Dear Home-Ec 101,
My boyfriend has recently gotten bug bites, mostly on his right arm but other places as well (legs, etc.). They are small, red, and itchy. Smaller than mosquito bites. I haven’t gotten any. He thinks they happen more on a particular couch, but it’s hard to pinpoint (the bed and a computer chair have also been suspected). He can’t catch them in the act, and we haven’t seen anything.
So we think they’re fleas, but we’re not sure. We don’t have pets or any reason they would be here, but who knows (neighbors have cats, and we live in an apartment building). We’ve read a little about bed bugs but feel like we would see those…
What’s the best way to deal with this? Preferably without having to remove our dishes somewhere while we wait 4 hours? I don’t mind bug bombing, just don’t wanna have to worry about all my plates and stuff…
Anything we can do right away and cheaply to get my boyfriend relief?
I’ve searched the internets so far for help, but it’s confused, usually sponsored by some pest company trying to sell me something I’m not sure I need, and usually pet directed… we have no pets and want to figure out if these bugs are living ON my boyfriend or what?! Eww!
I figure I’m getting bit as well but just don’t have a reaction to it or whatever.
Scratchin’ in Scranton
It definitely sounds like you have a flea infestation. The reason your boyfriend has bumps and you don’t is because some people are allergic to flea bites and other people are not. I’m not allergic to them, either. Better them than us, eh? 😉
Since you don’t have pets, flea removal is going to be slightly easier. I have two cats and a dog, and when we got fleas a couple of years ago, I went ahead and went the flea bomb route, because I wanted to knock it out as soon as possible. If you do go the flea bomb route, you’ll need to make sure you are vacuuming really, really well, and make sure you wash everything you possibly can in hot water. Curtains, area rugs, everything.
I don’t think you will have to go the flea bomb route, though. I did a little research and found this nifty contraption on Amazon. It’s a flea trap, and the reviews are largely really good, and it’s priced right, $16.
I’d probably get a flea trap and then vacuum the absolute heck out of everything in my house. Make sure you are taking the vacuum bag (if you have one) entirely out of the house immediately after a vacuuming session. You can even put the bag in a plastic bag and put it in your freezer to kill them all before you take it outside. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty it outside directly into a trash bag. Seal the bag and throw it in your dumpster (if you have one).
Wash everything that can possibly be washed in hot water. Take the sofa cushions out and put them in one of those giant plastic bags and leave it outside in the sun. Then vacuum the entire couch really well again, making sure to follow the bag procedures outlined above.
I think that’ll take care of it! If you do get a flea trap, let us know how well it works, it looks neat. I totally want one, except I don’t have any fleas (knock on wood).
Send your domestic questions to email@example.com.