If you see a few fleas does that mean there are 100's on the way?
September 9, 2012 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I have seen 3 fleas, but not noticed any bites on myself. Is this an indication of some infestation that is about to explode?

Been in a new place for a month, I do not have pets though the previous tenant had cats and there are strays in the neighborhood.

All the times that I have seen fleas, they've been jumping onto me from the floor. Does this mean they are breeding inside the apartment? Or could they be coming in from outside?

I'm not a big fan of spraying chemicals all over the place and I certainly don't want to do anything if there's not a real problem here.

So- should I treat for fleas?
posted by abirdinthehand to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
 
That probably means there's fleas and flea eggs living in your carpet. You don't necessarily need to use chemicals, but you'll need to vacuum and clean the crap out of your place. Vacuum/wipe down any fabric furniture too. Wash all your bedding and laundry on HOT. Clean everyday for a week or two and it should discourage them.
posted by ninjakins at 10:35 AM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Instead of pesticides you could try sprinkling salt/borax and vacuuming every day. If you have a pair of calf or knee-high white socks I find wearing those while walking around is a good way to determine if there are fleas in the carpet/hardwood. They'll be pretty evident.
posted by muddgirl at 10:41 AM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vacuum every day for like a month, and you should probably be OK, since you don't have pets. Since you haven't noticed any bites, you might be one of those people that has very little reaction to their saliva (in other words, they might be biting you, but it's just not causing a skin reaction).
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:57 AM on September 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seconding borax. It's worked really well for us when we've had infestations. (We have 4 dogs and 2 cats, and had wall-to-wall carpeting at the time.)

After vacuuming, get rid of the vacuum bags outside of your house immediately, or the little fuckers will just crawl right out back into your carpet.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


We had some fleas a few years ago. We didn't have carpet, so that wasn't a problem. Here's what I did:

I started washing all clothes, curtains, towels and bedding. While I did this, I vacuumed all upholstery, mattresses and floors with a bag vacuum cleaner and threw out the bag. Then I used a spray bottle of dilute enzyme cleaner (Kleen Free, I think) to spray down most upholstery and the mattresses and used it to wipe down the inside of all drawers and fabric storage. I also set flea traps. Now, we only had fleas in part of our large house, so I only did this in affected areas.

This really cut into the bites and so on.

A week after doing the big clean, I vacuumed the upholstery and sprayed things down again.

The fleas were pretty much gone after that.

I don't think we had a very bad infestation. I used one of those fancy back-of-the-neck flea treatments on our cat and the housemate whose pets had brought the fleas had left anyway, so the fleas really had nowhere to live. (As I understand it, animal fleas don't really like to feed on humans even though they can bite us.)

God willing, we will not get any other infestations!
posted by Frowner at 11:19 AM on September 9, 2012


(Oh, also- I don't know if enzyme cleaner is a bunch of woo or not - it was highly recommended on several forums. It was pretty concentrated so I just used the rest of it as a regular cleaner...for the next couple of years! It made everything smell very vinegar-y until it dried, but it didn't damage anything or leave a persistent smell.)
posted by Frowner at 11:27 AM on September 9, 2012


Cat fleas bite people, dog fleas do not. Cite.

Vacuum regularly until they go. You don't need to use chemicals (which are horrid for people!) unless it is really bad. I've found that thorough cleaning is the only way to get rid of them.
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:41 AM on September 9, 2012


You may not be allergic. I spent all of last year in an apartment that had a light flea infestation that kept my girlfriend miserable. But I never had a bite, though once in a while I would find one on me. Frankly, I don't have much to offer in a way of solution as we tried regular cleaning, diotomaceous earth and more toxic chemicals and nothing worked. And we didn't have carpet.
posted by SpicyMustard at 1:46 PM on September 9, 2012


You don't say much about your domestic situation, but... I used to have long grass in my backyard. As it happens, fleas like long grass, and like to leap from it to you or your pet (if any). Since I did away with the grass and went to xeriscaping, no fleas. (And most of my other pest problems dwindled away, as well.)
posted by SPrintF at 2:34 PM on September 9, 2012


I'd treat, because just because no bites doesn't mean you don't have an infestation. We recently had an infestation. The little fuckers made a buffet out of me but my partner remained completely unbothered, so they don't necessarily bite everyone or not everyone reacts to bites.

I was also reluctant to use anything toxic in the home. I ended up using a powder called fleabusters RX on the carpet and furniture, and it seems to have done the trick. Normal vacuuming and washing didn't clear it up for us, so I think they can be quite persistent. In our case the fleas no doubt rode in on the dog, so I also treated her with Frontline and washed all her bedding with hot water and bleach.
posted by asynchronous at 4:00 PM on September 9, 2012


Since you don't have pets all you have to do is vacuum till you get the last lot of dormant hatchlings.
posted by glasseyes at 4:09 PM on September 9, 2012


In lieu of chemicals, you might sprinkle diatomaceous earth, sold in hardware stores. It kills fleas via physical rather than chemical properties: it absorbs oil from, and adds grit to, their exoskeletons.
posted by feral_goldfish at 5:20 PM on September 9, 2012


Trap them in a pie pan of soapy water with a small watt desk lamp shining into it.
posted by hortense at 3:18 AM on September 10, 2012


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