Monday, July 18, 2005

take my dog's ... fleas

Remember that really cool ending to the inaugural issue of "Preludes and Nocturnes?" Dream has just escaped from Burgess' circle, and had his long-awaited confrontation with Alex. As it wraps up, he turns to Burgess and says, "But come, I have a gift for you, to repay you for your years of hospitality. I give you eternal waking."

I feel right now like Sandy has given us her own parting gift as a way of saying thank you for all the years of hospitality we extended to her. Despite a good flea bath, despite the Frontline advanced flea and tick protection, despite our use of flea collars, Sandy has left us a veritable menagerie of a dog's favorite pets.

Our house has fleas. Their eggs are in the carpet, and they keep hatching and getting onto us. I have a couple flea bites, Natasha has a couple more, Evangeline has some, and Rachel's legs look like so much raw meat. (I suspect that we had this problem growing up in Saunders Station too, since we had a dog there, but I assumed at the time, in youthful ignorance, that the bug bites were from mosquitoes.)

What to do? I don't want to bomb the place, because the toxins in flea poison can be even worse than the fleas themselves, but the things are bloody near impossible to vacuum up. I can get beneficial nematodes to treat the lawn with, and I suspect I will, though the ladybugs we have naturally are already working on the problem out there, I'm sure.

Earlier today, I made up a boric acid mixture and walked through the house, sprinkling it on the carpet. Boric acid is less toxic to humans than table salt is, and not very irritating either, but it does have the effect of acting as a desiccant, which means it should kill the flea larvae before they can hatch.

Here's hoping. Fleas are bad enough when they're on the dog. It's even worse when the dog is dead and they're still alive.

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