WE HAVE FLEAS!!!
We did not have fleas before moving into this house, I would know as I am incredibly susceptible to pretty much all bug bites and could NEVER live with fleas on the reg. For instance, check out how swollen my foot got when I was bitten by a yellow fly two summers ago:
There’s a definite mosquito problem outside which led to lots of bites and itchiness, so I missed the new bites I was getting when inside. We also have three cats, so the tiny bloodsuckers congregate on our sons and not us making their transition here harder, but again we were less apt to notice when the cats were already acting weird.
I did, however, notice my feet and ankles getting a little itchy when first getting out of bed, or I’d get a random itchy spot on my hip, and the tell-tale raised white bump that mosquitoes leave would be missing in favor of a much smaller red bump. But no, I told myself, we hadn’t dealt with fleas for years, there was no way, even in this house that was formerly home to six dogs, that the universe would bless us with the closest thing to a plague I’d ever experienced. There aren’t fleas here.
I looked down at Bart this morning and saw a black spot on his face, and when I went to wipe it away, IT BURROWED INTO HIS THICK, LUSCIOUS FACE FUR. Horrified, I jumped on him like a bucking steer at a rodeo, and even against his freakish strength of ten panthers plus an obese tuxedo cat, I wrestled him into submission and dug that fucker off of his nose to pierce between my own cat-like claws. It was indeed a flea, and I knew: where there is one, there are hundreds.
Anything that sucks your blood is abhorrent to me (except vampires). Fleas, mosquitoes, leeches (bats are okay though, I guess it’s just bugs): I hate them all. I don’t eat most meat because I don’t want to hurt animals, but fuck me if I don’t get the sickest satisfaction from catching and drowning a big fat fucking flea. I mean, I’ll avoid stepping on ants, I’ll catch and release spiders, I’ll rescue earthworms from a fiery death on the sidewalk, but I will happily chase and smash a mosquito, I’ll even let the fucker land on me and bite before smearing its guts and my own blood across my thigh. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I’ll own completely. When it comes to fleas, I am a monster.
Thankfully, we’re pretty well equipped to rid ourselves of a flea infestation. Really, you only need two things: diatomaceous earth and willpower. We used flea medicine like Frontline on the cats in the distant past, but Bart especially hated it. He’d foam at the mouth and throw us off him, and it never really worked. Our cats didn’t go outside, so why the fuck didn’t the meds get rid of the fleas in one go? Oh, because they don’t really work. Got it.
What does work is food grade diatomaceous earth (the food grade part is VERY important, none of that pool stuff). You sprinkle it all over your house like you’re about to roll out dough on your carpets (that’s a fucking gross visual), and then you rub it into your pet’s fur. The DE doesn’t poison the bugs, it literally slices through their exoskeletons and without their crunchy outsides, bugs dehydrate and die! It slices up egg sacks too, and it works in a really short time, just a few hours in fact. You vacuum it up a day or so later and repeat the process after a week for three or four weeks to get any new hatchlings that survived the first dustings. Yes, it’s a hassle, and it’s messy, but it’s organic, and it actually works.
The worst part is that it can be really drying to your pet’s skin. I know our cats aren’t super fond of it, but they certainly hate it less than flea medicine, and they can lick this stuff all they want without fear of being poisoned. It’s also not great to breathe in. It won’t cut up your lungs like some places (specifically pest control companies) claim, but it can make you cough just like any very fine powder (flour, sugar, cocaine).
So I spent the morning dusting the house, and then I sat down with each cat and combed out some fleas. I like to do this and get as much as I can off first because I’d rather the fleas not die on the cats and then have them lick the dead bugs off and eat them. I know they’re bound to do this with the eggs and some carcasses, but the fewer, the better. I get a bowl of water with some dish detergent in it, a flea comb, and paper towel, and I comb through their fur, specifically their neck and butt, and drown the fleas and eggs I get. I then flush the water because fleas are the most resilient fuckers on the planet, and I’ve seen them climb up and OUT OF THE SINK DRAIN before. I hate seeing these things come off my little buddies, but I love watching them die. I know that’s a little sick to say, but I have such a deep hatred for fleas, the way they multiply, hide, move so quickly, and cause so much pain and discomfort and even sickness, I just want them eradicated from the entire planet!
So that’s my next couple weeks: dusting, vacuuming, picking, laundry. And of course I’m still unpacking. And I need some furniture (a dresser is most pressing). Thankfully we have a fridge and a washer and dryer now, so things are slowly getting easier.
Except Husband and I went out today to run errands and stopped to get Chinese and now we both have what I’m 99% sure is food poisoning. But a little diarrhea can’t stop me. A lot might, but just a little? No shitting way.