When I did my initial research on getting rid of fleas and what are their irritants naturally found in the house, I used several characteristics of the flea to devise my trap:
a.) they are attracted to warmth and humidity (and vibration, but I couldn’t think of anything sustainable for this characteristic)
b.) baking soda dehydrates the “jumpers”
c.) very powdery salt dehydrates the “jumpers”. Easy to make yourself. Pour common table salt into a decent food processor with its steel blade.Let in run and pulse it till it becomes powedery.
d.) the soapy water trick was suggested by another site, but no mention of a light source for heat to attract.
e.) the humidity attraction flea characteristic made me think of putting light source (creating a heat source) near the water and creating a little humid microclimate (as in micro-micro-microclimate) to create the attraction.
So, and don’t laugh, well it is sort of funny when you compare what I did to the simplicity of the tea candle trap version. I have a desk lamp that when it has a 60 watt bulb in it, gets very hot. I took a large toaster oven broiler pan and put all the baking soda I had left with lots of the powdery salt into the base of the broiler pan. Took my desk lamp and rigged it such that it’s cord was coming over a snack tray that stands about a foot off the ground and giving the cord just enough tension that there was no slack in it. I placed the lamp in the center of the broiler pan.
I knew via observation, that sometimes when bugs hit a light source, they don’t always drop straight down. So I took the soapy water idea and put a series of square plastic food containers that also sit low to the ground and placed it all around the pan with the salt and baking soda mix with the desk lamp in the middle of it.
After 2 days, the square plastic containers with the soapy water had dozens of these other flies that have been nagging us and one flea. The salt/baking soda pan with the light in the middle of it had no perceivable pest of any kind in it, which I found odd, but who knows, maybe a few more fleas got in there, struggled, and got buried.
Bottom line, this was a silly idea, but helped a lot with those weird tiny flies. It at least captured one specimen of a flea.
Let me first say, we identified a live flea 9 days after window installers (around 6-10 of them wo are certified to install the windows we bought and worked diligently) and we have no pets whatsoever. I know what a flea looks like, thanks to a college roommate who brought in a stray cat from outside for about 8 hours till I got home and told her to get it the heck out of here, not only because I am deathly allergic, but they carry fleas too. Within 30 days and without pets, our apartment was infested with fleas.
With our home’s recent infestation, I checked all over my body and my husband’s. We had no bites as of that 9th day from when the installers were there. In addition, this jumping rascal was skinny, meaning not fed. So our “infestation is new”. I called our pest company and they reassured us it would die down on it’s own because as humans, we shower often and that breaks part of their cycle, even if we had bites. I then got off the phone and realized, wait a second, we were only humans when I was in college with the stray cat incident and we ended up with a major infestation.
Well during my “light trap” days, days 9-12, despite catching only one flea, I counted 12 flea bites on me. My husband none. Why? Because we both slept on the couches on the main floor and I telework in our computer room upstairs on the same floor we found the flea. That whole floor is carpeted, while the main floor the living room is on is all hardwood floors. I would be sitting in the computer room for hours and within 3 days, had 12 bites. I fear, I am the “carrier” despite showering daily, I’m helping them make eggs. With each bite, the female lays eggs and they don’t stick to our skin too well, so I’m dragging and dropping thousands of eggs all over the place. Stellar.
We vacuumed finally after I found the bites. I had forgotten that the pest company said to do that for several days every week till we don’t see anymore activity. He advised not to treat the rugs with because we had no pets, thus no “flea carriers”…. sigh. So, I have found only 1 more bite 2 days after vacuuming. While vacuuming the spare bedroom, we found that the window installers left behind a huge stiff-cloth tarp. Can you say flea haven?
Thank you for noting that there are flea trap products. I am not going to use them to try to end our “infestation”, but I will put them out after each night I do the tea lighting flea ceremony to measure if I’m having an impact on the population or not. I’ll buy about a dozen traps and put them in 3 suspected active areas and change them out daily (or take daily counts if only a few are caught/day) while floating tea candles at night and vacuuming up during the day.
Don’t forget to throw out your vacuum bags after each vacuum. It’s expensive for my bags to do it, but I can’t deal with fleas after that nightmare in my college apartment.
Also, sort of related to bug treatments, I have used boric acid an apartment that had a move in perk of cockroaches. It does scratch up the exoskeleton and they do die. I was able to create some barriers to keep the kitchen sanitary, but they were coming into our apartment from uncontrollable sources, despite it being clean they are water bugs and very attracted to water alone if you have nothing else for them. I’ve seen their outdoor cousin in the wild in a swampy area in Maryland and they are just a lighter shade of the indoor variety.
Anyway, I am hopping onto setting up the tea light candles. You can get a bag of a hundred, or something like that, cheap from Ikea, although when you can find them in bulk anywhere the prices are always good. I’m just letting readers know of an unlikely source of these bulk buys for tea candles.
Sorry this was too long. Trim at will. I just wanted to get a couple of pointers to successes and failures of mine out there.