If you are one of those animal loving people, then you will always be in good company. In the vast majority of homes around the world there will be at least one pet.

Having a pet can bring a lot of joy as well as other benefits for both physical and mental health , however, one of the biggest problems with having an animal at home is annoying fleas.

Fleas have been with us for a long time

These small threats have a long history within civilization. Modern science has identified at least 2,000 species, including the notorious rat fleas and those that kill cats, dogs, and humans.

Because these biting insects are bloodsuckers, they are known to transmit lethal diseases to humans and animals.

Some of the earliest historical records mention small plagues that invaded homes and inflicted bites on man and beast. These pests caused death and disease centuries before the microbes were discovered. Perhaps the deadliest flea pandemic on record was the Black Death in the 14th century.

As the population of European countries increased, so did the lack of proper hygiene and sanitation. Human waste and garbage were often dumped on the streets, further polluting drinking water. With so much dirt and chaos, flea-infested rats thrived and lived in luxury.

These insects bit infected rats and then fed on human blood. Because both rats and insects carried the deadly bubonic bacteria, Europe erupted into a plague that lasted nearly seven years, costing an estimated 50 million people.

Almost three centuries later, the bubonic plague reached Britain, claiming at least 100,000 lives. The same conditions and another infestation of flea-bitten rats were the causes of this tragedy.

Bubonic plague may not be a threat in most countries in the modern world, but we still continue to fight these insects that affect the well-being of our pets and our home.

Some facts about these little monsters

These bloodsuckers may be small, but they are sturdy insects for their size. Like most insects, its life cycle is divided into four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. Did you know that the average flea can jump at least 150 times its body length?

If a 1.8 meter tall human had the same ability, he could jump up to 270 meters, which is the length of 2.5 football fields. It’s no wonder these parasitic pests have no trouble jumping out of the ground onto animals and humans.

Since fleas can live up to three months and a female generally lays 20-30 eggs at a time, infestations can occur in a matter of days.

These infernal insects use your beloved pets to invade your home, but they can also sneak into your shoes, clothes, or even through doors and windows. As they require the blood of their hosts to lay eggs and survive, they do not discriminate between hairy mammals or humans.

Fleas often leave multiple bites on their hosts that cause swelling, redness, burning, and severe itching. A very important sign that your furry little friend is infested with bloodsuckers is chronic scratching, shedding, irritated skin, and stains of fecal matter in his hair .

Fleas not only pose a blood-borne disease threat to animals and people, but they can also cause anemia, infections, and skin diseases.

These can lodge in your carpet, furniture, and sheets. Bloodsuckers can survive for up to two weeks without a parasitic food.

Fight these pests naturally

Ever since these hideous parasites began to haunt civilizations, people have tried to eradicate them in numerous ways. In the early days, people relied on natural remedies such as alum powder, sulfur, or simple salt for insect control.

These were eventually replaced by chemical solutions that were often useless or too poisonous.

Looking for a way to eradicate fleas without harming your family, pets, or the environment? You can stop the constant itching and other potential dangers of an infestation safely, efficiently, and organically. To rid your home of these pesky insects, try these ten simple home remedies.

1. Use a vacuum cleaner frequently

Waking up in the morning, getting out of bed, and placing your feet on a soft rug is a comforting feeling. Not only does it add an extra insulating layer to your floors, it adds beauty and texture to the entire home. Unfortunately, your beautiful rug can serve as the perfect shelter for certain pests like fleas.

To minimize the presence of these invaders, vacuum your carpets daily with a quality vacuum cleaner. Use a crevice and edge tool to help you reach corners and along baseboards.

After each cleaning, put the disposable cleaning bag in a small sealed garbage bag and dispose of it in an outdoor container. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the collection container in the same way.

2. A pinch of salt

Dehydration means certain death for pesky insects , including ticks and other bloodsucking insects.

For a quick and inexpensive way to dehydrate them, sprinkle some fine salt on your floors or carpets and let it sit for at least 24 hours, which will kill all the adult fleas. Then vacuum your carpet and repeat, if necessary.

3. Diatomaceous earth

Mother Nature supplies some of the best insecticides available, such as diatomaceous earth or DE. Millions of years ago, microscopic organisms called diatoms died in bodies of water, leaving countless fossilized skeletons in mud and dried clay.

For centuries, people have used ED for medicinal purposes and as a natural insecticide. It was easy to collect around lakes, rivers, and oceans. ED is safe for humans and animals but deadly for invading insects.

Unlike most members of the animal kingdom, insects do not have an internal skeleton. Instead, their bodies are covered with a shell called an exoskeleton that must be kept moist and flexible. If not, it will break open and the insect will dehydrate and die.

You can buy food-grade DE at most garden or farm equipment stores for great prices. Sprinkle DE in your yard or home to kill bloodsuckers and other harmful insects. The sharp grains of microscopic diatoms pierce the exoskeletons, which will kill these pests.

4. Sulfur

You know the pungent aroma of this element if you’ve ever smelled rotten eggs or cooked cabbage. Ancient cultures like the Egyptians appreciated sulfur as a medicine and cure for body lice. When using sulfur, be sure to spray it only lightly as it smells very strong and putting too much in is not good for your pet.

5. Use what your herb garden offers you

If you’re looking for something to rid your beloved pets and home of blood-sucking insects, why not take a walk around your herb garden?

Many of your favorite culinary herbs, like basil, lavender, oregano, and mint, are bad news for pests. Use fresh herbs or their essential oils to make a very effective flea repellent.

6. Lemons

You may enjoy the refreshing scent of fresh lemon juice, but bugs and bloodsuckers hate it. While you’re experimenting with some natural herbal insecticides, mix them up with fresh lemon juice or zest. Then mix and pour the liquid into a spray bottle.

Lemon juice can be an organic bleach, so test it on an inconspicuous surface before using it. It is a pleasant smelling spray that may even be safe for you or your pets. Refill the spray bottle with the mixture as needed.

7. Baking soda

Like salt and sulfur, baking soda is a natural ingredient that you can spray inside or outside your home to repel all kinds of nasty critters. You could also lightly sprinkle your pets and your sheets to keep bloodsucking insects at bay.

Sprinkle baking soda on the floor and upholstery, let it sit overnight, and then vacuum it up.

8. Apple cider vinegar

Scientific reports abound as to the benefits of apple cider vinegar . Not only can this be good for your health and useful around the home, it can also repel bloodsucking pests. Just add a little to a cotton ball and leave it where you see these pests.

When bathing your pets, use a little apple cider vinegar in the rinse to repel nasty fleas. Vinegar can also fight pet dander and make their coats soft and shiny. It is a cheap and totally natural home remedy.

9. Traps with liquid dish soap

Since bloodsuckers are not good swimmers, this is a very effective simple trap that will be able to clean your house in no time.

Just pour a little water into a shallow dish and add a few drops of liquid dish soap, then place it where you notice insect activity. Pests will jump in large numbers to swim a bit, however they will not get out alive.

10. Neem oil

Do your precious pets have sensitive skin or are they dealing with blood-sucking insects? Veterinarians have recommended organic neem oil for years as a natural way to deal with insects and cure animal skin diseases.

All you need to do is rub a little bit into their skin and fur to see impressive results.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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