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Fleas found: please can someone give me a step by step plan of action?

(75 Posts)
batteredlanger Sun 14-Jun-15 08:08:05

Hello! DH is freaking out, I'm hanging in there! But I've been googling flea infestations and I'm not quite sure where to start, what order to do things in, what I can do NOW, what has to happen next iyswim. We have one very outdoorsy cat who comes in to sleep during the day. He has been recently treated but I probably left it too long between treatments.
I'm a bit daunted by what I have read about getting rid of fleas as we have 3 kids aged 5,3 and 1 do can't leave salt sll over the carpets for ages etc. we have loads of stuff crammed into a top small house..I don't have a tumble drier so am I going to have to take Everything for s service wash? It will literally cost over s hundred pounds I'm sure and we are already struggling with the bills! And do we need to throw all the mattresses away? I'm just s but stressed as its hard to keep on top of day to day chores with two small kids at home all day. So the epic cleaning snd hoovering we'lol need to do for the fleas is daunting. Can anyone tell me where to start and what order to proceed? sad

batteredlanger Sun 14-Jun-15 08:09:01

Too small house

BikeRunSki Sun 14-Jun-15 08:12:51

Get a man in. It cost us £65 for a three bed house a couple of years ago. I was of and the stuff used was safe for me and 2 yo DS. Don't waste time and money on stuff from pet shop/vet.

What I was waiting I Hooveredthe carpets and mattresses.

Good luck

fleamadonna Sun 14-Jun-15 08:13:14

this is maybe not what you want to hear but my household accepts fleas as an inevitable part of cohabiting with animals.

they can't actually live on a human host, only animal. I would treat the cats and the problem will more or less right itself. they won't last long on soft furnishings.

definitely don't freak out. they're annoying but this is 2015. they're not carrying the plague!

Pinkandpurplehairedlady Sun 14-Jun-15 08:13:15

Wash all the bedding and spray Indorex everywhere. It should get rid of them.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Sun 14-Jun-15 08:22:04

They do last a long time on soft furnishings. The eggs can last ages. I've had an outbreak in the place the cat sleeps, even though there are no fleas on the cat before now.

Work methodically:
1. Treat cat with REAL flea stuff from the vet, none of this Bob Martin shite or flea collars.
2. Get a decent flea spray for the house, again ask the vet for a recommendation.
3. Hoover everywhere and wash anything that needs washing. Pay special attention to anywhere the cat sleeps, e.g. sofas.
4. Spray the house with the flea spray as per instructions
5. Repeat next week. It's like getting rid of nits.
6. Keep the cat protected against fleas, prevention better than cure.

No need for spending loads on service washes, they are only fleas. The washing machine and line drying is fine.

Skeppers Sun 14-Jun-15 08:30:55

fleamadonna I'm with you. Our cat is an outdoors cat. We used to spend a small fortune on spot-on treatments from the vet, flea collars, bug bombs, etc. all which seemed to solve the problem...only for the dirty bugger to bring them back in a few weeks later! It was costing us so much money we gave up fighting in the end. We occasionally see a flea; neither DH or I have ever been bitten. It's not nice, but I'm not prepared to keep the cat indoors all the time; it's not fair on him.

batteredlanger Sun 14-Jun-15 08:42:52

We seem to have a lot of them in our room . DH ankles have been bitten a lot in the last week or so but we thought it was a heat rash. We have to do something about it. I don't want the kids covered in flea bites. They have a few bites which I just thought were midge bites from the garden but I'm guessing must be fleas. I'm a bit blush about it too.

ragged Sun 14-Jun-15 09:03:03

What I would do:
vacuum everywhere every day for 2 weeks and every other day vacuuming after that.
Keep cat treatments up to date, and you need treatment that is both insecticide and "household control".
Wait 3 weeks.
ime, that would be enough to sort it.
I am super sensitive to flea bits, btw, big itchy swellings that last a week.

How bad is the flea evidence you've seen?

Were they teeny tiny ones (just hatched, should die soon as they bite the cat) or fat juice feckers (have been living nicely on cat for weeks)?

How much flea dirt is on the cat (feels gritty when you pet cat or easy to see black bits on a white cat)?

Who all in your house is sensitive to bites? (some people don't react at all)

PeaceOfWildThings Sun 14-Jun-15 09:15:36

But flea treatment for the cat, powder insecticide for the carpets and smokers for each room.

One person takes DCs out for the day.
Strip beds. Put what can't be washed (soft toys) in the freezer overnight.

PPut insecticide powder down on carpets.

Wash what you can. The rest, put in a tent in the garden.

Use anti flea smokers in all the relevant rooms.

Leave it the suggested amount of time (leave the house yourself and lock the cat out). We then stayed the night in the tent. Then just you go back in and vacuum. Wash things in the tent as you can, or put in freezer overnight.

batteredlanger Sun 14-Jun-15 09:39:45

Thank you . I'm very reluctant to use insecticides at all as I'm sure residues would remain . What about mattresses? And also do I have to take all the bed linen, blankets, spare duvets, pillows, clothes in storage etc out of the airing cupboard and treat or wash them as well? It's a heck of a lot to wash along with the stuff currently in use.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 14-Jun-15 09:48:03

Id treat the cat with Advocate off the vet then indorex the house (asda pharmacy sell it cheaper than my vets).

You dont need to throw anything away.

Spray the airing cupboard and shut the door.

If you ask the vets for a private prescription for advocate you can buy six months supply online much cheaper than the vets sell it but youll need something to take home to put on him.

ragged Sun 14-Jun-15 12:11:16

I've never sprayed mattresses or hot-washed linen.
I did Indorex all carpets in whole house 2.5 yrs ago plus some of the sofa crevices & not really sure it made a difference.

If you do spray house, you need to get as much stuff as possible off floor so you can spray floor under mattresses, for instance. After spraying you need to Not Vacuum for at least 3-4 days so the poison can settle. Then only vacuum once a week for a month. (All this advice from a few pesticide treatment companies).

If you don't spray then vacuuming daily is a must until the problem seems under control.

Childhood friend used to get epileptic fits from flea bites. We grew up in warm climate where flea infestation was pretty normal. She is now a vet & has 4 cats Her main advice is to keep floors very clean & keep up to date on the best anti-parasite drops for cat. She hasn't said a word about spraying.

batteredlanger Sun 14-Jun-15 13:01:40

Ok thank you this is very very helpful. New Hoover bags bought so the big clean is starting now!

Pixa Sun 14-Jun-15 13:03:41

Treat cat and get an exterminator in.

Stinkersmum Sun 14-Jun-15 13:06:19

Don't panic. Wash all your bedding, spray everywhere in your house with indorex, buy some flea drops from the vets - anything over the counter/not via prescription is useless and/or dangerous. And vacuum. Every day. It's the best prevention. There is absolutely no need to bin/burn anything.

unlucky83 Sun 14-Jun-15 17:39:02

Don't panic! Some research showed that vacuuming collects 90+% of adult fleas - so lots of hoovering - daily at first.
Flea life cycle - similar to a butterfly!
Adult fleas live on cat and lay eggs -which are designed to fall off cat along with flea dirt (black specs -flea poo which is dried blood). Eggs hatch into larva which eat flea dirt that has fallen off at the same time..eventually they pupate and develop into adult fleas and then can hang around for up to 2 years (apparently) until they are disturbed (vibration/movement and Carbon dioxide from breathing out). When they emerge from the pupae as adults and look for a host/feed.
So the regular hoovering encourages them to emerge (vibration). the hoover attracts them. It also collects any eggs and flea dirt and larvae. Pupae are more resilient cos they attach themselves to something.
Make sure you do the areas where your cat hangs out most thoroughly and under eg window sills (if they jump up) and door mats. But doing it daily is more important that into every crack and crevice.
I was going to get a flea attractor/trap until I realised I had one with four legs and fur that was going to all the most likely places the fleas would be!
Treat cat, regular flea combing - daily at first - with a long tooth metallic flea comb (not the ones that look like plastic nit combs -they are crap) drop any fleas found into boiling water with lots of washing up liquid in. Combing also will also disturb eggs and flea dirt. So you need to hoover up the grooming area well. Don't worry about getting every flea, every time as you will get it the next time!
Pesticide treatment - don't use Frontline! - reason I had a serious infestation - it worked for 18 months plus and then just stopped and I didn't realise for ages until cat and house were well and truly infested.
Don't bother with over the counter/flea collars - get the vet's help. (I gave up as at the time they were insisting that Frontline would work - I was doing it wrong, even put it on for me -although now apparently vets do admit fleas have become resistant to it). So I got Johnsons 4fleas tablets - they kill all the fleas that are on the cat at the time - I gave her the tablet and then combed her 10 mins later - it makes the fleas twitch when they are dying - irritates and causes the cat distress -and they are easy to get with a comb cos they don't jump out the way.
I didn't spray cos I had small children but also I found fleas in places I would never have sprayed. The worst was a plastic box of baby toys I had put under the window in my bedroom waiting to be sorted - after a week I put a lid on it. About 6 month - 1yr later I got round to sorting it out. I saw a flea jump and then noticed there were about 15 jumping around - yuk - and by then the cat was pretty clear!
I don't use any pesticides on the cat now - I comb her once a week and hoover the whole house once a week and touch wood we are still flea free....
Oh and make sure you worm your cat - as they can get tapeworms from eating infected fleas when they are grooming.

ApostropheS Mon 15-Jun-15 09:54:03

You may want to google Advocate before you use it - it made one of our cats very ill. Groom the cat outside if possible. I agree with other posters you don't need to wash all your stored bed linen etc.

unlucky83 Mon 15-Jun-15 11:15:24

Sorry Apostrophes - I disagree ...I wouldn't groom outside if your cat can go outside...fleas can live outside too in the summer (and apparently they can survive to quite cold temperatures outside as pupae - winter doesn't necessarily kill them -they just kind of hibernate).
I am pretty sure we had them outside - I would flea comb cat thoroughly just before she went out and then when she came back and found a couple of immature fleas...another reason why just spraying inside might not be enough.

batteredlanger Mon 15-Jun-15 12:12:25

Thank you all for this input! We barely slept last night as we had put all our duvets outside in plastic bags ready for a service wash. Lots of sheets and all the laundry from our overflowing basket out in a pop up tent as suggested by pp. soft toys and cushions and pillows out there too. Now that we are looking we can see fleas everywhere, and gave seen the revolting larvae in my kids' room toosadblush. I took kids out yesterday and DH did a thorough job in the house, moving furniture to vacuum and vacuuming mattresses etc. he was feeling a bit better about it having done sterling hours of vacuuming etc but when we went to bed there they were. We set up a flea trap of s torch hanging over a dish of soapy water and inthe morning there were about 20 fleas in it. Yuck. We both feel so ashamed that we let it get this far. And indeed didn't even notice until it ws this bad. My poor kids live g in flea infested rooms! I feel like it's a parenting fail. Call SS. sad although I have been treating the cat with spot on I will admit to not vacuuming as often as I should and definitly not moving furniture to get to the crevices.
So. This morning I have vacuumed again and put loads of salt down, although I'm a bit worried about DD19months around so much salt. I have ordered indorex. The laundry and duvets etc are either outside waiting to be washed or outside waiting to be taken for a service wash tomorrow- not open today. The cat has been booked into see the vet tomorrow as they wont give me the strong stuff without seeing him. He is banished from the house for the time being and looks a bit pissed off but as he's mainly an outdoor cat he can deal with it for another day.
Is this enough for now? Gonna Hoover up the salt when the Indorex arrives and be a better cleaner in the future. I wouldn't mind sharing the house with the odd flea but this is definitely sn infestation: there were little blood spots in ds1s bed although he hadn't any visible bites .,... sigh. This is not what I needed right now!

fleamadonna Mon 15-Jun-15 13:20:29

you sound extremely anxious and stressed about this but I really think you need to take a moment to get a little perspective.

this is no reflection on your parenting, or your ability to keep your house in a liveable condition. fleas happen. they are a nuisance but ultimately not harmful.

they survive in the Hoover so change the bag. if the problem persists there is a product that I will try to recall the name of that can be sprinkled on the carpets and is perfectly safe for people and animals.

remember you are not a host. the fleas can not reproduce on you, your husband or your children. treating the animals will deprive them of the ability to breed.

unlucky83 Mon 15-Jun-15 13:21:31

battered just keep up the hoovering -daily now -twice daily maybe and like I said better to do it and not do the crevices than not do it cos you haven't got the time to do a thorough job!
And don't worry too much about under things unless eggs could have dropped off the cat there - eg behind chest of drawers units. You are at the worst point now - it is going to start getting better really quickly -honest.
And I was exactly the same - the horror, the shame!
Worse cos the vet kept telling me frontline would work - the receptionist even told me I was only getting them with a flea comb because they were dying - you'd never catch a healthy flea with a comb! hmm First time I combed the cat - after I'd noticed she was scratching- I found 30 fleas. I've taken in strays in the past (with fleas) and never seen that many on one cat. Poor cat, poor us. And then I noticed them everywhere.
Before frontline she had a collar and I used to comb her monthly to make sure it was still working - I would now never depend on any treatment no matter how fantastic it seemed.
And I remember DD2 (12 months maybe) was wearing a teddy bear all in one suit lying on the floor and I saw a flea on it sadsadsad.

unlucky83 Mon 15-Jun-15 13:25:09

You can also put a piece of flea collar/hoover some flea powder up and it should deal with them in the hoover bag. The larvae (and therefore eggs) can't survive in the hoover - they dessicate in the dust - but the adults can.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Mon 15-Jun-15 13:42:06

I feel very sorry for your cat being banished. That's not fair at all. sad

They are only fleas.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 15-Jun-15 13:56:26

Last time ours had fleas I picked them off with my fingers and went back to sleep with the cat on the bed.

I think you're over reacting a bit.

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