Fleas~ Plague?

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This spring I have FLEAS! Usually I don't have a problem with them. What do you do to control them? I usually feed brewer's yeast and garlic, but this year it doesn't seem to be doing the trick so I think I will have to resort to chemicals.

I ran across this article, and it kind of made me think I had better get them under control but quick here:

Panhandle prairie dogs were killed by bacteria


By David Stevens / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

AMARILLO Bacteria that officials say could cause bubonic plague in humans has been confirmed as being responsible for the deaths of about 100 prairie dogs at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area in the Texas Panhandle.

No cases of human plague have been reported in the region, but recreation area officials have closed one campground, and Texas Department of Health officials have warned area medical personnel as a precaution.

Lake Meredith officials have also postponed the annual lakeshore cleanup, which was expected to attract about 1,500 volunteers this weekend.

Park superintendent John Benjamin said the campground near the prairie dog community will be closed for six to eight weeks. He said officials will use an insecticide to try to kill fleas in the area.

Health officials urged caution but also said cases of human plague are rare and usually treatable.

"We are just alerting the public that if you do go up in that area, you should wear protective clothing and use insect repellent," said Barry Wilson, a regional epidemiologist for the Texas Department of Health in Lubbock.

Lake Meredith officials noticed last week that their only prairie dog community seemed empty. Health officials suspected a bacterium known as Yersinia pestis may have killed the rodents and began testing fleas found in the area.

One in six fleas tested were positive for the bacteria, according to a Lake Meredith news release. Fleas can transmit the bacteria to humans, which can result in plague.

Bubonic plague was responsible for millions of deaths in Europe during the Middle Ages, but the disease is now treatable with antibiotics in its early stages.

Symptoms are similar to those of the flu.

About 12 cases of human plague are reported each year in the United States, health department statistics show. The last case of human plague in Texas occurred in 1993, a health-department news release said.

David Stevens is a free-lance writer based in Amarillo.

Any ideas that don't involve chemicals??? I can't dust my entire house with DE. That would cause me mental anguish as I like things neat. Thanks a bunch!

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@yahoo.com), April 28, 2001


Personally, I think all of Texas is doomed! I don't think they have enough antibiotics for us all, and us non-politically correct types will probably be the last treated! LOL I've never seen a Texas summer that isn't just loaded with fleas. I've never been able to irradicate the fleas here, just thin them down some. Outside, you could try agricultural sulphur. I think the rate is 1 pound/1000 square feet. Scatter enough to make everything take on a slightly yellow tint.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), April 28, 2001.

I've really not been bothered too badly by them here. I thought it would be worse, but this spring is the worst so far. Will the agricultural sulfur hurt the critters if I spread it around the outbuildings? I've never used the stuff and am a bit more than ignorant on it. I am, in fact, clueless.

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), April 28, 2001.

No, it won't hurt the critters. My dad used to dust dogs with it, but it stinks and makes their noses run, I think because the dust itself got in there. It discourages all insects, including ticks. I'm not sure about fire ants. I have to do something about them soon but they are up against the well curb and I'm afraid I'll poison us along with the ants. I hadn't thought about it, but I may try the sulphur on them.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), April 29, 2001.

I have heard that sulfur works as a snake repellent, too. Having just come in from having a near heart attack and killing a 5'3" water moccasin with a terribly dull machete, I will be picking some sulfur up in the morning....I got the heebie jeebies. I HATE snakes!!!!

Sue had said to dilute sulfur and rub it on my kittens with fleas, so I should have remembered that and figured it wouldn't harm the critters. Thanks!!!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), April 29, 2001.

Doreen -

Wouldn't worry too much about the plague if you aren't storing any grain and don't have rats.

There was a case in MI not too many years ago, where a woman got it from a cat. The cat had been killing rats, and caught it from one. The woman was bitten by the cat.

It takes a lot to spread bubonic plague.

Try the sulfur, and if that doesn't work, then the vet will have something for it. It might require 'bombing' the house. If you do need to do that, write me or post here - I have plenty of experience with that... My folks regularly needed to do that.

-- Sue Diederich (willow666@rocketmail.com), April 30, 2001.

Now I know where ya'll went to! I missed you Doreen.

Fleas, fleas, fleas! I've been flea free for three years! There are several pockets of bubonic plague spread by fleas in rodent populations, carried by cats into the homes of unsuspecting humans and....well we know what happens then.

I got rid of fleas with boric acid sprinkled everywhere in my house, carpet, furniture, bedding, windowsills, EVERYWHERE. I swept it around a bit and didn't vaccume for a week.

I treated all the animals to a diatomaceous earth dusting by ruffling their hair back and pouffing it on their skin with a bulb syringe, then used diatomaceous earth all over my porches and yard.

If you are going to entertain rodent populations on your property, then treat their dens with boric acid or diatomaceous earth, too. I'm sure they don't like the fleas, either.

-- Laura (LadybugWrangler@hotmail.com), May 02, 2001.

Okay, I'm ignorant about this stuff. I have a housefull of kids and will probably have a housefull of fleas soon. Is the boric acid dangerous around kids? Thanks for the info!

-- Deena in GA (dsmj55@aol.com), May 02, 2001.

Hey Laura! I missed you too, lady.

Thanks for all the info everyone. I have company coming so I think I will forego dusting my house with boric acid until they leave. They can take a couple of itches with them as a pleasant reminder of their trip to Tejas.

Boric acid is poisonous when ingested. It isn't crazy poisonous, but I wouldn't do the dusting if I had little kids in the house. That's my take, anyone know otherwise?

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), May 03, 2001.

Ive been using pure therapeutic grade essential oils in place of drugs for several years and for just about everything imaginable. I use them on my dog and cat, too--we live in the woods. Chance is allergic to just about everything so I use essential oils on him otherwise the fleas eat him alive! He eats better than we do -- no chemicals or preservatives in his food. Since he's allergic to the alcohol in off the shelf essential oils, I use my oils on him, too! No flea bites! Now and then fleas will come in on Kitty and I mix up a few drops of oil with some baking soda and sprinkle it on the carpet or put a drop on the pads of her feet. Essential Oils contain virtually all of healing nutrients-- oxygenating molecules, amino acid precursors, coenzyme A factors, trace minerals, enzymes, vitamins, hormones and more. Recent testing in the U.S. has shown that a combination of essential oils of are even more powerful than penicillin. (I knew that anyway!)

-- Julie Corbitt (corbitt@molalla.net), September 20, 2001.

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