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Flea Infestation: How to sleep and go out

May 26th, 2013 · No Comments

What to do about a flea infestation: As a public service

I’m talking here about a real flea infestation where an individual is constantly bitten by cat fleas. I have lived with a cat for 4 years and never before can I remember being bitten by a flea, even though she had them. This time is different.
These fleas which are causing the infestation I picked up outside from a spot where there were a lot of ‘homeless’ fleas. I know exactly where it was because they bit as soon as they landed. And there were a number, so that when I got home the pregnant ones gave birth and the others did their thing to keep the population going.

First off, there is a temporary solution in brewer’s yeast

Finally found a solution to being bitten on the legs.
The adding of brewer’s yeast to your food, taking vitamin B1 pills, and drinking apple cider vinegar may help to some degree – but only to some degree unless you increase the amounts of one or all to much larger quantities than you would ordinarily stand. So, in field testing, I’ve found that the following gives some relief. Put an amount of brewer’s yeast (I use powder) into a jar, add water until you have a fairly thick solution (not a paste), shake it each time (preferably you have a jar with a top), and apply it with you hands to the legs below the knees and to the feet. If you are still bitten, add another layer. It works! It only lasts for about 2 hours (perhaps less in summer when you are sweating), and up to 4 hours depending on the layers or thickness of the solution. If you use this in conjunction with the low lights over a dish or tray of soapy water in each of your rooms, you will obtain some reduction of the problem until you find a solution which will rid you of the fleas altogether.

Neutralizing of the flea problem for the cats
As for fleas on my cats, since the start of the infestation in the apartment, they were scratching a lot until I started putting about a level tsp of brewers yeast powder in their breakfast once a day, thoroughly mixed in, but making sure to put a bit of ‘untreated’ cat food on top, although the cats don’t seem to be bothered by it. The cats were really scratching, but after doing the above procedure each morning for about 3-4 days there was no longer any problem – no scratching (and I didn’t have to bathe them or do anything else). The fleas just can’t stand the taste or the smell of brewer’s yeast.

House cats not the usual source of infestation
I find that the only room in the house where I am not bitten is the porch (workroom) where my two cats sleep. Cat fleas really prefer cats – hence the name. From personal experience, house cats are not usually the cause of flea infestations. I have had my initial cat for years now and never been affected until now, even though she is allowed to go outside on her own. Also, during all this time, neighborhood cats have snuck into the apartment to eat whenever I’m not around. It would seem that most people pick up the fleas which become an infestation, as I did only recently, somewhere outdoors where the fleas can’t immediately find a cat, or in places where there is already an infestation.  

What to do so you can sleep and go out without fleas
So, what do you do when you have 100s of fleas, you are being attacked and it’s not just the normal fleas which every cat has? Until I get rid of them, I have developed a method for doing two extremely important procedures which enable me to sleep without being bitten by the fleas, and a way of getting rid of the fleas on me before I go out of the house.

How to go to bed without the fleas 
One thing to know is that fleas do not cling to skin, clothing, hair, etc. and slide or jump off when disturbed in the slightest way. It is claimed that fleas can jump 8 to 10 inches, according to some sources, and the height of the bed is 480 mm or about 18 inches which the fleas cannot navigate. These two pieces of information are important in understanding the following procedure which usually gives me a totally peaceful sleep during the night. First, if it is suspected that there are fleas in the bed itself, shake out the sheets, pillow case, and blankets. After a while, this is not necessary. The following procedure would appear to be a lot of work, but believe me, it works when you get it right. When wearing a nightgown or similar clothing, be sure to shake it out before putting it on. If lying down in house clothes, wearing loose fitting pants and shirts with short sleeves is helpful. If wearing socks, be sure that they are thick so that the fleas do not burrow through the material as easily, and also be sure to dust off your feet thoroughly with the socks or your hands when putting them on. As for me, since I work in the workroom with the cats, basically I just have to deal with the fleas in the bedroom, or other rooms I have to pass through to get to the bed. Just before lying down, run your hands over both arms and hands about 5-7 times, or just the hands if wearing long sleeves, although going over the long sleeves is also helpful. Then if there may be some in your hair, lean over and vigorously move the hands through the hair, and then do the hands and arms thing again. Then shake out the shirt or night clothes while on you, in particular lifting the bottom of the shirt or night gown up to shoulder level and then down before shaking it all out again. Then shake out the loose fitting pants about 40 times, then, take a step back and this is very important, go over your hands and arms again for any which have hopped off of the shirt and pants. Then sit down on the bed. When sitting down, be sure that your legs are against the bed so you don’t miss the bed while concentrating on the fleas and the procedure. Then, the critical part – while lying flat on the bed and your legs stretched out over the floor, brush your two feet over each other, and over the bottom of the pants and socks being sure to keep your legs level or just below the level of the top of the bed. If done correctly, there are usually no fleas left and is 100% effective. Sometimes it is not totally effective with 1 or 2 still remaining, but the more efficient the procedure becomes over time, the higher the percentage of success. Remember that this procedure has to be repeated after every trip to the bathroom during the night. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. 
 
If, while lying there, there are leftover fleas on the hands, arms or lower legs, hold the effected limb over the side of the bed and brush the effected area off thoroughly, being sure to also brush off the hand or leg doing the initial brushing. Also brush off any part of the bed onto which a flea could have jumped. It may take one or two times to get effective at this, so do not give up. If I am bitten on the torso or upper legs, I generally suffer the bite and by not scratching find that the intense itching goes away in about ten minutes. However, if it’s more than one or two fleas, it might be necessary to get up and do the procedure again. 

Going out of the house without the fleas 
When going out, I can usually go out with almost no fleas, and in fact sometimes none, by adhering to the following procedure:  Wash the clothes, socks, etc. in soapy water and machine dry. Use a large plastic bag or cloth to put the clothes on near the door. Be sure to shake out the bag or cloth prior to transferring the clothes from the dryer. Wash the floor around the dressing area with water and some liquid soap. Be sure to wash the top of the baseboard and any other surface which might be a staging area. Take a shower, and if you suspect there are fleas in your hair, wash your hair. I have found that using a cat or dog flea comb can be helpful here. Go directly to your clothes, dusting off your legs and arms about 2-3 times before getting to the clothing area. It might be helpful to put apple cider vinegar on your legs up to the knees and on the arms. Dust off your feet and lower legs at a spot which is away from the door before putting on your socks and pants. Once you are fully dressed, dust off your lower clothes, socks, lower legs just above the socks, and arms before going out. Sometimes I can’t go into the coffee shop to get my cappuccino because my routine doesn’t work as well as most of the time.

One thing I have found is that fleas seem to be quite faithful and do not jump off if there is hair or clothing to wait in until the next meal, even if you have used all of the methods they can’t stand. So, any that make it through the procedure above will normally stay with you nestled in hair or under clothing until whatever you have used to neutralize yourself wears off. 
Part of this was added to Grandma’s Home Remedies http://www.grandmashomeremedies.com/cat-fleas.html Excellent site with many good comments.

As for fleas on my cats, since the start of the infestation in the apartment, they were scratching a lot until I started putting about a level tsp of brewers yeast powder in their breakfast once a day, thoroughly mixed in, but making sure to put a bit of ‘untreated’ cat food on top, although the cats don’t seem to be bothered by it. The cats were really scratching, but after doing the above procedure each morning for about 3-4 days there was no longer any problem – no scratching (and I didn’t have to bathe them or do anything else). The fleas just can’t stand the taste or the smell of brewer’s yeast. 

Neutralize yourself (the other methods which give some extra protection)
Some methods which I have found helpful in dealing with a flea infestation. 
For myself, I put about a teaspoon full of brewer’s yeast into my own oatmeal in the morning. If I took an equivalent amount based on weight alone of me and my cat, I would have to take an amazing amount of brewer’s yeast – about 17 teaspoons (10 lbs weight of a cat to 175 me). I also drink about 2 teaspoons worth of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water once a day.  Adding a little bit of sugar or stevia can help get it down.
Vitamin B1 is very helpful up to a point. I have found that 4-5 100 mg B1 pills last about 5-7 hours at which time you start smelling good enough to eat again. They’ve just been sitting there waiting, wondering when dinner will be served. 
Also B complex has some B1 in it although not much. But every bit helps. If you become too inhospitable, they will remember and wait until the next passerby, hopefully a cat. 

Reduction of flea population 
I have found that putting 2-3 empty plastic cheese cartons under lamps about 4 inches above each one with some water and liquid soap is very effective, up to a point. The fleas are attracted by the light, and fall into the liquid drowning almost immediately and apparently somewhat painlessly because of the soap film on the surface of the water which cannot be navigated. The liquid soap used is a soapless soap called Dermapon which comes in a yellow plastic bottle. Other people have found other liquid soaps helpful. 
 
A lot of other methods people have tried would appear to cause some pain and dysfunction over time to the fleas, so I don’t want to use them. The first time I tried the soap and water, there were about 1200 fleas in the soapy water within a period of 7 days. I guess I really had it bad. After that, the numbers diminished quite rapidly. But there were always some too savvy to be attracted by the light. So bites continued but to a lesser degree. 

I don’t want to kill them. They have as much right to live as I do. But they constantly bite me, when they’re not biting the cats. And now they are all over. And I know that I must do something. Others suggest that I bomb the place – you know with anti-insect stuff, which all the web sites say doesn’t always work the first time. And where am I going to get all that money to have the professionals come again and again. Plus the fact that to die from chemicals would be one of the worst ways to go. Me and my cats would have to vacate for however long it would take until we could go back in and not be listed as some of the victims.

So there I am, deciding that the only way to do it is by a light over a number of bowls of liquid soap water in different parts of the house, where I am told they die instantly, almost mercifully without pain through drowning. I live alone or this could not have gone on as long as it has. Others say that it is almost as if I don’t even want to get rid of them. What do I want them for? And I beg off by saying that I just can’t do them in with anything which would cause pain or prolonged suffering. And the new spray which someone found out which would solve the problem? – In my mind it would cause a more catastrophic end than I find is justified for the fleas, for all other insects and even mice and rats. So it doesn’t just effect those with a certain physiological structure. By taking out the rats and mice, it could also take out my cats, and possibly even cause me problems.

Other possibilities
Of course the main goal is to get rid of the fleas entirely. There is also the possibility of using a vinegar spray on the floor which is a deterant to the fleas. Have not tried it, but for a good discussion of the use of vinegar, see http://fixfleas.com/vinegar-kills-fleas-effectiveness-of-vinegar-for-fleas/

Just ran across another method which I have also not tried yet. Will give the passage in full since it is short: Comment by Angelina in response to an article: “I found the solution to flea infestations when I discovered that my fleas had become resistant to commercial poisons. I cought (sic) several fleas and placed them into a container and then proceeded to find a household chemical that would kill them. This is what works best for me.  Mix four teaspoons of dish washing detergent and four shotglass full of rubbing alcohol with one gallon of water. Spray this mixture over your entire floor. Be careful with wood floors and test before using on valuable flooring. Your goal is to dampen all the rugs and flooring in the house at the same time, the flooring should be wet to the touch. I usually spray before bed or when I’m going away for a few hours to allow it to dry undisturbed. The spray drowns the fleas in about 30 seconds. You have to repeat the spray for a week to ten days to kill all the hatching eggs. This really works and is non toxic” source: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/natural-flea-control.aspx#ixzz2UDmhoNDz.”

 

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