A flea infestation is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. If the infestation is not contained during the initial stages, the only way to make your house free of fleas again is to call in professional pest control services. These services usually charge a lot of money. They also use harsh chemicals and gases to clean your house, making it uninhabitable for a long while. More importantly, if the root cause of the infestation is not weeded out, your house will become a sanctuary for fleas again in no time. Natural remedies that wipe out the infestation gradually is, thus, a much better option.
What are sand fleas?
More often than not, the term “sand fleas” is erroneously used as an umbrella term to describe any and all insects that leave welts on the skin. However, sand mites are a particular type of pests that are found mainly in coastal regions and occasionally in desert regions as well. They belong to the crustacean family but are significantly smaller than crabs and lobsters. When these fleas come in contact with your skin, they leave painful and itchy bumps. If not treated in time, the welts might become red in color and leave bad scars on your skin.
Dangers of sand fleas
Before we get to what kills sand fleas, we need to first understand what makes them harmful. As mentioned earlier, they leave itchy and painful bumps and scars on your skin(1). Female mites sometimes lay their eggs under your skin, which is why traveling to sandy or marshy places with cuts or open wounds is always discouraged. Infestations occur when these fleas find a cozy home in your towels or clothes and are therefore carried back to your home. Using beach chairs instead of laying yourself or your towel directly on the sand is advisable as is wearing closed-toe shoes.
Keep away from chemicals
While chemicals like DEET and permethrin act quickly and effectively, it is a much safer decision to get rid of sand fleas naturally. DEET, for instance, can cause skin and eye irritations. Prolonged exposure can cause irreparable damage to the nervous system. P-mentane-3,8-diol(2) is yet another chemical that is commonly found in your typical commercial sand fleas repellent. Research indicates that it may cause damage to one’s internal organs and may prove carcinogenic upon ingestion. Families with pets and children cannot risk having them near these chemicals. Natural preparations with relatively safer ingredients are a better alternative.
Without further delay, here are 11 of the best remedies to get rid of sand fleas in your home fast. Even better, you can prepare all these remedies at home!
1. Essential oils
You will need some essential oils to prepare this home remedy, but the resultant mixture is one of the best ways to eliminate fleas from your home. Take a spray bottle and fill half of it with witch hazel. Add 2 teaspoons each of lavender oil, tea tree oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, liquid cedar extract, cinnamon, clove and calendula oil. Fill the remnant of the bottle with organic coconut oil. Stir the contents well and shake the bottle before using. You can also spray the mixture on your skin before heading out to the beach.
2. Disinfectant and baby oil
Disinfectants and baby oils are two of the most thorough and potent ingredients to control flea infestations. They are readily available over the counter and are quite affordably priced. Make sure, however, that the disinfectant you will be purchasing lists chloroxylenol as one of its ingredients. Chloroxylenol has antimicrobial properties that helps combat viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Take a spray bottle and fill it with equal amounts of the disinfectant, the baby oil, and rubbing alcohol. Spray it generously in and around the house. Take care to keep pets and infants away from the disinfected spots, however, as ingesting the solution can prove fatal to one’s health.
3. Salt water
Historically, salt had been appropriated by some ancient cultures as a legitimate medicinal guard against the spread of infections and topical skin irritations. It continues to be a major component of most modern medicines. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to water and stir until the particles of salt get dissolved in the water. In case salt is not available, baking soda can also be used as an equally powerful substitute. Besides spraying it strategically in and around the house, you can also use this mixture as a source of relief from flea bites by dapping it on the welts. It also helps deal with lice in hair.
4. Milk powder
Milk contains lactic acid which can repel fleas, mites, and other pests. Its viscosity also makes it difficult for the fleas to move around. For this recipe, you will need about two tablespoons of powdered milk or baby formula, whichever is readily available. Add a quarter cup’s worth of water to the powder to create a paste. You may also add a teaspoon of salt to the mixture to enhance its effectiveness even further. Take a cotton ball and dip it into the mixture. Dab the soaked cotton on your clothes, the corners of your closet, your towels or any other place you think might be infested with sand fleas.
5. Cactus juice
Cactus juice is available over the counter at local pharmacies in pre-packaged bottles, but if you wish to prepare it yourself to ensure that it is 100% organic, you can easily do so as well. You will require a stick of cactus, which you can purchase at a farmer’s market or at a botanist’s. Make sure that the stick is as freshly cut as possible because the juice gradually tends to dry upon coming in contact with air. You can spray it in-house or apply it on your clothes. Adding a dash of aloe to the juice helps it become a gel that you can easily apply on your skin.
6. Vinegar and lemon extract
Both vinegar and lemon are acidic in nature, and their combined effect becomes overbearing for sand mites. You can prepare this treatment at home, with a liter of vinegar and 500 milliliters of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Combine the vinegar with the lemon juice and add half a cup of water to the mixture. Stir the contents well to ensure thorough mixing. Shake the bottle well before using it every time. Linens, towels and other fabrics in the home need to be washed before applying this mixture to prevent unseemly bleaching. Avoid using the mixture in your garden as the content is too acidic for your plants to tolerate.
7. Diatomaceous earth
Although it sounds like a very complicated remedy, diatomaceous earth is basically soil that contains fossilized algae and other diatoms. It can be ordered online. However, make sure that the company selling you the packet of earth is a reputed one to ensure its originality. It kills sand fleas by draining water from their bodies and dehydrating them to death. This is one of the few sand flea repellant remedies that can be used in yard. All you need to do is sprinkle the dirt over infested areas. If you have pets and infants at home, opting for the food-grade version of the product would be a safer decision.
8. Rosemary powder
Rosemary is the ideal choice for those living on sandy or marshy land and people who have recently rid their homes of fleas. It works best if used before the infestation setting in or during the early stages. Since sand fleas can travel in home, the rosemary powder needs to be sprinkled within the four walls of your house. Take some dried rosemary along with some wormwood and fennel, and grind the herbs into a fine powder. You may even add peppermint to the mixture if you would like to. Since it is an herbal concoction, it is completely safe to use it in homes with kids or pets.
9. Oil lamps
Burning oil lamps should be considered to be more of a preventive measure than a combative one. The heat from these lamps gets imparted to the surroundings as well making it very uncomfortable for sand fleas to inhabit. Burning citronella candles is a somewhat better alternative to ordinary lamps. However, make sure that the lamps or the candles do not burn for a prolonged period of time. Besides the usual fire hazards, the heat can actually raise the overall temperature of your home, making it humid and also damage furniture and wall paint. Care should be taken to ensure that only the heavily infested areas are subjected to this remedy.
10. Citrus spray
Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, lime are quite acidic in nature. They make for an excellent organic method to remove all signs of a sand flea infestation from your home. It also doubles as a splendid medicine to treat wasp stings. Immerse a freshly cut, thin slice of lemon in a cup of water and bring it to boil. Let the juice sit overnight. The following morning, pour it into a spray bottle and use it on any surface that you feel might be prone to flea infestations. It can be applied to dogs, human, your body as well without causing an adverse impact. Simply dampening the surface will suffice.
11. Horse apple
Horse apple has long been used to treat infestations of all kinds within homes – sand fleas, termites, gnats, and others. Divide each horse apple into two halves. Place each half in an infested corner, or you could simply place half an apple in each room of your house. The apples will usually last around a week before they begin to rot, which is the cue for you to replace them with fresh apples. Visible results can generally be seen within a month or two. While purchasing the apples, make sure that they are fresh and whole. Dried apples or ones that have already been cut tend to lose their potency.
It is always a wise decision to undertake necessary steps to prevent fleas and pests from invading your home. Number one on that list is keeping your home and its neighboring areas clean. Not only does this remove chances of a possible sand flea infestation, but it also protects your house from other pests like bugs, ticks, and possums. Regularly taking out the trash is a step forward in this direction. Sand fleas prefer cooler temperatures to warmer ones, which is why you should steam your clothes and the nooks and crannies of your house, especially after coming back from the beach.
Prevention is always better than cure, which is why if you happen to live by the sea or an area with sandy terrain, it is better to take preventive measures to ward off any infestation that might take place in the future. Additionally, you should also adopt these measures if you have recently had to deal with mites in your home to prevent them from finding their way back.
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