It is a sad day indeed
When you see a flea in the RV
(Nina Fussing, 2010)
In retrospect almost anything can be poetic, and the day certainly started that way. A gentle breeze, soft sunshine on the verdant grass. I was playing a leisurely game of fetch with the dog, reading Oscar Wilde and picturing a 1920’s beach party. The usual stuff. When we’d quite satiated our senses, we drifted into the RV for a well-deserved afternoon nap.
And that’s when I saw them…
There were 20…no, actually make that 40….no, no…in fact, you can easily raise that to 100 little black bastards crawling on the floor. “Aaaaahh, fleas, fleas!” I screamed, hyperventilating and going into a minor panic. After all, we’d been at this campsite 3 days and as everyone knows fleas make their bed in the environment. The dog (or cat, or even you for that matter) are just mere snacks. The fleas hop on for a quick bite and then hop off to spend the rest of their life making merriment in your home. Also, only 5% are adults. So, those mere 100 bugs on the dog were the least of my worries. I was panicking about the thousands of potential eggs and larvae around the RV.
Now, there’s many ways to kill a flea, but we chose the least toxic, most environmental methods both for our own sake and the health of our pets. So, here’s what you can do:
1/ Vacuum, Wash and Flea-Comb: This is the safest way to deal with fleas anywhere. Lots of vacuuming, wash everything you have (soap and heat will kill fleas and their eggs), and flea-comb your pet several times/day (dunk any fleas in some soapy water to drown them). Then, do it all again, and again, and again for the next few weeks. Fleas have a several week life-cycle, so it takes persistence to get rid of them.
2/ Bathing Your Pet: If you need to bathe your pet to get rid of the 1st infestation, any regular bath that lathers will kill the adult fleas. Only do this once and then use the flea-comb so you don’t dry out pooch’s skin.
3/ Extra Help w/ Borates: If you need a little extra help in the environment, borates are a good, relatively safe choice. There’s boric acid options (Fleabusters or Fleago), or sodium tetraborate (20 Mule Team Borax – you can get this at Walmart). Sprinkle it on all your carpet (all corners) and then work it completely in with a brush until all the white powder is gone. Leave for 24-hours and then vacuum. Borates will eliminate immature fleas only, so you still need to work on the adults with #1.
4/ Extra Help For the Vacuum: I don’t use flea collars on pets due to their toxicity, but I’ve found they’re perfect for the vacuum bag. Cut off a piece and vacuum it up. It’ll kill any fleas you vacuum and save you having to change and throw away the bag every time (which can be pricy w/ central RV vacuums)
That’s pretty much it. There’s plenty of other methods, but these are the ones we chose to do. 7 days, 25 vacuums, 30 flea-combs, a pass with borates, and 3 hot clothes wash’s later and I’m happy to report there’s not a single flea left. I’ve got to keep at it for a few weeks due to the eggs, but I’m pretty confident I have this bug conquered.
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