Written by April Reinhardt (last updated July 26, 2008)
When we think of fleas, most likely we think of pet animals, such as cats or dogs, as hosts. Yet people who do not own pets can have flea infestations of their homes. Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of their host, so they are classified as parasites. The bubonic plague and typhus was transmitted between rodents and humans by fleas carrying bacteria, making them not only an annoying parasite, but a transmitter of fatal disease. If left unchecked, a sighting of a few fleas can multiply into a dangerous infestation in a matter of a few months.
Flea eggs left on a host fall off and accumulate in cars, rugs, beds, clothing, furniture, and just about anywhere or anything a host travels or uses. The eggs hatch in about two weeks as larvae, and living in bedding and carpets for up to seven months before transforming into the next stage of legless pupae. The pupae may remain dormant until conditions are right to morph into an adult flea, and sometimes that dormant stage can last over a year. Little wonder than many generations of fleas will accumulate within a house in just a few months and, within a year's time, a home can become utterly infested.
If you have fleas in your home, one of the best ways to kill them is with borax. Made by the Dial Corporation, 20 Mule Team Borax has been manufactured for over 100 years, and has many uses beyond the laundry booster for which it was originally intended. Many people have discovered one of those uses is as a pesticide to kill fleas. Not to be confused with boric acid, 20 Mule Team Borax is borax decahydrate, also known as sodium borate decahydrate and sodium tetraborate decahydrate, and contains a portion of boric acid. When used as a flea pesticide, 20 Mule Team Borax breaks down the cell wall of the flea, killing it instantly and over time. Follow these tips and guidelines to use borax to kill fleas in your home:
Wash all bedding, throw rugs, curtains, and any other removable fabrics in hot water and borax. Dry those items in your dryer on high heat, if possible. Retreat your entire home every few weeks, repeating the steps above. Continue the regiment over a course of two years, and you should never have a flea problem again.
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