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Gah! Cleaner has been bitten and has told me that she thinks it's fleas and that they are in MY house! Mortified, repelled and I need your help!

(19 Posts)
SausageRocket Thu 08-Oct-09 17:55:12

Got home from work to a note on the kitchen table from cleaner saying that she thought she ought to mention that she got 'bitten' last week and has again today. She delicately suggested that it could be coming from here shock.


Massively embarrassed.

We have 2 cats, neither of them have shown signs of fleas and their coats are beautiful (no scratching/bald, mangy patches) and none of us (family of 5) have been bitten. I'm not the sort of nutter who is about to suggest that my cats CAN'T possibly have the fleas and she must be mistaking it, so obviously I want to take action.

Admittedly the cats are overdue a de-flea (last done 3 months ago blush, I know, I know life ran away with me) so I've done that (Frontline spot on).

I'm concerned that they may be in the house so I want to get them out!

I'm assuming a fierce hoovering of all carpets, stripping of beds, hot washing of bedding and towels, hoovering mattresses and the one fabric sofa in the house and then changing the hoover bags is going to rid me of my suspected plague. Am I right or is there something I've forgotten / something that will make my job easier (mucho carpet and 6 big beds to change, wash and hoover) ?

I am sooooooooooo embarrassed by this and have profusely apologised to cleaner. God, I want to shrivel up.

Also, I have guinea pigs, do they need de-fleaing too and how do I go about it ?

hobbgoblin Thu 08-Oct-09 17:58:10

yep but you need to spray the soft furnishings too - plus carpets, they burrow down into the pile. prepare youself for discovery of larvae.

SausageRocket Thu 08-Oct-09 17:58:52


Spray with what and where do I get it from ? Pets at Home ?

hobbgoblin Thu 08-Oct-09 18:03:57

i used indorex - from vets. you can get stuff in garden centres, etc. but it is cheapo version. ebay sell stuff with same active ingredients i believe: Active Ingredients: Permethrin (rapidly kills adult fleas), Pyripoxyfen (controls growth of eggs and larvae from fleas and house dust mites), piperonyl butoxide (reinforces the action of permethrin).

SausageRocket Thu 08-Oct-09 18:05:16

Thank you hobgoblin. Sounds expensive! That'll teach me to be so laissez faire about defleaing

cheeseytoastie Thu 08-Oct-09 18:07:06

We also had this with our cat but I think you're hopefully going to get it early. We got a massive spray thing from our local pet centre and did the whole living room, plus you have to do your cats at the same time. We also bought a smoke bomb thing but it didn't ignite. Anyway, seemed to work straight away as minor biting stopped immediately. On a side note, if you do do your bedding, has to be at 60 plus at least one hour in the tumble drier after(can you tell I did a lot of googling??!!).

hobbgoblin Thu 08-Oct-09 18:07:23

i know, lesson learned here too. grim!

SausageRocket Thu 08-Oct-09 18:09:30

Blimey. 6 hours (min) of tumble drying is going to cost me an arm and a leg

Thanks for the advice, by the way.

SausageRocket Thu 08-Oct-09 18:11:31

anyone know about the guinea pig side of things ? They are indoor pigs, if that makes a difference

NorbertDentressangle Thu 08-Oct-09 20:08:23

I hate to say this but I've found (and so have many others) that Frontline is shite.

I started a thread on this a couple of weeks ago when we discovered that our cat had fleas despite regular use of Frontline.

We're now trying Stronghold (?) and have sprayed the house with a spray from the vets. You also have to keep hoovering every day or so to catch any of the b*stards that might have missed the spray etc and have hatched.

Re:the biting -I'm not sure why but I think fleas only go for certain people (your cleaner is obviously one of them!), I'm not sure why but if anyones got the answer I'd love to know

boodeniites Thu 08-Oct-09 20:15:56

we got Advantage from the vet to put on the cats and also a spray called R.I.P. Flea hmmit cost us a fortune as we have 5 cats and to be honest they still have them at times and i agree dh seems to get bitten by every living creature on Earth

SausageRocket Fri 09-Oct-09 10:21:39

Vet not open today so I got 3 giant cans of £10 a pop stuff from Pets at Home which contains the same active ingredients as hobgob mentioned. This stuff

So far I've done the living room, the hall (there is a rug and a chair in the hall but a tiled floor), all the stairs (lots of them) and all the landings, the rug and the sofa in the kitchen, I did those last night and the bedrooms are my nemesis today. By god, the stuff is choking.

I bought some flea tablets today for the cats (also by Johnsons) to crush onto their food as I'm never sure that I've got enough of the Frontline stuff actually on the skin. I'll leave it a day or 2 before giving the pills as don't want to o/d the cats!

I have also bought some mite/tick stuff for the pigs too, so I'll do them whilst I'm at it.

The checkout guy at PAH must've thought I was a dirty dirty bugger rocking up to the till with 3 cans of flea spray, a pack of flea pills and a pack of spot on mite stuff. hmm

Uriel Fri 09-Oct-09 10:31:00

Good info on treating fleas here.

I've found that the ideal (except expensive) is a combination of a Program injection every six months, and topical flea treatments. Program stops fleas being able to lay viable eggs round the house for six months.

If you need to get rid of fleas immediately, you can use Capstar tablets.

<voice of unfortunate experience emoticon>

Uriel Fri 09-Oct-09 10:33:26

As if you wouldn't want to get rid of fleas immediately. hmm Actually, it's within hours, not immediately, with Capstar tablets.

Would second the RIP cans for carpets, though. In our house they've killed spiders too and some woodlice that I found in the bedroom. hmm

NorbertDentressangle Fri 09-Oct-09 10:35:59

Good luck!

One thing I will say though is that its frequently said (on here and elsewhere) that the stuff you buy from pet stores is nowhere near as effective as the stuff you buy from the vets (flea treatments for cats and the house sprays) so keep a close eye on things.

SausageRocket Fri 09-Oct-09 10:36:25

lol uriel

SausageRocket Fri 09-Oct-09 10:38:18

Well as none of us have actually seen (or been bitten) by any beasties this is merely precautionary anyway.

The cleaner does do other houses too (it is her f/t job), so hopefully she is advising her other pet owning clients to do the same.

SausageRocket Fri 09-Oct-09 10:42:27

My house is the sort where you'd spot them quite easily. We're pretty minimalist and all of our floors are white/cream (even the hard ones) so you'd spot them leaping about without too much trouble, I should think.

Plus our cats are lap cats and spend a lot of time indoors (and on our white bedding), so I would have thought one of us had either seen something on the cats whilst they were on our lap, or DH or I would have seen something on the bedlinen.

Like I say, obviously I know it is perfectly possible that my furry friends have hitchikers on board (I have had cats all my life) and so I'm doing the treatment thing anyway, just to be on the safe side.

GentleOtter Fri 09-Oct-09 10:43:53

I'm sure I read somewhere that people low on vitamin B are more likely to be bitten (def by midgies) so feed her plenty of Marmite and things with brewers yeast.
Also, it might be worthwhile hiring a steam vacuum cleaner to nuke the house.

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