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hamsterofpain asked 3 months ago

Two weeks ago, unfortunately, my cat passed away. I had NO IDEA he had fleas. We never saw any, we had a problem in the past and thought they were gone. He was treated and used a flea collar good for 8 months from the vet. I took it off maybe a month ago, never got a new one as he didn’t go outside and they were gone (or so I thought). He was very old and just laid around, idk I have no idea how I didn’t know. 
Either way, once he passed we started seeing them like crazy. I’m assuming without a host they were looking for something to feed on. I am taking the steps to get rid of them. Had the house treated professionally, vacuuming, washing bed sheets and stuffed animals frequently but I feel like they are just getting worse. I’m assuming the vacuuming is making them hatch and we have to wait for them to all come out and since they have nothing to feed on they should go away…
My question is, they are buying my 2 year old son like crazy. He looks like he has chicken pox. I’m not getting bit, just him. I’m treating the bites with Benadryl but is there a way to keep them from biting him, like a product or cream to keep them off of him until they are gone?? 

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 3 months ago


Sorry to hear about your flea troubles.

Most insect repellents work for repelling fleas, including DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and also permethrin insect repellent for clothing.

You may also want to consider dressing your son more fully, with little exposed skin. Fleas can’t bite through clothing, so doing things like tucking pant legs into socks can help prevent their bites. Regardless, if he is playing on the floor, it will be hard to stop their bites completely.

A majority of the fleas will be developing in rooms and areas where the cat frequently rested. Most adult fleas will be emerging from these places. So it may be beneficial to keep your child away from these areas to help prevent bites.

I hope this helps!

hamsterofpain replied 3 months ago

Thank you! Unfortunately the cat spent a lot of time in our living and dining room so it’s hard to avoid the areas, but I’ll try keeping him covered more. Thankfully it’s getting cold so it’ll be easier. I also read somewhere that fleas don’t like eucalyptus. Is that true and if so would a lotion or oil with that in it help keep them from biting? I noticed he’s getting more at night when we’re sleeping…

…They can’t lay eggs off of biting him, can they? Because I’m sure at night a few are getting a chance to feed for a little bit. I feel so bad, I don’t know how to get them off of him. So frustrating. It’s been almost 3 weeks and I feel like the problem is just getting worse. How long does it usually take to start to see a difference? Should I have the exterminator treat it again??

Sorry for so many questions. I’m so frustrated and I just want to relax in my home without fleas jumping on me or my son.

Adam Retzer Staff replied 3 months ago

I’ve never read any reliable sources confirming that fleas are repelled by eucalyptus or other essential oils. I know there are many internet articles claiming this, but I think they are just pandering to people’s desire for natural insect repellents, without doing any real research on if it works. That said, it’s possible that some essential oils repel fleas, as some do have repellent properties to certain insects (though most don’t perform nearly as well as DEET and other common repellents). That said, few studies have been done with fleas.

Here’s a snippet from Biorational Approaches to Flea (Siphonaptera Pulicidae) Suppression Present and Future:

Botanical insecticides. The botanical compounds pyrethrum, sabadilla, and rotenone have been recommended for flea suppression (Bishopp 1921). Limonene (Rink & Fee 1986) and linalool (Rink et al. 1988) have been hibelled for flea control. The potential exists for the development of other herbal extracts as pulicides, particularly those with folk-history such as the aptly named fleabane and pulegone from certain plants (Chatterjee et al. 1968, Sudekum etal. 1992, Nicholson 1995). Neem also has been found to be toxic to fleas (Kilonzo 1991).

To help stop bites while your son is sleeping, ensure that the bedding isn’t hanging low to the floor. Fleas can only jump to the height of a human ankle. So, they have a difficult time getting into beds unless sheets give them a route. Also, make sure the bedding is thoroughly washed. If the cat was on the bed, eggs could have fallen there. Laundering the sheets will kill any fleas on the bed, and there shouldn’t be any new eggs now that the cat has passed away.

No, they can’t survive or reproduce on human blood.

You should start seeing their numbers diminish soon. It usually takes around 8 weeks for infestations to completely resolve after the host is treated or removed. You probably have a moderate to severe infestation if you didn’t notice the fleas for a while. It gave them time to lay large amount of eggs, and those eggs will result in large amount of future adults (which you are seeing now).

It probably isn’t necessary to have an exterminator come again, as long as they sprayed an insect growth regulator (IGR), pyriproxyfen (Nylar) or methoprene (Precor), the first time. Sprays can’t penetrate well into the depth of carpets where fleas develop. So many of the fleas will survive. However, the IGR will stay active for 7 months to help prevent future re-infestations. It mimics natural insect hormones, and prevents eggs and larvae from developing. So even if new eggs fell on the the carpets, they can mature.

The best thing you can do to speed up the eradication process is to regularly vacuum. Other than that, it will just take a bit of patience while you wait for all of the immature stages to mature and emerge (as mentioned, sprays can’t penetrate into their habitats to kill them all).

hamsterofpain replied 3 months ago

Thank you for the detailed reply and answering all of my questions. You are amazing and I’m so grateful for this site. I’m very frustrated but I feel like I’m doing the right things and there will be an end. Patience.

Thanks again. ?