For pet owners, flea season is a challenge. Treating your pet may take care of the problem, but sometimes fleas happen. Bed bugs are another uncomfortable nuisance. When you realize you have these critters, fogging your house is a quick way to get rid of them. Doing it as soon as possible may give you better results.
Don't just set the foggers and release. The vapors from foggers are toxic. Make sure you have most of the day set aside for your family and pets to be away from your home. First, vacuum your carpets and wash pet bedding. Then, throw away the vacuum bag. Follow the instructions on your foggers carefully.
Open cabinets, cupboards, drawers, closets and doors in the areas for treatment. For any cabinets that do not need treating, make sure to tape them shut. Use newspaper, plastic or washable cloths to cover food preparation surfaces, utensils, exposed food, dishes and food processing equipment. If possible, remove them.
Electrical and Gas Appliances
If you have air conditioner or heating vents, cover them with plastic. Shut off air conditioners or heaters and fans. Shut all windows tightly. Unplug all electrical appliances currently running, including the refrigerator. Take the batteries out of smoke detectors. Turn off any ignition sources in the area, including pilot lights and gas fireplace flames.
Living and Sleeping Areas
Remove toys from the area for treatment, or cover them with throwaway sheets or tarps. Wrap clothes and toiletries in polyethylene bags or wrapping sheets. Cover floors, especially waxed wood floors, with disposable tarps, plastic sheeting or old newspapers. Move furniture on carpeted areas off the carpet, if possible.
Move indoor plants and any delicate pieces of furniture outside to keep them away from the toxic fumes. Tightly cover a fish tank with towels or newspaper, or even a plastic bag and turn the tank off. If you can move the tank to another room, it's best to do that, but still turn it off. You do not want the fumes to seep into the fish tank, or they will kill your fish.
Make sure your children and your pets are safely out of your home. Make sure you are using foggers that are correct for the size of the room. Stand in the center of the room. Cover a chair or table with paper towels. Shake well before using, tilt the sprayer away from the face, and press the valve all the way. Set it on the chair or table and leave. Close the doors to each room after fogging, and leave for a minimum of two to three hours, or longer if possible.
When You Return
Don't plan to bring your kids and pets back to your house three hours later. You should return alone and open every window, turn on fans, turn on smoke alarms, the refrigerator and aquariums. Then allow the house to air out another two hours, before your family can safely return. While you are out, make sure to treat your pets with a pet flea and tick control repellant.
Wash bed linens, curtains and other exposed areas to get rid of any pesticide residue. Vacuum carpets every two to three days. If you smell even a whiff of pesticide odor, make sure to open the window to that room, and put fans in the windows facing outdoors, to pull the toxic air out of the house. Carefully following instructions is the best way to get good results.
Karen Gardner spent many years as a home and garden writer and editor who is now a freelance writer. As the owner of an updated older home, she jumps at the chance to write about the fun and not-so-fun parts of home repair and home upkeep. She also enjoys spending time in her garden, each year resolving not to let the weeds overtake them. She keeps reminding herself that gardening is a process, not an outcome.