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  #1  
Old 12-21-2016, 04:50 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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Fleas (no pets)

A while back I noticed some bites around my ankles and calves. I also found what I assume to be fleas on me. They'd hop away and sometimes I'd kill them, but I never found more than one every couple of days. I have no pets, and no carpet in my apartment. I'd been in the apartment a little over a year so I don't think this could be the result of a previous owner's pet. I am in a relatively suburban part of Florida, and all of this started in October, so not the hottest time of year but it's not freezing or anything. I tried creating a makeshift flea trap with a light overhead a soapy bowl, but never caught any.

I didn't know what to do so I had pest control come and they did two treatments spread out over a couple of weeks. The pest control guy said he could see no real sign of flea infestation. I've been vacuuming a lot, and washed sheets in hot water. A month later and I still saw one or two fleas as recently as last night, although before that it had been a couple of weeks. Anyone have an idea where the fleas could be coming from? Can they hitch in from outside or something, and that's why I'm only seeing one every now and then?

Last edited by steveisoverthere; 12-21-2016 at 04:52 PM..
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2016, 07:50 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Do the next door neighbors have pets?
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2016, 08:01 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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I'm thinking along the same lines as Jackmanii ... or maybe a stray cat or wild animal is coming by regularly ... scratching off some "larva" ... then when they mature into hungry lil' bloodsuckers ... they feast on steveisoverthere burgers ...
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:26 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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There is at least one, maybe more than one stray cat in my apartment complex. I've actually seen it by the walkway that leads to my individual apartment and maybe in the bushes around that walkway too. Not sure if it's the same one, but there's a stray cat that will hang around the mailbox area too which I see when I go check the mail.
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:10 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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I'd bet more on your occasional visit to another human's house/apartment. Do you ever visit someone who has a pet?
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2016, 09:18 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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I have one friend who has a cat but I've honestly been to his house maybe twice since this started happening.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2016, 09:49 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveisoverthere View Post
There is at least one, maybe more than one stray cat in my apartment complex. I've actually seen it by the walkway that leads to my individual apartment and maybe in the bushes around that walkway too. Not sure if it's the same one, but there's a stray cat that will hang around the mailbox area too which I see when I go check the mail.
Adopt the stray cat and bring it into your apartment. Get it treated to take cafe of any fleas it has, and any in your apartment that jump onto it. (You'll probably have to repeat that a month later, to handle any fleas that hatch then.)

But then there won't be this stray around, to spread fleas in your neighborhood, and you will have a good pet in your apartment.
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Old 12-22-2016, 10:00 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Originally Posted by steveisoverthere View Post
There is at least one, maybe more than one stray cat in my apartment complex. I've actually seen it by the walkway that leads to my individual apartment and maybe in the bushes around that walkway too. Not sure if it's the same one, but there's a stray cat that will hang around the mailbox area too which I see when I go check the mail.
Ah ... we have a "smoking gun" here ... any chance you can get your hands on the strays ... pet them up and scritch their heads and behind the ears ... you're looking for what seems to be scabs or bumps ... if these are what I think they are, then these cats are dropping flea eggs all around the complex ... once they hatch and eventually molt into adult forms, the little buggers will hop everyplace including on you ...

These cats need the attention of a vet ... and it's your landlord's responsibility to get them there ... he may well understand why this is a good investment already but he just needs a tenant to tell him it's time to flea treat ... stray cats do a great job keeping rodent populations way down ... but they do need some attention on occasion ...

In the meantime ... vacuum often and brush off your clothes before you go in your unit ... or flea treat the cats yourself ... though that is kinda expensive and you'll have to order the stuff online and overseas ... any product worth a shit is prescription only in the USA ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 12-22-2016 at 10:00 AM..
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  #9  
Old 12-22-2016, 01:38 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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Thank you all for the advice. I will assume it is the stray cat(s) and see what can be worked out.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2016, 02:06 PM
Nema98 Nema98 is offline
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Maybe rat infestation, although I believe the pest control guy would have realized it.

Last edited by Nema98; 12-23-2016 at 02:07 PM..
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2016, 02:14 PM
Trancephalic Trancephalic is offline
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What about sand? Fleas thrive in it.
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2016, 02:24 PM
mistymage mistymage is offline
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If there are stray animals or even neglected pets they may have fleas that can infest the yard. Those fleas jump off the host and then look for a new one: you. Cat and dog fleas don't really like humans as in for a continuous meal source so they typically bite you a couple of times and then jump off looking for a more favored meal. Meanwhile they hitched a ride into your house.

Short of nuking your whole complex inside and out with pesticides or diatomaceous earth the next best thing is to check your legs/pants/socks/shoes before going inside.

There was this one time we were at my folk's river cabin and they had loaned it out for a month or so to people with pets. We ended up driving home in the middle of the night because we kept getting bit by fleas. We stripped outside our front door and left the clothes outside, went straight to the shower and proceeded to soap off 10-20 fleas each.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2017, 04:56 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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An update of sorts. Property manager says I am the only one who seems to be having this problem in the whole complex. Not sure how that is possible. Pest control says to consider other areas where I go regularly as possible places where I'm picking these up, then getting them into my car, then transporting them into the house. Seems a little crazy to think fleas would travel that far, unless they just got in my car once and are staying there and that's why I bring them into the house.
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2017, 04:57 PM
rat avatar rat avatar is offline
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Rats, mice and racoons too.
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2017, 07:16 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Have you confirmed that the pests are, indeed, fleas?

Catch one on a piece of clear tape for definitive ID.
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  #16  
Old 02-02-2017, 09:14 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveisoverthere View Post
An update of sorts. Property manager says I am the only one who seems to be having this problem in the whole complex. Not sure how that is possible. Pest control says to consider other areas where I go regularly as possible places where I'm picking these up, then getting them into my car, then transporting them into the house. Seems a little crazy to think fleas would travel that far, unless they just got in my car once and are staying there and that's why I bring them into the house.
Well ... then best you can do is bug bomb your place ... that will kill the fleas and worms but not the eggs ... so bug bomb again in two weeks and then two weeks after ... that should clear the problem ...

It is possible that you are bring in the fleas from someplace else ... but it's a long shot ... how much are you getting bitten up? ... fleas have to feed and they feed only on blood ... if they're not eating you then what are they eating ... and if they're not eating how are they breeding ...

Have you been able to make friends with the stray cats yet? ... Cars make terrible vectors for pestilence like this ... whereas God created the beasts of the field to be perfect flea vectors ... haha ... the Old Man has a sense of humor ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 02-02-2017 at 09:14 AM..
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2017, 11:37 AM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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Hard to determine how often I get bit because sometimes there are multiple bites and I don't know when they each got there. Bites are all primarily on my lower legs ankles and feet. I bought some flea traps recently. In the last two or so weeks, the traps have caught about 20 fleas. Have the traps spread out in the living room bedroom and bathroom. Living room and bedroom seem to be the main areas. I read that without an animal host such as a dog, fleas are not likely to produce eggs because they don't feed on humans long enough. So I'm assuming that I am tracking them from outside...oh well, I will just keep up with the vacuuming
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2017, 11:54 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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I worked a job cleaning up a rental unit that was fairly heavily infested with fleas ... one of the neighbors thought it was cool to kick her dog out at night ... somehow this dog got locked in the unit overnight (honest, I have no idea how [giggle]) ... anyway, the next morning I let the dog out and the unit was remarkably free of fleas ... and the neighbor lady was complaining about how her dog got totally infested overnight ...

I tend to eat a lot of garlic ... and fleas rarely bite me ... and these holistic types claim that's cause-and-effect ... I don't know but maybe give that a try ... your social life will suffer for a bit but if it works maybe it's worth it ... BTW, I know garlic is poisonous to cats, don't know about dogs ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 02-06-2017 at 11:57 AM..
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  #19  
Old 02-06-2017, 12:10 PM
Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is online now
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Originally Posted by Nema98 View Post
Maybe rat infestation, although I believe the pest control guy would have realized it.
I think this may be the real problem. Rats or mice. We had this problem when I was a child. Our house and yard were infested with rats, and that led to a huge flea problem. The rats were in the walls, on the roof, in the trees. We didn't get rid of the fleas until we got rid of the rats (we had to use bait poison ultimately).

You might try setting out some rat traps or have the pest people come back and look for rodents specifically rather than fleas.

I think it's highly unlikely that you are bringing fleas back at this level from some unknown place. They're coming from somewhere near you. Rats, or someone in the compound close to you has a huge problem that they simply have not admitted to management (possibly due to an unallowed pet or hoarding or who knows what).

Other than that, you can have the pest people spray regularly, since it seems this problem will not resolve. You may simply have to move, which is a pain, but getting bitten by fleas forever is not worth living there.
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2017, 02:22 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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I agree with Sunny Daze ... to be bringing fleas back with you means you've been in a place grossly infested ... something you'd notice right off the bat ... look for mouse or rat turds in your unit ... your apartment manager seems to be yanking your chain, as they just dismissed your complaint out-of-hand ... that's bad business for them ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 02-06-2017 at 02:23 PM..
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  #21  
Old 02-06-2017, 02:45 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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This seems like a silly question, but would I see the mice IN my unit? I have a relatively small apartment, only one bedroom, and I haven't noticed any rodents inside, ever. I am on the first floor. I can't say that I've heard any rustlings in the walls or anything either. As I said earlier, there are definitely stray cats in my neighborhood...at least one. There are also squirrels that crawl in the trees around my unit sometimes. I figured these had to be the culprits, but the property manager explained that pest control is in the complex twice a month and that will include some sort of exterior spraying, although I have no idea what that means. Anyways, I appreciate the suggestions.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2017, 03:55 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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If mice was causing the flea infestation, yes, you'd know you had a mouse problem ...

I think the most likely scenario here is these stray cats come and scratch themselves on your front door stoop ... dislodging flea eggs which you pick up with your shoes and grind into your carpet ... eggs hatch, feed on the feces you tracked in and soon enough they'll molt into adult fleas ...

How feral are these stray cats? ... will they come to you with the offering of food? ... will they let you pet them? ... what you're looking for (or feeling for I guess) would be what seems to be scabs on their skin ... typically on the back of the neck and behind the ears ... these would be the egg/poop clusters on the cats ... that would be the "smoking gun" ...
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  #23  
Old 02-06-2017, 04:09 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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I only have tile, no carpet. I don't know enough about the cats because I don't feed them, I only see them around the cars in the neighborhood, or sometimes they've been near my specific unit because there's like a big patch of mulch in front that I've seen it (or them) crawling on now and then. So there are two units on the first floor and two units on the second floor of my "block" in the complex. No pet owners in the block of four. If I'm the only one complaining, I could just be in an unfortunate location in the block in that I'm closest to this mulchy area and the bushes. Two apartments on the second floor probably are far enough up that they aren't affected, and the tenant next door to me may just not notice (or not care, or has no problem.) I think I'm just going to check again with the property manager that the pest control company can't do some sort of outdoor treatment, that would help. I might try walking around outside my unit with white socks too, to see if I can't spot a bunch jumping on me. If anything, I might ask if I can switch units if a vacancy opens up, or I guess just move if that's the only way I can get any attention! Thanks for your help!!
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:04 PM
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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I second someone else has a worse problem they won't admit to.

When we moved into a new place, our cats got fleas, probably from previous pets. Probably dog fleas that will settle for cats, but don't breed on them as readily, because we got rid of them fairly easily. We combed fleas off the cats, so they were there, and one cat had scabs. We used Comfortis, an internal treatment, plus an external treatment-- a generic Sentinel. One treatment of each, and the fleas were gone. In two weeks we couldn't comb any off the cats. We treated again this month, because we had extra doses of the stuff, and why not be sure? but the scabs had totally healed on the one cat, and we couldn't comb a single flea (yes, using a flea comb).

My point is, if we got rid of them that easily with pets in the apartment, then I think you have some source close by. I can't believe they are all just coming in with you, if you don't work at the animal shelter, or some place like that. I also can't believe they live in your car: they'd starve.

I'm going to second asking for another unit in your complex. You won't have to reapply, and make another deposit. Or maybe you can get them to inspect for illegal pets.

One thing I love about my complex is that they require tenants with pets to submit up-to-date vaccination records. I wish other places made sure pets in residence were taken care of.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:21 PM
TubaDiva TubaDiva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveisoverthere View Post
Hard to determine how often I get bit because sometimes there are multiple bites and I don't know when they each got there. Bites are all primarily on my lower legs ankles and feet. I bought some flea traps recently. In the last two or so weeks, the traps have caught about 20 fleas. Have the traps spread out in the living room bedroom and bathroom. Living room and bedroom seem to be the main areas. I read that without an animal host such as a dog, fleas are not likely to produce eggs because they don't feed on humans long enough. So I'm assuming that I am tracking them from outside...oh well, I will just keep up with the vacuuming
Yes, you could be tracking them in from outside ... but you could also have flea larvae in your floorboards. Those buggers can live like that for a long time and them rise up and hatch. There's been documented cases of them hiding out for years.

When you vacuum, do you empty or change the bag immediately? Because if you don't they will hop out of the bag .. if you vacuumed up larvae they will hatch. If it's a disposable bag take the bag out and dispose of it as soon as you're finished. Don't leave the bag in the machine, take the entire bag out and put it in the dumpster. If it's a cup that needs emptying, empty that into a trash bag, seal the bag, and take the bag to the dumpster.

Some people say using diatomaceous earth helps ... put some in the vacuum bag. Supposedly it cuts the fleas to pieces. I dunno about that one.

You may need another treatment or two from the pest control company. They need to do your apartment and the immediate vicinity outside too.

Good luck to you, fleas can be tenacious.
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  #26  
Old 02-07-2017, 07:43 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
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Have you asked any of the other tenants if they're having a problem? Because I wouldn't take the manager's word for it. However, fleas can be oddly picky, I've found. I get a bit a lot when we get an outdoor infestation, my wife and daughter not at all.

Does your apartment have common outdoor space, and do you spend time there? If so I would expect that you're picking them up from the strays, or possibly other creatures like rats, mice, or raccoons (as suggested) and they hitch a ride inside with you.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:59 PM
Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is online now
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It could be the squirrels, if you're seeing those. If the cats aren't actually coming in and out of your unit, I can't imagine that you're really getting that many fleas from them.

Mice you might be seeing and you might not, especially if you're not looking for them, or don't know what to look for.

The other thing to investigate is what pesticide was used when your unit was treated for fleas. It could be that it's a type that is no longer fully effective in your area, and that you've still got fleas laying eggs in your apartment. You might need treatment with a different pesticide and it will need to be repeated at least once, and possibly twice more, to make sure that you've caught any hatching fleas and interrupted reproduction.

I had something similar happen with my dogs when Frontline stopped working as a treatment and I had to switch to another treatment for them. It still works in some parts of the country, but not here. Just a thought.
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  #28  
Old 02-08-2017, 08:23 PM
steveisoverthere steveisoverthere is offline
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I don't know why it took me so long to do this but...not owning any white socks, I went out and bought some. I put them on and just walked around in the path leading up to my apartment...kind of lingered around, stomped my feet, walked by the various bushes, etc. Anyways, about three or four separate times, I looked down at my feet and saw a flea crawling all along the sock. Each time I'd squish the flea. So I think what everyone has suggested is absolutely right...they're just outside my door, likely the result of a stray animal or rodents hanging around right outside. I must be bringing them in on my clothes and then once inside they must fall off. That would probably explain why they're in the bathroom and bedroom and the living room...some days I might get home and head straight for the bathroom and they might just hop off there. I guess I'll just have to tell my property manager about this. Honestly, based on when this started happening, maybe it has to do with leaves piling up in the path in front of my apartment. Here in North Florida the fall-winter season sees a lot of leaves fall off trees. Maybe the leaves are a good place for fleas to hide. I'll have to focus on raking the leaves away too. Thank you all for your help!!
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  #29  
Old 02-08-2017, 11:19 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
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This makes sense to me based on my own experience, and I should add that I've seen fleas hopping around in the bathroom before, where there really isn't anyplace for them to hide/live/survive--it's because they hopped off ME when I brought them in.

If your apartment manager isn't helpful, you can try some inexpensive non-toxic remedies--diatomaceous earth was mentioned, but DO NOT buy the kind used for pool filtering, you want the food-grade kind. I'm skeptical myself based on poor results, but it won't hurt humans or other animals. You can also try Neem oil, which might need to be diluted with water and a little liquid soap depending what type you buy. Spray it on the foliage. It has a tangy, peanutty smell but won't hurt anything except, one hopes, the fleas (meaning it's not going to kill a pet or small child who ingests it). I feel I had better results with Neem.
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  #30  
Old 02-10-2017, 03:20 AM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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OP lives in florida.
Does the OP have and semi dry sandy areas near?
Because florida is Land of the Sand loving cat fleas, and the little vampires
will hop up and attempt a ride on anything warm that moves.

They will starve on a human, but they try anyways.
Permethrin, diluted one ounce per gallon of water is very fatal to them.
But do not get Permethrin on cats, it is equally fatal to them, fine on dogs, not on cats.
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  #31  
Old 02-12-2017, 01:46 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
You might need treatment with a different pesticide and it will need to be repeated at least once, and possibly twice more, to make sure that you've caught any hatching fleas and interrupted reproduction.
Modern once-only flea control worked for me in the mid 90's when it first made it to Melbourne. You only have to repeat spray when you are introducing new fleas.
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