If you've ever noticed small, red, itchy bumps on your skin, particularly around your lower body and near your ankles, chances are you have flea bites. Fleas infestations can occur in a number of settings, but the most common one is a home with pets that roam outdoors from time to time like dogs or indoor/outdoor cats.
If you have fleas, you'll want to do whatever is needed to get rid of them as soon as possible because the problem won't go away on its own. One method for treating particularly bad flea infestations is using flea bombs, which work by releasing pesticides into the affected area.
Preparing for Flea Bombs
If you have a flea infestation, you'll need to learn how to correctly use a flea bomb to treat your house before you get started to see the best results. In order to properly flea bomb your home, you'll need to have a few items handy, the most important being the actual flea bomb. There are several brands that you can choose from that should be available for purchase at most hardware stores and even some drug stores, grocery stores and online retailers. Most flea bombs can be purchased for around or under $20 and will sometimes be labeled as flea foggers, for the fog effect they produce to treat your home for fleas.
You'll need to read the instructions on the can to determine how many you should buy for treatment, which will depend on the size of your home. Multiple rooms and large areas will likely require more than one can. If you have a particularly bad infestation of fleas, or if you just want to be certain that you kill them in one shot you may be tempted to set off several bombs at once, but doing so will only result in a ton of chemical residue all over your house. Instead, it is recommended that rather than go overboard, you prepare and treat your home as usual and then bomb the house again in another couple of months.
Before you begin flea bombing your house, you'll need to prepare the area. Give your home a thorough cleaning, taking care to vacuum any fabrics like carpeting and couch upholstery and washing anything that you can remove and throw into a washing machine like bedding, bath mats and shoes. You should also sweep and mop any non-fabric ground surfaces like kitchen and bathroom floors, shut any open windows and doors and dump the contents of your vacuum in a dumpster outside of the house in case there are any fleas in it. Then, remove any living things from the area you're going to treat for the next eight to 10 hours while the pesticide does its work — this includes your pets, plants and any people inside the home.
How to Use Flea Bombs
Once your home is prepped, place the can of flea fogger in the middle of the room or rooms you need to treat. Most flea bombs will have a release valve or tab at the top of the can that you'll need to pull out in order to unlock the chemicals inside. When your can has been opened, leave the area as quickly as possible, taking special care not to breathe in as flea bombs contain strong chemicals that shouldn't be inhaled.
If you have multiple rooms to treat and need to be inside the home after one can of flea fogger has been released, you may want to wear a mask or cover your mouth and nose with some type of fabric to prevent inhalation.
After you've released the flea bomb or bombs and have stepped outside, allow it to work for at least eight hours or as instructed on the canister. When you, your pets and anything you removed have arrived back home, wipe down any surfaces that were exposed to the flea bomb fog like a coffee table or entertainment center. This is important as the fog will leave a residue that could be harmful if accidentally ingested.
A few days after you've treated your home with the flea bomb, be sure to vacuum your carpeting and fabric areas one more time as some bugs, especially any hiding deep within carpeting or rugs, may take a few days to die off. If you have a bad infestation on your hands, you may need to repeat this process anywhere from every few weeks to every couple of months to properly eradicate all signs of living pests.
Do Flea Bombs Work?
The short answer to this question is that flea bombs work sometimes, and you'll have a better chance of benefiting from them if you follow all directions and prep the area before treating your home. Do they work the first time in all cases, however? Not exactly.
The efficacy of your flea bombing treatment will depend on a couple of factors, such as how bad of a flea infestation you have on your hands and the layout of your home. For example, does your home have multiple floors full of rooms where fleas could potentially hide out? Or are certain corners of your abode hard to reach thanks to piled up boxes, old clothes or other items you keep stored since you have space? If so, a flea bomb alone may not solve your problem.
Flea bombs aren't like a professional service that will send an exterminator to go around your house spraying in just about every crack, crevice and corner of your entire living area, closets and all. Instead, flea bombs are simply small canisters that you place in a room and allow to disperse fog while you're out of the house. The chemicals contained within most flea bombs are strong and the fog has an ability to reach fairly far, but it can only do so much and likely won't reach the insides of closets or cupboards unless you place one directly inside those areas.
Furthermore, flea bombs are intended for use as a flea killer, which isn't the same thing as a measure of flea control. When fleas infest a home, they lay their eggs in fabric materials like carpeting or upholstery, which can be especially hard to combat in the case of a heavy infestation.
Flea bomb fog simply rests the pesticide on the surface of items in the room it was used, but it doesn't exactly penetrate the innermost workings of these materials, which is usually where flea eggs and larvae hide out. If you've treated your pets and fabrics and have flea bombed your home but still find yourself infested, it may be worth it to consult a professional service, or at the very least, start by steam cleaning your carpeting in addition to regular flea bombings.
Other Flea Treatment Options
If the process of flea bombing seems intensive, or if the idea of filling your home with harmful chemicals has you worried, you may find yourself wondering, will bug spray keep fleas away? Yes, it will, but only if it's the type of spray designed to kill fleas, as certain chemicals like pyrethrins and insect growth regulators are needed to destroy a flea's outer shell or kill them at various stages of growth, from egg to adult.
Sprays are a good option for treating outside of the home in areas like yards where a flea bomb would be totally ineffective in eliminating the problem. Insecticides like these also require less time away from the home after application, although the same preventative measures taken with flea bombs should always be applied with any extermination technique.
In addition to flea bombs, flea traps are another popular option, although traps won't kill flea eggs. Traps attract fleas toward them using heat, so the fleas need to be well grown enough to make it to the traps. Flea traps are regarded as an effective method for killing fleas indoors and are generally better for milder infestations where flea eggs haven't been embedded in carpeting or fabrics. Traps are commonly used in places like apartment buildings and can also provide quick relief from flea bites as you sleep when kept near your bed.
For a natural flea removal option, Diatomaceous earth is widely used and celebrated by many people looking to rid their homes of pests. Diatomaceous earth is a powder that's made up of fossilized single-celled marine organisms and works from the inside out by absorbing the oils of bugs like fleas until they completely dehydrate and die.
Although effective for hatched and adult fleas, Diatomaceous earth won't kill flea eggs, so it's important that you thoroughly vacuum any carpeting and fabric upholstery before treatment to remove flea eggs from your home. Food-grade Diatomaceous earth is a favorite among pet owners and people with young children as it's not harmful if it becomes ingested, unlike the pesticides used in chemical sprays and flea bombs.
Flea Prevention Tips
Of course, flea bombing your home isn't something most people will elect to do if they can avoid it, and the good news is that you can prevent flea infestations by taking a few measures to keep them out of your home in the first place. The best way to keep fleas out of your home is to keep them off of your pets, which rings particularly true for animals that wander outside regularly, like dogs. Even if you flea bomb your home multiple times, an untreated pet will only continue to bring more fleas in, so it's absolutely essential that you make this a priority.
There are several flea and tick prevention options on the market to choose from, one of the most popular being monthly drops that are applied to your pet's skin. Additional remedies for keeping fleas at bay include flea collars, which are only somewhat effective as they tend to target only the neck area, and flea baths. If you have fleas living in your yard or live or work in an area where fleas tend to congregate, be sure to remove your shoes before entering your home to avoid bringing any in with you.
Finally, keeping a clean living area will reduce your chances of harboring fleas. Of course, even the cleanest of homes are susceptible to a flea infestation, particularly if that home contains outdoor pets, but regular cleaning goes a long way in keeping bugs like these away. Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and regular laundering of clothing and bedding can reduce your risk of a flea problem getting out of control. If you have outdoor pets that typically lounge around a certain area like a dog bed or on the arm of a chair, be sure to clean those areas regularly as fleas can easily infest these surfaces.