Fleas... I'm a magnet.

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Ok, so fleas and mosquitoes love me. I'm not sure why, it could be a body chemistry thing or a slightly higher body temp. All I know is that my wife and I can be standing in the same room... Her, they do not touch but me, they devourer.
At any rate, beyond chemical sprays or whatnot is there a botanical method that can be done in the yard to stop them, or slow them, before they get to the house?
Know people say mint will deter ants, which I'll be planting around the house for the simple reason that I like it in tea if anything else.. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with fleas.
Problem area is not in the main house, but in the basement. We've got a cat door to the basement which we close the cats up in at night to keep them from wandering around. Their litter boxes are also located down there.
Now, I'd say sure, they're living on the cats but this is not the case. I'd sprayed them down with Frontline's spray and there are no fleas on them.
I'll be picking up some glue traps as well. You know, those ones with the night light above them? I'd used them in the past with much success so I'm hoping that it will solve the problem inside. But keeping them at bay outside is another question.
Looking forward to your thoughts.. :)
Scott--
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A shallow bowl of water with a few drops of cooking oil will work. Just add a night light above it. Ground fault might be a good idea !
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Livestock-and-Farming/1985-05-01/Natural-F lea-Control.aspx
or
http://preview.tinyurl.com/2hsmw3
Bill
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S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade

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William Wagner wrote:

Down side on that will be that the cats will end up drinking it.. Unless I put it in a closed create. They're very resourceful. :p
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pernews.net:

i used dish soap in the water when i got a flea infestation from sitting my brother's dog... you just need something to break the surface tension of the water & soapy water is easier to clean up after than oily water if you spill any. i also had pretty good luck treating rugs & soft furniture with baking soda to help dry up the eggs & larvae (which feed on dust & have a 5-10 day hatch cycle depending on weather. vacuum a lot & make sure to empty the bag into a sealed bag outside. or burn it. or put 1" pieces of flea collar into the bags. do NOT put them on the animals!). now i keep the cats & dogs on Advantage/Frontline... lee
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My house used to be infested with fleas. I used a powder on my rugs and hardwood floors that eliminated them completely - after fighting them for quite a few years with bombs, etc. This link is to a product somewhat like what I used, I can't remember the name of the one that worked here, but the ingredients are the same.
http://www.pestproducts.com/fleapowder.htm
I know they say on this (very poorly formatted) page that you shouldn't use regular borax, but I've read on other forums that 20 Mule Team Borax has the same effect.
Good luck, I don't envy you - getting rid of fleas is very tough to do!
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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boric acid? same stuff used to kill cockroaches? Ingrid

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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.com wrote:

I tsp Boric acid to 1/2 cup sugar kills ants. Use as bait in your basement. Lasts years. I purchase pharmacist grade as it is very fine. My dad gave me a box of twenty mule team but have yet to use it. Looks like 4 OZ. will last a life time.
Bill
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from snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.com contains these words:

but that works by roaches eating it. Fleas won't.
Janet
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Janet Baraclough wrote:

Yup..
Ok, so I asked for something botanical to aid in keeping them out of the yard before they reach the house but I guess there's no such solution.. Oh well.. On to other subjects. :)
Just going to have the basement sprayed.. House is already under a yearly contract. Will pick up traps to aid after that.
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words:

Not effective ones, on such a large scale; and because pet fleas in the house (or on yourself, which I've had too) are such a nuisance you really need the fastest most effective solution. FWIW, flea infestations are the only tinme I ever use an insecticide (indoors or out). Janet

What sort of yearly contract is that..would it be because of termites, biting spiders or something?
Janet
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Janet Baraclough wrote:

House was treated for termites at expense of the prior owner before we moved in.
Contact is for quarterly spraying if needed. I try to only have them spray where it's actually useful and limit the inside spraying. However since the house had a brown recluse problem before we moved in the whole house was taken care of.
We've got alot less browns now, only spotting one like once a month tops or so instead of opening doors and seeing 3, 4 or 5 scurry off. Granted it's hard to kill browns with just spraying since their abdomen does not brush the ground but it had helped greatly, if even by removing their food source..
Too bad they can go for 2 years without eating.
At any rate, just a general contract to handle problems such as the ants that have been creative about finding new ways to climb the walls and get under the shingles and sneak into the second story windows.
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The powder I used isn't ingested. It works by dessicating the flea eggs and larvae that are usually in cracks or in carpets.
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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is borax the effective agent, or something else?
Janet
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I think so, I found a page where it said boric acid is the main ingredient in 20 Mule Team Borax http://www.mouthstick.net/tipsbits/boric.htm .
This thread on Gardenweb discusses the two http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/ipm/msg0622204413443.html
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
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Janet Baraclough wrote:

Boric acid also works by dessication. There are still companies around the country that treat fleas by applying the BA dust to the carpets/floors Flee-flea Flea-Be-Gone FleaAway are a few that are still around different parts of the country even though many others have been sued out of business. Know though that BA will be many times more toxic than anything bought to use as a flea insecticide. If the idea of it's use is because it is a natural product it can work but takes time if used alone. I have been in numerous homes over the years months after the BA treatment and the biggest complaint is all the dust that is constantly stirred up and has to be wiped off tables/counter/ etc so I would not feel too comfortable breathing the stuff over time.
Lar
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I used it as a last resort - and it worked, ending the flea infestation that had started long before I bought the house.
As for toxic, I think the many flea bombs and exterminator chemicals that were used here were far worse than the borate treatment.

Then they didn't use it properly. I had no such issues and got the results I wanted.
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Ann wrote:

Actually Boric acid is probably the most toxic insecticide on my truck. It will be used at 97%-99% strength where other insecticides will be usually a fraction of one percent. The comparison scale of toxins is the LD50...the lower the number the more toxic the substance. The LD50 of BA is 2660, of Boron is around 3000 and they are considered low toxic. What I use on my quarterly maintenance services for indoor roach/spider/ant work is around 120,000 and that is at a strength 4 times more toxic than when I use the same product for flea control outside. And all other products bought from home depot or applied professionally will be in the same range if not less toxic.

But the question would be are you now getting results you do not want to have...possible health..premature deterioration of carpets....
Lar
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Nope, sorry, none of that. It's been over 15 flea-free years, and I don't think they'll be back at this point.
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
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words:

Have you seen any fleas? (they are visible to the naked eye, and hop). Otherwise, you might have acquired some other house parasite, such as bedbugs. Or a more personal infestation, like lice or crabs :-)

Food dishes too? Other cats may come in.

Once animal fleas get into the warmth of a house, they will very quickly breed in furniture, carpets etc, only occasionally jumping onto a host like yourself for a feed.
You need to hot-wash pet bedding regularly, and spray their beds with flea killer. Floors, carpets and furnishings can be treated with a flea powder which you shake on, leave, and vaccuum off. You'll need to do it twice with an interval, to let any surviving eggs hatch then mop them up.
Janet.
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Janet Baraclough wrote:

If they actually had their way they would not leave the host rather than feeding then jumping back off. People are usually too clean to be a host.

And if you are not comfortable with insecticides you could try just the growth regulator to break the life cycle though that would not be a quick end to them.
Lar
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