help!! when to spray for fleas? - Mothering Forums
Pets > help!! when to spray for fleas?
lalazap's Avatar lalazap 11:57 AM 08-13-2012

I have a 4 month old baby and we live in a small 3 bedroom townhouse with 90% carpeted floors with our 12 year old cat.


Two weeks ago we found a flea on the baby's head and when I combed out the cat I got tons of fleas off of her coat - like 2 dozen. Ugh. Treated her that day with Advantage 18 (flea adulticide, not the one that gets them earlier in the life cycle too - we don't seem to have that in Canada). We found some larvae in our bed, and some cocoons in the sofa bed - quadruple ugh.


For the next 5 days we vacuumed the entire house once a day, boraxed the corners of the carpet, and washed everything on hot once and then ran all the bedding through the dryer for 30 minutes every day. Combed the cat out every day and got fewer and fewer adults off of her, maybe 3 or 4 slow ones a day.


We left on vacation for 9 days, before which we boraxed the entire house and sprayed a couple of key spots with carpet flea spray from Zodiac. The cat went to a friend's place for the time we were away. So really she was only around with her Advantage for 5 days before we left town.


We came home yesterday and went to vacuum up the loose borax before bringing the baby or cat in. We saw about 2 dozen live adults while vacuuming. It completely freaked us out and we finished vacuuming, sprayed the hotspots again and turned around with our bags still packed and spent the night at a hotel last night. I am still here with the baby but have to check out soon.


Am freaking out about my next steps here. My DP wants to call an exterminator which makes me feel sick to think about because of the baby. But the vacuuming is incredibly labour intensive with trying to take care of the baby all day and I have no idea if it's making any difference.


I suspect we just haven't been able to give the Advantage enough time to work through the life cycles with everyone including the cat being gone for most of the time since we discovered the problem. But am feeling pretty insane and wondering if we should just bite the bullet and spray.


Has anyone worked through a flea issue like this? At what point would you get the place professionally sprayed? Does anyone know how long the exterminator stuff stays toxic for? I called a company and they said 4-6 hours but that seems crazy. Please help and tell me what you would do. I am losing it over here.

womenswisdom's Avatar womenswisdom 07:06 PM 08-13-2012
Early flea life stages will remain dormant until a host is nearby. They detect heat, vibration and CO2 and then "activate". The only way to really get rid of fleas, IME, it to treat all pet in the household with a product like Advantage for 3-4 months in a row. That allows enough time for all the flea eggs in the environment to hatch, jump on the pet and be killed. The pet acts sort of like "flea bait". You haven't given it enough time yet, but you will start to see a marked decrease after a couple of weeks. (I have worked in a cat-only vet hospital for the past 10+ years, so have seen LOTS of flea issues, just so you know what my knowledge base is.)
leafylady's Avatar leafylady 07:19 PM 08-13-2012
We used the Fleabusters powder for our house, plus a flea treatment for the dogs, one of the chewables rather than Advantage or Frontline.

The Fleabusters powder is borax based I believe.
leafylady's Avatar leafylady 07:19 PM 08-13-2012
I still wouldn't want a baby or kid eating the powder, but I think it's safer than the spray, and more effective long term.
lalazap's Avatar lalazap 11:12 PM 08-13-2012
Thanks for the replies! I needed to lay it all out and remember that it hasn't been very long at all that the cat has been treated. I'm glad to hear that Advantage does really work eventually.
It's so slow going and tedious though and its hard to keep the faith! We are considering hiring someone to vacuum a couple of times a week so that its not the entire focus of our lives every single day.

I had looked at the fleabusters stuff but it didn't seem easy to get in Canada, and it seemed to be similar to the borax carpet treatment which we did before we left. I re-researched today and remembered that the borax in the carpet is for injuring the larvae as they hatch from the eggs, so am feeling less freaked out about the live adults we saw yesterday. It makes sense that there would be some around from before we went away. Now hopefully our vacuuming has removed a bunch of the eggs and larvae and cocoons from the environment and woken up the cocoons just in time for our kitty to come home tomorrow. She will be freshly Advantaged and ready to kill.

Wish me luck!

Mom31's Avatar Mom31 02:03 PM 09-01-2012


read this and then click on flea control