Flea Control for Homes and Yards

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With spring comes a plethora of pleasant things. The sun is shining and it is finally getting warm with gentle breezes blowing, so we tend to emerge from our wintery cocoons to again spend time in the great outdoors moving about. Oftentimes our pets are right alongside us, enjoying the warmer days. Unfortunately something else that joins us before long is parasitic pests.

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Probably the worst parasitic pest is the flea. Though tiny in size, fleas can cause big discomfort and a host of other issues, including anemia in animals affected by their presence. If allowed to multiply unchecked, you can have a full-fledged infestation on your hands before you know it as fleas are able to live on pet dander in carpets and furniture as well as in your yard.

The life cycle of a flea involves four stages. Because of this, you have to repeat treatments and target your treatment specifically to tackle all stages of life. Also important to keep in mind is that a single flea can produce offspring numbering into the trillions in just one year's time. With numbers like that it becomes clear that fleas are capable of getting the upper hand if we do not get it first.

A natural way to repel fleas is by growing Pennyroyal. This plant is similar to mint and will discourage fleas from setting up shop in areas where it is planted. You can also get it in the form of an essential oil which can then be diluted with water and sprayed around your yard and home.

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Another popular option is Diatomaceous Earth. DE is a powder that contains diatoms, a form of algae, in microscopic form. These are very sharp and when consumed by insects cause them to essentially slough off their exoskeletons and die of dehydration. It is useful against fleas and should be sprinkled outside while wearing a dust mask due to the inhalation hazard it poses. Be sure to use food or garden grade and not the variety developed for swimming pools.

Sevin Dust is also a great line of defense against fleas. It can be sprinkled around your home exterior or even on carpet and then vacuumed up a short while later. Some people have even been known to put a light dusting on animals themselves, but this should be done at your own risk based on the advice and approval of your vet.

Boric Acid is also known for its flea killing capabilities. All it takes is a dusting of boric acid sprinkled onto carpet and left to sit overnight before being vacuumed up to see a difference. It can also be sprinkled around the yard. Its toxicity level to humans is low but monitor children and pets in the area and keep them from making contact just to be on the safe side.

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As with all potentially hazardous products, be sure to thoroughly read labels before using products in and around your home. Wearing protective equipment such as gloves and a dust mask should be strongly considered as you never know to what product you might experience a sensitivity. It is also important to follow manufacturer's instructions on how to use, store, and dispose of products. Don't forget that bug killers are in large part universal-what kills one type of bug is likely to in actuality kill several, some of which you may not intend to kill. Such is the price for having a yard free of fleas, which unfortunately is often worth a few extra insect casualties.

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