Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Now that the trauma is over and I've been through therapy, I can share with you what's been bugging (that's a pun even if you don't recognize it) me all summer and keeping me from blogging regularly. It was the fleas.

When I was young, we lived in south Georgia and we constantly battled fleas. Back then, they didn't have those treatments that you could give a dog that actually worked. You just had to keep bathing the dog and spraying and putting Sevin dust in the yard. Since we always had dogs, we also almost always had fleas on the dog, which meant we always had flea bites. And those little boogers loved me. I woke up many many mornings with a ring of fresh flea bites around my sock line. In the winter, we'd have just enough cold weather to make them go into hibernation (or whatever it is fleas do in the winter) until spring, but it was never cold enough to actually completely kill them.

When we moved to Florida eight years or so ago, I had not had to battle fleas for 20 years and was expecting to have to start again because we had three dogs and were moving into the most hot and humid area of the country -- heaven for fleas. But oddly enough, we didn't ever have a flea problem. If we ever thought we might be starting to have a flea problem, we put the dogs on Revolution and they were fine.

However, last year, I had to put the dogs on flea control for the first time in three or four years. Then two of the dogs died/disappeared and only Chance was left. Chance swims in the brackish creek pretty regularly (up until he nearly got eaten by the alligator), so he was okay over the winter. Well, spring hit this year and all of a sudden we had the flea infestation from Hades. So we put flea treatment on the dog, bombed the house (three times), gave the dog regular flea baths, sprayed everything in the house many many times, and treated our 1.5 acres with flea granules (twice and then twice with spray). Over the course of two or three months, we spent hundreds of dollars on flea control products, but poor little Mace and poor little me were waking up with fresh flea bites every morning. It was driving me crazy. Joe, Grandma and Casey weren't getting bitten (why is that?) so when I was at the point of ripping everyone's heads off, Joe started doing some research on the internet about flea control. There are lots of remedies people recommend out there that just plain don't work (trays of water under the beds, garlic in the dogs' food, etc.). We noticed that after we got the yard under control and Chance wasn't bringing fleas into the house, we still had fleas in the house even though we'd bombed the whole house several times. Since we don't have carpet in the house, we couldn't figure out where those little beasts were hiding until I realized they had to be in between the floorboards. So one of Joe's internet remedies was to sweep diatomaceous earth throughout the house so that it would get between the floorboards and under the baseboards and dry out the fleas and their eggs and larvae. We swept it in one Sunday morning all over the house. Two days later, all the fleas were gone. So the flea fix cost us about $4 worth out of a huge $20 box of diatomaceous earth and it didn't stink or poison the children. So your helpful tip of the day: skip the bug bombs and the expensive flea powder and the spray and buy some diatomaceous earth at the pool supply store.

I found out yesterday that I was not the only one traumatized by the Great Flea Infestation of 2009. Casey came home with some papers from school yesterday -- this one was included in a booklet of math problems the children created:

My suitability for parenting is already in question at this school, now what must they think?


  1. Love it!

    Kinda reminds me of one Leah's first spelling tests last year.

    The word was ''insect'' she spelled it

    Oh yeah... we kept that test!

    Of course, it will be a long time before we explain to Leah WHY we kept it....

  2. I saw that paper in my son's folder and I was wondering " which child would write about fleas?" . Thank you for clarifying the mystery for me. Go casey !!


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