Our vet said this 2014 year is possibly the worst or best year for fleas she has seen in southwest Florida…possibly ever (depends on whether you are warm blooded or insect). We are just not accustomed to having this problem with OUR protected pets. But, our previous history was no match for these insects who nonetheless invaded our pets, cars, house and bed. They came to stay for a while, and we now know the meaning of “flea bitten”!
The Grip of Fear
You probably know just enough about fleas to know they are insidious, and the problem can seem to die down, only to reappear with a vengeance in a few more days. This insect can hang out in a suspended, cocoon-like state for months and years waiting for new warm-blooded victims to appear. Quite adaptable, yes?
OK, so I was in the grip of fear. I was at the vet’s clinic, and I looked on their shelves to find a solution. I purchased and brought the can home before I even dared to read the label. Once I did, I could NOT keep it in the house, and I knew I could NOT throw it in the trash. I returned it to the vet’s office. Why? The toxicity of the chemical cocktail in that bottle created more horror in my soul than the fleas! I could not bring myself to poison our environment. Next idea?
Knowledgeable Friend to the Rescue
Fortunately, a friend recommended Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. We have used this internally to treat patients who suffered with certain parasites. What is it? It is micronized, ancient shell fragments, and it’s both very sharp (to tiny microbes) and it dries out bugs (just about any insect). Best of all, it doesn’t harm us or the pets. Just requires a light dusting of the white, powdery substance anywhere and everywhere the fleas could possibly hide, including the pets bed, and even your own. Leave the dust in place 24-48 hours, vacuum up (and toss the bag!). Any bug woes in your home will be a thing of the past. Not even cockroaches typically survive this!
I have since heard that salt can be very effective also. It likely has a drying effect on the insects’ bodies…similar to diatomaceous earth.
Note: Go online to see who carries this ancient shell dust. Mother Earth and Ada’s say they do. I bought mine in Ft. Myers proper at a rural-type feed store-n-more.
Sweet-Smelling Success: Peppermint & Clove Oil
Sure….go ahead and dust your dog too. However, if you are not carrying a bag of diamotaceous earth around all the time, you may want to know about Peppermint and Clove oils. You can get your own oils and mix up a blend with some water. (BTW, there are dozens of things you can do with each of these oils individually. A small bottle is a cheap investment that lasts and lasts and lasts. We use doTERRA essential oils.) Or, you can buy Vet’s + Best Natural Health Care Flea & Tick Home Spray, available at local pet stores.
With a squirt or two from the spray bottle, quickly target and knock out an individual flea in the act of biting your pet (or knock out two or more fleas at once). And your house and pet will smell great! Peppermint and clove, as it turns out, are great pest exterminators outside too. (E.g. Peppermint for Grub worms). How wonderful to find such effective, natural, fine-smelling and effective treatments!
Stay tuned for more Bug-Help tips in our next installment. Summer–a time of greater insect activity–is almost upon us!
To your Home’s Health,
Dr. David Martin & Staff
Lotus Blossom Clinic
By Dr. David Martin, Doctor of Oriental Medicine & Acupuncture Physician
Serving the Greater Ft. Myers Area