Fleas are tiny, dark-colored parasites that feed off the blood of birds and mammals. In addition to making your pets miserable and itchy, fleas can also transmit diseases and parasites, and every precaution should be taken to protect your home, yard, and animals from these and other annoying pests. While there are several widely available commercial sprays and applications for flea prevention and control, you may want to try a homemade flea spray first as many can be quite effective without the use of harsh chemicals. Here is a list of home remedies to use both indoors and outdoors, using common or easy-to-find ingredients.
Lemon Infusion Spray
Lemon is a natural repellant for fleas and can be used safely on most fabrics. To make the spray, bring two cups of water to a boil and add two thinly sliced lemons, leaving the rinds intact. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, remove from heat, and allow it to sit overnight. Strain the liquid into a spray bottle and add a splash of vinegar. Shake before use and apply a fine mist of your homemade flea spray to pet bedding, furniture, and carpets, testing an inconspicuous area to ensure fabrics are colorfast.
Finely ground table or sea salt can be used on carpets to effectively dry out and kill fleas and eggs, however, this solution should not be used in high-humidity due to salt clumping and adhering. For best results spread a thin layer of salt over the infected area and gently work it into the fibers. Allow it to sit in the carpet overnight while limiting traffic to the area, and vacuum after 24 hours.
Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worms which are harmless to humans, pets, plants, and the environment. They feed on the larvae of fleas and other harmful pests such as grubs or termites and can be purchased at many home improvement stores or your local nursery. Mix with water according to the package directions and spray in shady areas to help control fleas.
Diatomaceous earth can be used as a drying agent to treat flea infestations around your home and property. Use a food grade quality product which is non-toxic to humans and pets, but be sure to protect eyes, skin, and lungs while applying as this fine powder may cause irritation when airborne. Since moisture renders this material ineffective be sure to apply to dry areas only, where there is high flea activity.
Fleas are naturally repelled by the smell of cedar, making it an effective homemade flea killer for yard applications. Spread cedar chips around the perimeter of your yard and in areas where you have detected fleas for best results.
Many plants contain oils, odors, or compounds which are undesirable to fleas and can help to repel them from your environment. By strategically placing these plants around your home and property you can help to reduce or eliminate the flea population as they move on to more inviting surroundings. Our list of plants includes:
By placing flea and other insect-repelling plants, flowers, or herbs around your patio, entryways, windows, and areas where your pets tend to lay or wander, you can help to keep fleas, mosquitoes, and other pests away from your home and garden. Reducing weeds in the lawn will also help with flea control. Contact your local The Grounds Guys for help with your landscaping and lawn care needs!