Getting rid of field fleas is a difficult process due to the long lifecycle of a flea. Moderate to severe infestations will take months to control and require a four-step process for complete elimination:
- Sanitation. Thoroughly clean areas where fleas frequently breed. This includes washing bedding, rugs, and pet bedding, and thoroughly vacuuming and sweeping floors and carpeted areas and along the edges of walls.
- Pet treatment. Every pet in the home must be treated. Thoroughly bathe pets with soap and water, then comb them with a flea comb. Pay careful attention to face and neck regions, and the area in front of the tail. Soap will act as a gentle insecticide to kill adult fleas. Talk to your veterinarian about choosing the right flea control product for your pet.
- Home treatment. Begin home treatment at the same time as pet treatment. This keeps all treatment on the same timeline and helps disrupt the flea life cycle. A licensed commercial pest control applicator can help you determine which products are best for inside your home and in the yard. In general, focus outdoor treatment on shady areas and places where pets spend the most amount of time. This is the best way of getting rid of fleas on cats.
- Follow-up. Fleas have a complex life cycle. At some stages of their life cycle they are resistant to insecticides and other flea control products. In order to get rid of fleas in all stages of the life cycle, two or more follow-up treatments within 5-10 days after the first application are needed. Additionally, vacuuming and sanitation practices should be ongoing throughout this period to pick up all remaining eggs and juvenile fleas.