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My daughters rental house and over 75 days of flea infestation, advice ?

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My daughter and her 3 roommates [all 1 yr just out of college] have rented an older pier & beam home that had an addition w a solid foundation to make it 4 bedrooms. because the crawl-space to the pier & beam was not secured, an animal entered and climbed into the walls of my daughters bathroom closet. She heard it scratching in the walls so she reported it to the landlord.

It was discovered that there was a sm water leak in the wall and the animal was seeking both water and prob shelter. This was the during a drought in austin tx this summer, w 30 days of straight 100+ temps and no rain. Once the wall was opened, the leak was found and fixed. he repair person said to leave the wall open until it dried out. This is when a massive flea infestation took place. If you went into the house, your white socks turned black in a matter of seconds.

I called their landlord and told him the house was uninhabitable and you needed to find a place for them to stay. He begrudgingly ok'ed an ABnB for a week. An extermination company came and did their thing, After spraying/laying powders, inside and out, then 2 weeks later. The fleas were still there. My daughter and her roommates came 2-4 times per day to vacuum up any and all eggs, larvae, etc. I am going to skip forward bc this would take too long.

After hiring another company bc the first one did not cut it, 82 days later my daughter found another flea on the flea trap in her room. She has not been able to sleep in her room in over 3+ months. The handyman, when trying to work on closing crawlspace and other, was bitten countless times on his back, neck, legs, etc My daughter had to buy a hazmat suit to go inside the house to vacuum each time, they all did, She's spent over $600 on supplies, recleaning her things, which are all in black plastic bags. This is the second time of cleaning.

In order not to make this a novel, I am seeking advice for anyone that has experienced a really bad flea infestation, what you did to rectify? More so if you were in a rental house. It's really taken a toll on her especially, bc her room has had the most and continued issues. Pls let me know what questions you have and sorry for the long post.
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
That's good to hear! (Tried to get a Hooray meme to post but couldn't).

Did anyone in your daughter's household have a dog or a cat? It sounds awfully weird to get them from transient visits by a rodent or two.
thanks again Dave...one girl [in the far, back room w the foundation floor, has a small dog. However, she travels 80% of the time and when the outbreak took place, she was out of town and her dog was w her parents in another city. when the dog needs to go to the bathroom, she picks it up [very small dog] and takes it across the street. It has, from day one, flea and tick internal and external protection It has never had a flea pulled off of it. There's also baby gates to my daughters door and the other girl that stays in the older part [P&Beam] also has a baby gate. The dog has never been in either of their rooms...I think there are fleas in the walls that are getting out via base board cracks...my opinion
 

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Personally, after the various and still ongoing treatment needs, I would not want to live there and seek legal council to get out and compensation for expenses, lost personal items, etc, if need be.

I have only dealt with a relatively minor flea issue compared to OP, one time, after our neighbors were baby sitting their daughter's dog - cool aye - Except I learned weeks later that it was because the daughter's house was being treated for fleas and what not ...

I'd never seen a flea in my life. I guess some jumped to our cats. And suddendly we had fleas in various rooms with carpets. Treated the cats. Basic remedies did not work. Ordered commercial products through the mail. Treated carpets and house top to bottom. Did some bombs, with us and the cats outside for the day, then massive house venting. Lots of vacuuming. ... Got on top of it. I'd have to look what we ordered.

But based on the infestation, commercial interventions that have not solved the issue ... time to tent the house for a week?
 

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I've not had a flea infestation for many years. Since I started useing Sevin Dust. But when I did, the fleas would only bite me and not my wife. Seriously, I of course had hairy legs and elsewhere, etc. She, my wife had very little to no hair on her body,
 

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I repeat that a legal way to get out of the lease is a good option. If the other girls wanted to stay, I would get my daughter out of there now. If I eventually, after a court battle, had to pay out her lease, at least she would be out of there. Fleas can carry flea borne typhus, plague, cat scratch fever and a myriad of other diseases. I would do everything possible to get them all, or at least my daughter, out of there now.
 

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Yike, and I thought I had a bad flea problem!

A few years ago a buddy brought a cat to my house which had kittens, and everyone got fleas that got established in the rugs.

A combination of foggers and diatomaceous earth in the rugs got rid of the fleas but it took time. (Plus de-flea-ing the kitties, over their vehement protests.)

DE works by shredding the fleas that contact it. Spread it on a rug, wait a day, then vacuum with a fresh new vacuum bag. Then, every day, keep vacuuming, using that same bag. What happens is that the DE gets into the bag, and fleas that get sucked in get shredded and killed too. Also apply new DE about once a week. I used the kind sold for pool filters (still have a bunch of it left over, no pool). It took a while, but, along with the fogging, I managed to get rid of the fleas.

Also, after, I've come to find out that growth inhibitors will work for fleas (as well as cockroaches). Using an Insect Growth Regulator for Fleas (vetinfo.com)

The growth inhibitor kills the larvae by preventing them from moulting and reaching maturity.
I just read that food-grade diatomaceous earth has less silica. A good thing.
Fleas can live 100 days.
 

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You want nasty silica against the fleas, trust me.

I think I'll CraigsList my box of DE.
I don't want silicosis or to give it to my cats.

I wouldn't worry about one flea. It might have been dying.

The only time I experienced fleas that bad was in a motel. There were fleas on the surface of the bathwater! My cats had no fleas because of Advantage, the topical flea medicine.
 

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I don't want silicosis or to give it to my cats.

I wouldn't worry about one flea. It might have been dying.
All of that is the whole point of vacuuming after you put it down.

The big point is that there's no one thing but a number of things to do about fleas when you have them badly.

They haven't come back to me, so far. One big help is keeping the cats inside, though it's not the only thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
No carpet except for an area rug that fits under her bed...all hardwood floors and cement...but the HW floors are really old and have cracks in them...they were heavily sprayed w liquids and dusted 4-6 diff times w all kinds of powerful licensed only chemicals. The girls were told to vacuum daily for the eggs. They did so 2-3 times per day and tossed the bags into a garbage can. They've logged over 130 hrs of vacuuming...Her area rug is at a carpet cleaning place. I have the pad and I'm spraying, then power washing and drying...

Here's a question: If they are in the walls [sheetrock], what should be done, in specific terms? My daughter has been sleeping on an uncomfortable couch and at friends homes during the last spraying to see what comes to her lighted flea traps. So far only one flea, but as in the past other sets of flea traps [this is the 5th set and 7-8 traps/set around the house and bedrooms], it starts w one then 4-5 more after 7-10 add'l days.

The worst thing in my daughters mind that causes a lot of stress, is if she puts all her things back, a female flea or fleas emerge, eggs lain, then her things need to be washed/cleaned/tossed again for a 3rd time. Also going to bed w the thought of her not knowing if or not fleas will show up that night is disturbing too. Landlord thinks 1-2 fleas here and there is not too much to worry about, considering there were 1000's of them previously. My daughter did state that what she has learned here, she will forever carry forward when either renting another place or other...she's 23.

Thanks again, tstex
 

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Understood, though I had fleas up the wazoo, as they say, and I was able to get rid of them.

Sounds like a lease breaker, though I don't know how that works in Texas.

Let us know what happens, whatever happens. And, in any event, hope your daughter and her roommates are okay.

One more biological thing: fleas, as a group don't bite people. They much much prefer critters like cats, dogs, rats, etc., with all that fur to hide them, and much more tender skin. (An entomologist advised that we're like 'gators compared to their usual prey.) A female flea, to lay eggs, has to have a meal of blood first, which means she has to bite a critter first. Finding one flea isn't a big thing, if it's a male or a female looking for a rat cat or dog to bite. That said, I can also understand the collective anxiety.
They like heat & most warm-blooded animals are warmer than us.
 

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No carpet except for an area rug that fits under her bed...all hardwood floors and cement...but the HW floors are really old and have cracks in them...they were heavily sprayed w liquids and dusted 4-6 diff times w all kinds of powerful licensed only chemicals. The girls were told to vacuum daily for the eggs. They did so 2-3 times per day and tossed the bags into a garbage can. They've logged over 130 hrs of vacuuming...Her area rug is at a carpet cleaning place. I have the pad and I'm spraying, then power washing and drying...

Here's a question: If they are in the walls [sheetrock], what should be done, in specific terms? My daughter has been sleeping on an uncomfortable couch and at friends homes during the last spraying to see what comes to her lighted flea traps. So far only one flea, but as in the past other sets of flea traps [this is the 5th set and 7-8 traps/set around the house and bedrooms], it starts w one then 4-5 more after 7-10 add'l days.

The worst thing in my daughters mind that causes a lot of stress, is if she puts all her things back, a female flea or fleas emerge, eggs lain, then her things need to be washed/cleaned/tossed again for a 3rd time. Also going to bed w the thought of her not knowing if or not fleas will show up that night is disturbing too. Landlord thinks 1-2 fleas here and there is not too much to worry about, considering there were 1000's of them previously. My daughter did state that what she has learned here, she will forever carry forward when either renting another place or other...she's 23.

Thanks again, tstex
Bug repellant does work to repel fleas if she is afraid. The kind you would normally spray on yourself before you go outside with mosquitoes. They have a wipe now.
 

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Fleas typically need a host.

Any "critters" under the house or in the attic, racoons, squirrels, opossums, stray cats?

Fleas are know to carry tape worm eggs.

If an animal shallows a flea that contains an egg, they will get tape worms.

Just had one of my three cats have a tape worm.

Treatable with over the counter medication.

Years ago one of the bug killing companies sold these sticky trays that went into a holder that had a light on it.

The light and the heat from the light attracted the fleas that then got stuck in the sticky tray.

This one uses the same method of catching fleas that the one I had.


Also carried on Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Thanks Texican and others...yes, she has the sticky tray w light in her bedroom...they had about 7-8 of them throughout the house over the last 4-6 weeks doing flea counts....so far she's only had 1 flea in 2 weeks so things are getting better. Her rent for nov was reduced by 90%.
 
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