Summer 2013: Revenge of the Fleas, Part 1

For the past several months, I’ve been keeping a running list on my iPhone of things to blog about. Some of them don’t make sense any more (“Think of the leftovers”?). However, at the very top of the list is a single word: Fleas.

I seriously hope I’m not jinxing myself by writing this, but here goes. You may recall last October that we had a bit of a flea problem in our furry-pet-free apartment. We managed to eliminate them last year, though we never came to a definite conclusion as to where they came from. Fast forward to May 2013. I wake up one day and notice bites on my legs. Not again! I moan. However, this time it’s a little different. I seem to be getting bit when I’m on the couch or out on the deck, rather that in other parts of the apartment (Hubby was actually getting bit as well this time too). Odd. I got extremely frustrated, to the point of writing a song about the experience, set to the tune of I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables for I was miserable (Author’s note: this was written very late one night while hyped up on Benadryl. No attempts at editing or rhyming has been made. You have been warned.):

I dreamed a dream there were no fleas
That my skin was smooth and silky
I dreamed the fleas were never here
Cause they breed like tiny tribbles

But the fleas come at night
With their mandibles sharp as knives
As they tear my flesh apart
As they turn my legs to itchiness

I don’t have any dogs of any breed
Or cats or rats or hamsters
I only have frogs and snails and fish
So where do the fleas exist?!?

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different from this life of fleas
Now fleas have killed my dreams

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Let’s backtrack a month. In April, we had another pair (or the same pair from last year, we’re not sure) of house finches build a nest in our hanging fuchsia plant on our deck. By the time we noticed the nest, they had already started laying eggs, so we let them continue. After they were done and the fledglings had flown the coop, we put up netting around the plant. While the fledglings were cute and all, it was a major nuisance to have them there dive-bombing at us whenever we stepped outside. We couldn’t use our deck at all, no grilling, nothing. And the 4am cheeping feedings were disrupting our sleep cycles. Hence the netting to prevent future bird couples from using the fuchsia. Or so we thought. House finches are smart birds! They managed to find the seams in the netting and made their way in and started building a new nest. Oy! I gave the birds a stern talking to and told them to pretend a hurricane just happened and blew their plant away as I got rid of their empty nest and brought the plant indoors for a few weeks.

Okay, back to May. Hubby said he thought he saw some bugs around the fuchsia on the floor of the living room. After a conversation with my Aunt, I came to realize that we had bird fleas, which can live in nests. Ah hah! That explained why they were in the living room and on the deck. After thoroughly scouring the apartment with flea spray a couple of times (ours is a peppermint/nutmeg spray that makes everything smell like Christmas), we are finally flea-free for the time being.

Lesson learned: don’t bring plants that had nests in them inside!

Oh, and that giant dog from upstairs that I still believe was the source of the fleas last year? It just moved out 🙂


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