We brought in cats from the outside, the vet said they did not have fleas, well months later we found a flea. this was after their night over at the vet months later. We treated them with frontline and flea bath (before letting them upstairs from the basement they were there because of the claws until surgery) The problem started in dec. The cats have been flea free, I check daily. I continue to frontline monthly. The sprayed the basement in Jan. then upstairs we had fleas so I sprayed and carpet powder. Many times. (i’m the one who gets the bites) I have had no bites up here, and since no fleas upstairs and continue to vaccum freguently and spray every few weeks now just to be sure and continue the treatment to be effective. Well I realized a few weeks ago we had a problem in the basement. The cats don’t go down there and we dont often So we didnt realize we still had a problem. I sprayed again and cleaned and threw everything away. We then set off foggers 4 weeks ago. We have been now vaccuming frequently. We are going to set off foggers again next week and continue to vaccum. And then set them off again in 3 weeks after. I know the fourth stage you can’t kill and need to stimulate to hatch out. If we are vaccuming frequently 4-5 days a week and set off foggers every 3-4 weeks and do the sprays inbetween. How long will this take? I mean I know the last stage they can stay dormant a long time, but with the vaccuming and vibration we are making down there shouldnt that help quicker? I’m parnoid. I won’t vaccum down there. I make my husband. It is all I talk about and I have about had it. I know cement is harder with sprays because it is porus. But if I’m continously spraying and bombing, and vaccuming shouldn’t this be effective? And how do I know when I’m at the point where I need to get a professional in? and also today went I went down and did some spraying I didnt see any (and I look, because I’m parnoid about it all) There were three on my clothing (not on me because I tuck all my clothing in and wear gloves, I got them and drown them) But I’m not seeing a whole bunch jumping around or anything, and its easy to see on the cement floor. Does this mean, there are probaly only a few now hatching out and we are becoming effective, or I’m I just talking myself into the fact that things are working? Please give me some advice before I go crazy!
First, some good news. I do believe you’re at the end of this vicious cycle and unlike most situations I comment on, yours is actually in “good” shape and should be over sooner rather than later. Additionally, it seems as though you have read our FLEA CONTROL ARTICLE which goes over all of the problems you’re experiencing so you’re observations and reasons for what is happening are mostly in line and correct.
Second, the things you might be missing or misunderstood from our article… It’s actually the third stage, what we call the pupae, which is the flea we’re not able to kill (and not the fourth stage which you listed). This third stage is impervious to chemical and can lay dormant for long periods of time (upwards of a year). As explained in our article, rooms which are void or left empty without people and pets are likely to harbor this stage for a long time. Additionally, cool temps in dark environments tend to prolong their existence. Basements are notorious for such conditions and I’ve seen fleas survive for more than a year in many different homes so what you’re experiencing is not nearly as long as it can go on. From your message, the problem is only 4-5 months old which isn’t that long in “flea time”.
Additionally, the fact you’re going down there and vacuuming is a good thing. But will that get the fleas to hatch? No. As our article explains, the vacuuming serves to remove debris, larvae and even the notorious pupae themselves but it won’t help to hatch them any faster. As for the fogging with aerosol bombs; that’s definitely not doing anything so you can stop wasting your money and time with them. As explained in our article, you can only kill a flea once it’s hatched and at this point, the only time anything in the basement will take a risk and hatch is if you’re close enough for them to “get on”. So by the time you set out any foggers, they’ll already be on you and I don’t think the aerosol will be able to find any still around to kill once you leave. But there is one thing you seemingly missed which we list in our article: FLEA TRAPS. You should definitely deploy some of these throughout the basement as they’ll help get pupae to hatch for sure thus breaking the cycle that much sooner. We’ve had vacant homes with nothing but our Flea Traps deployed with tremendous results so they do in fact expedite the process once set out. This video shows some of the results:
Lastly, the main problem is probably more due to the animal involved than anything else. Cats are usually more inclined to go in “other areas” compared to dogs. They tend to jump and move into cracks and tight spaces. All these locations could be involved here and I wonder if you may have missed some of these when vacuuming the basement. In other words, if the cats were jumping up on a work bench or some shelving, there could be fleas up there now. Eggs, larvae, pupae – all stages could easily find what they need in the confines of the average basement so anywhere the cats may have gone would be prime places to vacuum and inspect. Window ledges, crawl spaces, tops of boxes – any and all of these places are prime locations for our Flea Traps and should be considered. The point is you shouldn’t look on the ground only; be sure to look up at all levels present in the basement as they could all be involved with this problem.
In summary, if you continue to treat the pets and the upstairs like you said you did and don’t see any fleas up there, I doubt that area of the home is a problem. As for the basement, if you deploy 2-4 Flea Traps, I’m sure you’ll break the cycle there too. Lastly, be sure to treat the yard as it warms because undoubtedly there was a problem outside last year that seemingly was missed. Failure to treat this year means almost certainly that activity will be coming back and most likely will be more robust than ever. Get out some granules now, before the season starts, and you should be able to hold it off and prevent a replay of what you experienced this winter inside the home.
Here are direct links to the information and products mentioned above: