Is your home being invaded by an army of teeny tiny pests? Flea & bed bug infestation can be an aggravating thing to deal with, especially when you and your pets are being attacked.
If you feel like you have tried everything under the sun to exterminate fleas, you’re probably feeling quite defeated at the moment.
Do bed bug traps work for fleas too? Yes, bed bug traps will trap fleas that enter. But, a bed bug trap will not be able to draw out the fleas from hiding, nor will it be an efficient enough method for exterminating either bed bugs or fleas. Combined with other products & tactics, you should be able to live bug free.
Keep reading to learn all about the differences in these two bugs, and what you can do to fix the problem. Traps, sprays, bite identification…it’s all here!
It’s a trap!
Just the thought of a bed bug or flea makes most people uneasy, and might even give you a phantom itch as your skin feels like it is crawling with critters.
Having a home infestation of any kind will force you to take action, either on your own, or calling in professional help.
Traps are a first step to control fleas. But, unfortunately, it’s not enough.
Traps are designed to catch bugs, but keep in mind they only work for bugs that enter into it. other methods go after the bugs, getting into places traps will never reach.
Bed bug traps vs flea traps
Bed bug traps differ from flea traps because they are typically attracted to different things. Fleas like warmth & moisture, whereas bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide…the same gas you emit when exhaling. Which explains why they bite around the head and neck area the most.
Remember when approaching your infestation that bed bugs do not jump or fly, only crawl. But, bed bugs are super adaptable and can live through a lot including starvation, temperature changes, and other environmental changes.
For more information on how to get rid of bed bugs, check out our 4 part series on how to get rid of Bed Bugs.
How to tell the difference
What’s eating you? Something is taking tiny bites of you in the middle of the night, and you aren’t quite sure what it is? If you are waking up itching and scratching tiny red bumps, don’t delay any further. Let’s take a closer look at the signs.
Time to examine your spots. While bed bugs and fleas both require a warm body to feast on, they don’t typically feast in the same areas. In most cases a bed bug will attack the torso, or upper half of the body of a human. Areas around the face, neck and arms.
When dealing with flea bites, look for bumps to be in the lower half of your body, typically in warm moist areas like your inner elbow and behind your knees. Feet and ankles are also a popular spot for fleas.
The Difference In Bed Bug Bites and Flea Bites
The best way to tell the difference between a bed bug bite and a flea bit is the location of the bite on your body. Bed bugs typically go for the torso, and fleas go for the lower half of your body.
You may not feel when a bed bug initially bites you, but they leave behind raised itchy bumps with a clear or dark center, bumps or welts in a straight or zigzagged line. May turn into blisters, or cause hive like reaction.
Fleas are tiny little blood suckers. They can not fly, but they can jump incredible distances, compared to the length of their body- over half a foot! Flea bites look like small red dots, which may appear in clusters of two or three spots. A small red “halo” may appear around the bite, signaling fleas.
Fleas can burrow under your skin, causing an infection called tungiasis. They live as long as two weeks, but still causing major discomfort & local infection.
- Flea bites:
- Usually in warmer, moist areas of the body
- Often in the lower half of the body
- Bites are small, red dots
- Some flea bites have a small red halo around the bite
- Bed Bug Bites:
- Usually on the neck, face, and upper parts of the body
- Raised itchy bumps
- Often in clusters or a zig-zag line
Protecting your pets
Most often, people acquire a flea problem from their pets. The second most common way is through a mice infestation. If your problem is mice, check out How To Keep Rats And Mice Away From Cars
The “dog flea” is a species that lives as an ectoparasite on a wide variety of mammals.
One of the most effective steps you can take to protect your pets is to give them regular baths. A good bath will wash most of the fleas off your pet and help to reduce the flea population.
A flea treatment from the vet will kill the fleas that are on your pets within a matter of days.
But, the fight is not over.
You will also need to treat your pet’s bedding, and the rest of your home. Toss bedding into the washer & dryer (on the hottest setting) to kill all fleas & eggs.
Use DE to sprinkle on floors & baseboards. Wait a few days, and vacuum it up.
Let’s cover some additional home remedies you can take to get rid of fleas. (Many of these are much cheaper and just as effective as the commercial flea traps).
DIY- Flea Trap
Fleas are attracted to warmth and light. So, homemade flea traps will be most effective when they use warmth or light (or both).
In addition several common substances are super harmful to fleas. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to trap and kill fleas.
#1 DIY Flea Trap With Tea Light Candles
10 battery operated tea light candles (Dollar store candles work great)
10 shallow bowls or pie pans (The Dollar store also sells these)
Fill bowls with approximately ¾ cup of water each. Mix 2 TBS of dish soap into the water until it is dissolved. Turn on the tea light candles and add them into the bowls of water.
Change the water daily.
How this trap works: The light attracts the fleas to the water. The dish soap breaks the surface tension on the water and the fleas drown in the water and are killed by the dish soap.
Alternative: You can also try this trap by shining a lamp on the water instead of using a tea light.
#2 DIY Sticky Flea Trap
Glue sticky trap
Steps: The other type of commercial flea trap involves glue and light. You can mimic this type of flea trap by purchasing the sticky spider or rodent traps that lay flat or fold into a box.
Keep the glue trap flat and place it on a warm spot such as a heater vent. Don’t place it in an area that gets super warm, just a place that is a little warmer than the surrounding area.
You can also shine a lamp on the glue trap.
The warmth and light will attract the fleas and they will stick to the glue trap.
#3 DIY Flea Spray for Pet Bedding.
2 Fresh Rosemary cuttings 2-3 inches big
Boil 2 cups of water.
Steps: Boil the water. Add 2 slices of lemon and 2 fresh Rosemary cuttings to the water. Boil for 5 minutes. Cool water and strain.
Add the strained water to a water bottle and spray on your pet’s bedding and favorite areas. You can also spray it on couches, chairs and other areas where you are bothered by fleas.
How it works: The acidity of the lemon and the strong scent of rosemary are unpleasant to the fleas. It helps to kill the young fleas and keep new fleas away.
DIY Flea Killer For Carpets
Vacuuming is one of the most effective steps you can take against fleas. But, you can make your vacuuming even more effective.
Three separate household items are very effective in killing fleas. You don’t need to add all three ingredients, simply choose one of them and use it to help kill the fleas in your carpet and floors.
#4 Home Remedy For Fleas In Your Carpet: Salt
Salt is very bad for fleas. It dries them out and kills them.
In order for salt to be the most effective, it should be very fine salt. Finely ground sea salt will work the best.
You should have salt that is fine enough to not show crystals. If you use table salt- try blending it in your blender in small quantities to break it down further.
Sprinkle the salt into your carpet. Let it sit a couple of days and vacuum it up.
After vacuuming, spread more salt into your carpets.
You will kill more fleas and will vacuum up dead and live fleas to help contain them.
#5 Home Remedy For Fleas: Baking Soda
Another effective remedy that kills fleas is baking soda. Baking soda harms hatched fleas and prevents them from growing or reproducing.
Sprinkle baking soda into your carpets. Use a hard brush to brush the soda deeper into your carpets.
Let it sit two days and vacuum up. This will help you to more quickly control the fleas living in your carpets and rugs.
#6 Home Remedy That Kills Fleas: Dichotomous Earth.
DE powder is a fine off-white powder, otherwise known as diatomaceous earth. Which is fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. Their skeletons are made up of a natural substance called silica.
It basically shreds their exoskeleton.
How does it work?
Diatomaceous earth works through the silica, which causes the insects to dry out and die by absorbing fats and oils from the cuticles of the insect’s exoskeleton. It’s microscopic sharp edges are abrasive, which speed up the process.
DE comes in food grade and non-food grade quality. If you are using it in your home, I’d purchase the food grade DE. Also, be aware that breathing DE can cause itching and other issues for many people.
So, use it with care. That’s why it’s last on my list instead of first.
Fleas are bothersome and irksome, but you don’t have to put up with them or spend aton of money. ou can get rid of fleas with some consistency and homemade traps.