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Published Sep. 13, 2005

FLEAS ON PARADE: Fleas spend only a small fraction of time on your pet. Most of their time is spent jumping around your house laying eggs, so the only way to permanently rid your house of them is to treat the pet, the house and the yard all at the same time.

Place a gooseneck lamp on the floor with a bowl of soapy water under the lamp. Turn on the lamp. The fleas will jump on the bulb, fall off and drown.

There are specialty products that can be purchased at pet stores, natural health stores or pool stores to finish off most of the rest. Follow the manufacturer's directions when applying to carpets and furniture.

For the yard, try using beneficial nematodes, microscopic creatures that feed on flea larva in the ground, to control fleas.

FURNITURE MALL: Here are things to know when you are looking for a high-quality piece of furniture. It will have lots of curves, character, dovetailing and a solid-wood bottom. An inexpensive piece will have very flat lines, a metal or cardboard bottom and will be glued or nailed together.

Another clue to good quality is that the name of the manufacturer will be branded in the upper-left corner of the piece.