Fighting fleas? Use these tips

PORTLAND, Ore. - Tips are trickling in about how to fight fleas following news of an infestation at a Southwest Portland apartment complex.

After Thursday's story on the infestation aired, we received a lot of helpful emails on combating the little critters, from dish soap to Borax.

Home remedies like a spray bottle with dish soap and water or citrus also work. Borax is a sodium tetraborate that works to dehydrate the bugs until they die.

But solving the problem long-term may need help from your veterinarian.

Dr. Matt Dahlquist said with the Borax remedy doesn't eliminate the eggs. He recommends switching up the routine.

"Vacuum first, then spray," he said. "That will really help because that will get those cocoons hatching out, and then you'll be able to knock 'em down."

Dahlquist also offers three steps to eliminate fleas.

"One: treat the environment. Two: treat the pets. And maintain treatment for at least months," he said.

While many people will stop treatments in the winter, Dahlquist said don't.

"The dog and cat fleas stay on the dog and cat. And one: if they're inside, they have a nice, warm, comfy environment. Their life cycle continues," he said. "And two: if they have a nice warm dog or cat, they're living on, they're just fine through the winter and perfectly happy."

Looking for non-toxic options? We headed to Garden Fever in Northeast Portland to look for some natural flea-fighters. They are Diatomaceous Earth and nematodes.

Nematodes are microscopic worm-like creatures that attack and kill insects like fleas. They're only available during spring and fall.

The other option, Diatomaceous Earth, comes with a warning: The powder is made up of fossilized remains of prehistoric algae. Their sharp edges work to cut the bodies of the fleas.