How to Get Rid of Fleas on Hardwood Floors Without Harming the Wood
Do you think you have a flea infestation in your hardwood floor? Maybe your pet is just itching themselves all the time and you want to make sure that you don't have any fleas all over your house? In this article, we take a look at the signs that you'll need to watch for, as well as how to treat your hardwood floors when you have a flea infestation.
Controlling fleas on uncarpeted surfaces can be a challenge. That’s because you’re limited to using treatments that don’t have water in them. Having fleas hide out on or inside wooden floors is even more complex, given how sensitive they are and how easy they can be damaged.
Water breaks down wood and ultimately ruins your floor. But with the right tools and dry treatments, you can properly rid your home of fleas that may be all over your hardwood floors. There are also some activities you’ll want to prevent yourself from doing to ensure there’s no damage.
While there are several ways you may be able to prevent and get rid of fleas on hardwood, we will take a deeper look at those that are most effective. Let’s jump in!
Can Fleas Infest Hardwood?
Fleas can infest hardwood, despite popular belief that they don’t While they need a host to attach themselves to, they will hide in between the cracks waiting for an unsuspecting host. They can be brought into your home by you, your pets, or rodents.
The most common hosts that fleas will then latch onto will be your pets, as they are closest to the floor. While fleas can attach to humans, it’s more common they will find a pet as a host. If they can latch on, they will reproduce causing an infestation that may continue to spread around through your home and on your floors.
Identifying Fleas in Hardwood Floors
While it’s not hard to identify when your pet may have become infested with fleas, catching them on hardwood is a bit trickier. There are a few things you’ll want to watch for in order to see if fleas have made their way into your hardwood floors.
Flea Eggs: Flea eggs are small and white. They are often mistaken for dandruff and can be difficult to identify if you aren’t experienced in treating them. If you have found flea eggs on your pet, in your carpet, or on your floors, it’s imperative to exterminate them and start treatment right away.
Flea Feces: Look for a dirt-like substance with a reddish tint. This is flea feces, that has a tint of blood to it. It’s referred to as “flea dirt.” Seeing this around your house or on your floors may be a sign of infestation.
Itching Pet: Is your pet scratching themselves excessively? If so, there’s a possibility that your cat or dog has an infestation that will need to be treated. You’ll need to look around on your wood floors to make sure no eggs or fleas have been dropped, waiting for a new host.
Getting Rid of Fleas on Wood Floors
There are many different methods to eliminate fleas on your wooden floors. Next up, we will look at the three most common ways. We will also cover the benefits and the drawbacks to each. If you are having an issue and cannot exterminate these pests through self-treatment, we’d recommend contacting a pest control professional.
Widely used for many purposes, boric acid is friendly to wooden floors. It doesn’t backfire with stubborn stains, and it doesn’t weaken a wood’s structure. According to eHow, its hygroscopic property can even help absorb water from the water-damaged parts of the wood, protecting it from rot.
Sprinkle a good amount of the powder on your floor, and leave it there for 1 to 2 days. Make sure to cover the entire floor and not leave out crevices and dark corners. You should also sprinkle this product on your furniture, upholstery and inside wall cracks just in case the fleas are hiding there.
Boric acid has devastating effects on fleas. If ingested, it damages their stomachs and nervous system. Its jagged particles can also slice through the insect’s exoskeleton and wreak havoc inside, absorbing all the moisture and severely dehydrating the flea.
Just remember though. Boric acid or borax can be hazardous to everyone in the house. If a substantial amount is inhaled or eaten, it can cause serious health issues for both pets and humans.
A commercial product, Precor 2000 is designed for any surface even though it’s liquid. This product is an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), not a pesticide. It targets the developing fleas rather than the mature ones.
The product works by stopping eggs and larvae from maturing into adults, so it can effectively and steadily dwindle a population down with continuous usage.
Just spray a bottle in an area in your house, and leave it to dry. Don’t let anyone near that place unless it has completely dried. Also, remember to vacuum before spraying. You’ll eliminate more fleas this way. Repeat this every 14 days to make sure no flea eggs and larvae are spared.
Another dry treatment is food-grade diatomaceous earth. It’s a powdery substance that’s made from the sediments, fossils of diatoms that lived millions of years ago. Diatomaceous Earth works to prevent and treat fleas, as well as many other insects.
Like boric acid, food grade diatomaceous earth is hygroscopic. It also punctures insects’ waxy exoskeletons and absorbs all the water inside their bodies. However, it’s safer and less toxic, making applying it easier for houses with kids and pets.
Use diatomaceous earth like you’d use boric acid. Toss a good amount on your floor, and make sure to cover all the nooks and crannies.
What Not to Use
There are plenty of suggestions on the internet on how to terminate and prevent fleas on wooden floors. A lot of them are based on water which might be effective in fleas but can ruin your floors. They double your bills for repairs and professional cleanup jobs, actually doing more harm than good.
What makes mopping disastrous is not just the water you’re using. Its bristles drag fleas and transfer them, not kill them. So you’ll just be displacing these pesky insects instead of getting rid of them.
Steamers make water even more potent for wood. With the combination of high temperature and water, the steam can break down the wood’s protective layer, making it susceptible to soaking up more water. This creates stains and invites rot, fungi and even more pests.
There’s a salt treatment circulating the internet that claims to eliminate fleas. Even though this hasn’t been proven yet, tossing salt on hardwood floors causes stains that need professional help to clean up. So it makes us wonder whether you should bet on a stain-inducing treatment that hasn’t been proven yet or just go for the better ones.
If you have a habit of sweeping floors, you better stop. Sweeping disperses fleas and lets them occupy even more areas in the house. You should switch to vacuuming because it eradicates dirt as well as fleas.
Finally, knowing how to get rid of fleas on hardwood floors is only half the battle. You should also treat your pets and use repellents. There’s no rule that says you can’t combine flea-killing methods. After all, you can’t win a battle with just one weapon in your arsenal.
Just make sure there are no chemical clashes that could cause some type of dangerous chemical reaction. If you are struggling with the right method, it’s always safe to contact a trained professional for the job.
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