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buying house where animals lived: fleas

(80 Posts)
curryeater Thu 11-Apr-13 09:53:53

We don't have pets and I am very sensitive to, or delicious to, fleas.
We're renting a temporary place and some beastie is biting me every night. Looks like fleas to me. (please no one mention bed bugs please please please don't even let me think it) (Actually does anyone know, other than catching one, how you can tell what is biting you?)

The house we want to buy has dogs and cats living there now. What can I ask the vendors to do about fleas? I mean I know they will say "our animals don't have fleas" but they all bloody do and they all bloody eat me (especially because once the vendors have taken their animals away they will be desperate to eat anything; people with flea-ridden animals often don't realise it because the fleas are eating the animal of choice). Do I just have to accept it as our problem and try to get the place properly dealt with before we move in? Vendors with pets, what is your position on this?

also, does anyone know anything about how long the little bastards can live with no animals other than humans to eat? I am desperately hoping that the ones biting me now are residual ones left from some previous animals and eventually they will die without the right animals to eat. I am sure I had heard that. but I can't find any information on that now.


Hassled Thu 11-Apr-13 10:01:32

Fleas usually go for the lower leg and don't specifically bite at night, so I wouldn't rule out the bed bug thing. Bed bug bites are usually in straight lines, so you'll get a clear row of them - does that help?

Re the new house - not all animals do have fleas because most sensible pet owners de-flea regularly. Do your vendors look like the type to be sensible pet owners? If not, and the worst happens, there are sprays/powders etc - it's dealable with, so please don't panic.

curryeater Thu 11-Apr-13 10:05:36

Thanks, hassled
they are not in straight lines, more clusters, I think.
Do you know if a dr can tell from bites what it is?

I feel sick thinking about how to deal with this, I am utterly exhausted with moving, work is crazy busy as I took time off to move and no one covers when I am away, I have no idea what to do with the dcs if the house has to be treated and we have no spare money.

Do you know how whatever it is can be contained? so far nothing is biting the dcs, I think

Turnipinatutu Thu 11-Apr-13 10:06:58

These days I would say that most properly cared for animals don't have fleas. The drop on flea prevention treatments for dogs and cats really are very effective, but only if you actually use them! Which all owners may not do.

Fleas can live without a food source for A LONG time. The first house we bought was infested. It had been empty for a while and the neighbouring cats had taken up residence. When we we arrived to view the EA was waiting outside looking very uncomfortable. On stepping inside the carpet literally came alive! You could see them!
The vendor had the carpets treated (yes we still bought it) but we had to get a pro in for a second treatment after we moved in.

curryeater Thu 11-Apr-13 10:07:48

Shit shit shit
I put the girls' mattresses in plastic covers for the move, I had bought one for ours too but I couldn't get it in myself and the movers and dp ignored me when I said about it and movers wrapped our mattress in some thing of theirs.
shit shit shit there are mattresses in storage draped in movers' blankets too
it's that isn't it
shit shit shit
I have no idea what to do. I have no time and no money and am physically incapable of moving one more fucking thing, we wedged everything into this house and it killed me. now work is kicking off I would be in tears about what I have to do for work without all this
I don't know what to do

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 10:09:40

Sympathies, I am popular Insect Food, too. Bizarrely, the only bug bite that doesn't bother me are ordinary mozzies, anything else brings me out in itchy bumps.

Apparently bedbugs bite marks show up in short lines, especially groups of 3, and flea bites are more random, especially lower bits of you because fleas tend to hop to a low point (floor) and wait for vibrations to disturb them, then they jump up & quickly bite not checking if it's favoured species first.

Also bedbugs leave flecks of blood on your bedding which fleas do not.

I heard that pupae in the carpets can live for a year before hatching (sigh).

If it were me I would plan to vacuum daily after I moved in for first 2 weeks, then spray the house with Indorex, leave that for a minimum 3 days to settle (some say leave for up to 2 weeks before vacuuming!). Then vacuum twice a week for a long time thereafter.

CuddyMum Thu 11-Apr-13 10:12:22

It does sound like bedbugs rather than fleas. You can buy sprays for bedbugs off t'interweb.

CuddyMum Thu 11-Apr-13 10:13:04

oh and see your GP/pharmacist to treat the current bites you have.

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 10:13:19

massive X post.
I don't think fleas easily infest mattresses, may be wrong, but it's not their best environment.
Crank the heat up too after you move in, this encourages hatching out & the Indorex or vacuuming will get them (Indorex does not kill pupae, unfortunately). Empty the vacuum cleaner frequently to get the blighters into your bin, they can crawl back out of VC otherwise.

I always have some mystery bites. Spiders, woodlice, tiny nameless bugs.

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 11-Apr-13 10:14:36

Seriously not all animals have fleas. I had a cat for 16 years and he had them twice in that time.

My dog has had regular 4 weekly treatment since I got him as a small pup and has never had them. I react to bites too so understand it is a concern but your reaction does seem a little out of proportion from these posts. Are you just venting here ir is it just the straw that broke the camels back so to speak with the moving stress?

My last flea experience was years ago but we were able to buy a spray for the house from the vet which sorted it.

Hassled Thu 11-Apr-13 10:15:52

This is going to sound really patronising and I don't mean it to (I'd be a pathetic mess if I had a mouse problem, say) but really, you need to calm down about the fleas. You have enough on your plate without letting insect bites stress you to this extent. And they are just bites - irritating, annoying, itchy as hell, but just bites. They don't spread disease, they won't make you unwell. They're a minor irritation - that's all.

Get some flea spray or powder asap. Vacuum a lot - that will help. If your mattresses have fleas - again, lots of vacuuming. It's copeable with, really.

You sound really tired and stressed - can you call in any favours for help?

mistlethrush Thu 11-Apr-13 10:17:23

Fleas - if they get onto you properly, they tend to bite where there is constriction - top of socks, waist band etc.

New house - you can get a company in to come and spray all the carpets etc as the eggs can stay dormant for ages. However, I have had a dog for the last 10 years in our house and we don't have any fleas - so if its a decent owner who has kept her animals flea-free, you might be OK in the new house. I would want to be absolutely certain that I wasn't taking bedbugs with me when I moved in though - you might need some advice on that.

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 10:23:12

Maybe OP is hysterical but if she's like me, I totally get her immense dread. 2 or 3 bites can last on me for 4-7 days & make my life completely miserable; I had a job where I got covered with midge bites (everyone else who worked on site never got bitten) and I had to spend weeks on antihistamines until I found an effective insect repellent. Colleague suggested that maybe I had hayfever grass reaction instead: "In my hair!?" I said. I know so many people who never get bitten or it's just a minor spot if they are bitten. I wish I was like that.

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 11-Apr-13 10:29:11

I swell up too with big waxy hard lumps about the size of a 50p and need amtihistimines. It isn't nice but I don't panic about situations when been bit 'might' happen. I sympathise with OP but it does sound like she is (understandably) a little stressed and it just might be worth considering that too.

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 11-Apr-13 10:29:51

being bit, sorry!

curryeater Thu 11-Apr-13 10:43:18

Thanks but this is not a few bites. About 25 and about 7 more each night. My neck looks a red swollen mess. And if this is bed bugs it will have to be properly dealt with and I can't move my left arm I knackered it moving house and I effectively have nowhere to sleep because my own bed gives me the creeps. I am exhausted and don't know what to do

Turnipinatutu Thu 11-Apr-13 10:50:22

Get to the doctor and try and find out exactly what is biting you.
If its only affecting you, could it be hives or something brought on by the stress?

DewDr0p Thu 11-Apr-13 10:55:07

It sounds like fleas to me OP. I'm also a walking insect smorgasbord so I do sympathise. We had an outbreak last year and it was unbearable tbh.

2 options for getting rid:

1. Get Acclaim spray from the vet. Hoover thoroughly and then spray all carpets, curtains, soft furnishings. Make sure you get into any nooks and crannies. Wash bedding on the hottest wash it will take and Hoover the mattress. Vacuum every other day for a few weeks.
2. Get someone in. Our council does it for £50-60. I think it's one visit.

You sound v stressed OP, hope you can get this sorted soon. It is fairly easy to get rid but you must get stuff from the vet, it is SO much more effective. Hth.

DewDr0p Thu 11-Apr-13 10:56:27

Another thought OP - while you are getting it sorted, some insect repellent for you should give you some respite.

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 10:58:04

7 new bites each night sounds like bedbugs, so very sorry. It's their MO. Sounds like they were there in your rental digs, nothing you could have foreseen.

I reckon doctor will be clueless, no point unless you want prescrip for extra strong antihistamine. I would ring landlord & council today. Have you examined your mattress closely yet?

lljkk Thu 11-Apr-13 10:59:12

Don't panic, it can be fixed. Everyone had bedbugs in the past & now almost no one does. You've got to woman up to this (I know it's tough).

specialsubject Thu 11-Apr-13 11:03:47

may this be the worst thing that happens to you.

fleas leave with the animals concerned. You have a completely irrational fear which is not the problem of the vendors. If you like, after completion you can treat the whole place with 'flea bombs' before moving your stuff in. This will be a lot of work, but with no pets the fleas won't survive. If they are there at all, of course.

bedbugs do happen sometimes and are very prevalent in hotels both in the UK and abroad. You won't die or catch anything. If they have come into your house the furniture and bedding needs treating to avoid transporting them further.

Hassled Thu 11-Apr-13 11:14:57

Sorry for dismissing it as just a few bites - agree you should get it checked out. A pharmacist if you don't have time for the GP? If it is bedbugs then you may need to contact your Council's environmental health.

curryeater Thu 11-Apr-13 11:26:10

Thanks everyone, esp llikk.
I saw a dr at a walk in centre and she says there is no way of telling. So I am going to treat it as bed bugs I think. Does anyone know if this will kill fleas too?
Are there insect repellants that actually work, does anyone know, and if so, can they be the same ones for fleas or bed bugs?

woozlebear Thu 11-Apr-13 11:27:29

I'm currently selling my house, and I have pets. If a buyer asked me to do anything to de-flea my house (with not whiff of suggestions that there is actually a flea problem) I would ask solicitor/estate agent to politely tell them to do one. If I thought the sale would de-rail and I couldn't get another buyer I might go as far as to get my vet to write a letter saying my cats are flea-free. Any further requests I would literally ignore. Most pets nowadays don't have fleas. I've had cats all my life and only had a couple of cases and I've never heard of a house being long-term infested by an animal. I'm saying this because I think, given your obvious extreme stress, I think you run a chance of really p*issing off your vendor if you raise this with them.

I DO understand your horror - I am delicious to mosquitos, and react badly to the bites often, too. However I really don't think bites all over your neck and no contact with animals is indicative of flea bits. Much more likely to be bed bugs, or some kind of stress rash or other allergy (different washing powder?)

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