can get them to stop biting me?  I already take a B vitamin.  I don’t think I could stomach garlic.  I can’t figure out why they find me so tasty.

    Thanks

  33. jackie 11 years ago

    i noticed my 2 cats were scratching and upon inspection saw quite a bit of flea dirts and disgusting fleas crawling under their fur. i immediately bathed them and submerged them and combed them til i thought they were all gone. ive read that for every flea you find on your pet there are 100 in your house. i really hope this isnt true. since finding them on the cats ive found 10-15 in my apartment. i never thought indoor cats could get fleas, and am so grossed out thinking of the hundreds of eggs and larvae. i tried raid sprays, indoor insect killer, 20 mule team borax, vacuuming and am at the point of bombing but i live in a house and do not want to have to tell the other tenants about our little issue. any good advice on the next steps i should take?

  34. Randall Flagg 10 years ago

    I had a couple of really bad infestations several years ago from my cocker spaniel, and they were amazingly hard to get rid of.  One thing that did work in reducing the grown fleas were these traps that glow in the dark.  As for the eggs and larvae, it took a lot of vacuuming and detailed cleaning, and also cutting off the clean rooms to the dog to prevent re infestation which was a real pain.

    Anyways, after a lot of vacuuming everything, we got rid of them.

  35. Joan 10 years ago

    Where do you buy the plug in flea traps with lights?

  36. Sally 5 years ago

    Oh, my God. I have just found this site and it has really put the wind up me. Three months ago i had some workmen refuse to go into my basement because in had an infestation of fleas! I couldn’t believe it, and felt very embarrassed. Since that time I have had two lots of exterminations, and have put Advantage on both my cats. One of my cats is very difficult to catch. The problem now is that I think my cat has flea dirt. I shall check that out like one of your readers said, then it’s back to the Borax. I let both cats sleep on the bed, but am now seeing how stupid this is. Wish me luck.

  37. Mona 5 years ago

    Thanks for this website–I am encouraged to fight back! Even though the posts are from years ago, fleas remain troubling pests in 2015. In fact, it may even be worse now for those of us in California, where we are facing an unprecedented drought. We didn’t have much of a winter to kill off these horrible bugs, so now they are everywhere, even outdoors, which is where I think ours originated. (I probably brought one in after working in the backyard for several hours…I heard nematodes help outside) I have 3 indoor cats who have been Advantaged regularly and have never had a problem like this. I am starting to wonder if these bugs have become immune and am wondering if I need to switch to Revolution or Capstar. I haven’t actually SEEN any fleas yet, but my body is a war zone, and I have all the scars to prove they have invaded. They aren’t bothering other family members or 2 of the cats, but I do see one scratching occasionally. However, I am their primary target, and I live in constant dread and paranoia of more bites as they make me itch like crazy. I wear leggings ALL the time, not just for protection against more bites but because I have so many hideous scars and red “pin holes” on my legs. I am tired of wearing all these layers, but I have no other choice. Summer is approaching, but I won’t dare wear shorts! I haven’t tried the soapy water trap yet, but we may end up disposing of our bed because that’s where I seem to get bitten. (I am sure the bites are from fleas, not bed bugs) No surprise as I used to let the kitties sleep w me all the time. Until we get a new mattress, I vacuum everywhere constantly and spray our room with lavender essential oil and Orange Air Therapy from Trader Joe’s before I go to sleep as I heard they are good repellents. I even use lavender body wash! And they do seem to work. I will try the borax thing tomorrow. I’m also going to Advantage the cats at 3 weeks, instead of 4 for a short time. I would really like to avoid pesticides just because of the chemicals, but I may need to resort to a professional exterminator if I can’t get this under control. If anyone has additional ideas (burning down the house is not an option, though I sometimes wonder if that’s the only thing that will work!) please post!

  38. Author
    Dave Seah 5 years ago

    Mona: Wow, that sucks! You might rethink whether you have bedbugs if no one else is getting bitten. I had them once. You don’t usually see them crawling around, but during the day you can pull the mattress and also check the box spring. Look for black spots in the corners and between the seams in the mattress…they hide in them! Spread anything that looks like a crease or a seam open by hand and look with a light. Check pillows too! If you see any signs of them, you probably need to toss the mattress or box spring. Since you’re in California and get a lot of sun, you can put a lot of your bedding in black trash bags and let them back in the full sun for the day to kill bedbugs (or so I’m told; we don’t get a lot of sun here in New Hampshire). For everything else, using a good steamer will kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs.

  39. Jennifer Thompson 5 years ago

    Hi everyone, I’m so grateful to have come across this site and read your experiences. I am in the midst of the war on fleas, and it is wearing me out, but I will carry on. My cat Amy, and indoor-only, only cat living in a second floor apartment, got a severe case that made her anemic. Last weekend she had to have a blood transfusion. Come to find out, she has leukemia. Whether the fleas or the leukemia caused the anemia is a mystery, but I cannot let her get fleas like that again. I have a friend who is an exterminator, and he suggested a treatment for my apartment that I haven’t read anywhere else, so I’d like to share it. I am also using Advantage. I gave her Revolution when I first noticed her scratching, but the vet is convinced it must have been a bunk dose (maddening). She also got two Capstar treatments at the emergency vet. That stuff is crazy, but it only treats the live fleas on the pet. So here’s what I’m doing at home per my exterminator friend: I purchased isopropyl alcohol and a garden sprayer, and went to town on my apartment. Anything that would go into the wash (slipcover, bedding, towels, clothes, shoes, etc) did, on hot, and still does. I threw away my pillows and some blankets she likes (mean, I know, but I was freaked out) and replaced them. I sprayed everything with the alcohol. Everything. Be sure to allow for some air flow when you do this, and don’t light a candle or spray things like the toaster. It was overwhelming, but so are fleas. I also did this while Amy was getting her transfusion, so she was not in the apartment. Then vacuum, and so exactly what was mentioned in the blog post above–every other day I vacuum and strip the bed. Like I said, all clothes and towels go directly into the wash. I hope this works! I appreciate how you said the Advantage turns the cat into a weapon. That’s a good way to look at it, as this has taken a toll on my sanity and for some reason that helped. It’s been 6 days, so we will see. Just wanted to post the alcohol tip in case it might help someone else. I’ll update as the battle continues. Thank you.