Carpet and rug cleaning is one of several weapons to be used in the control of flea infestations in the home. Carpet, rugs, upholstery and other fabrics are among many hiding places for adult fleas and their cocoons, larvae and eggs. Carpet and upholstery is also a good repository for food scraps, eggs, faeces, hair shed skins and other organic matter. These usually become a rich source of nutrients for these pests.
Adult fleas live on mammals, including humans and pets, particularly dogs and cats, and feed on blood. Although the female flea can live without blood for up to 100 days, she needs to ingest blood before she can lay eggs, usually within 48 hours of her blood meal. Within two days to two weeks, the eggs turn into larvae and then pupae which settle into a cocoon and wait for a live host to come near. Then they jump unto the warm body and begin their life cycle again. Although they are very tiny, fleas can jump up to six feet to reach a host. This is not normally necessary though, since pets and humans often rest on carpet, rugs and upholstered furniture where the fleas reside at various stages of their life cycle.
Fleas do not spend most of their life cycle on the host. Typically, 5 percent will be adult fleas on pets, and lurking in the carpet, there will be 10 percent flea cocoons, 35 percent larvae, and 50 percent eggs.
It is important to get rid of fleas because apart from the irritation caused by flea bites, serious diseases may be transmitted while they are sucking blood. These include bubonic plague, murine typhus, chigger infection of the feet, tapeworm and allergies.
Fleas can hibernate without feeding for up to one year, and so all stages must be killed to get rid of them completely. One hatched cocoon can produce up to one trillion descendants in her adult life span.
The secret to proper flea control is consistency and diligence.
The first step in eliminating fleas from carpet, rugs and furnishings, is to vacuum frequently with a powerful vacuum cleaner. If you are using a household vacuum cleaner, make sure the disposable bag or the canister is emptied into the trash can outside after every vacuuming. Next, use a carpet cleaning shampoo machine regularly. If you don’t own one yourself, it may be rented from a department store or janitorial supplies shop.
Your best option is to use the carpet cleaning services of a professional carpet cleaner every three to six months. Their powerful carpet cleaning machines will be good enough to extract fleas in their various life stages from the carpet and rug and other furnishings. Many professional cleaners will also use hot, steaming water, and citrus based solvents containing d-limone which will repel or kill fleas. They also use crevice tools for carpet and furniture, which can extract all phases of these pests from corners and crevices where they love to hide.
Remember though, that no flea control program can be complete without treating your pets and eliminating fleas from your car, garage, and lawn. If you have any doubts, call in a professional pest controller.