NOW IS THE TIME when fleas get in your house, your rugs, your chairs, your couch. Riding in on your dog's back, they spread out, reconnoiter newly occupied territory and dig in for the summer. They nip at your ankles by day and attack from the bedclothes by night.

Here is the advice of a veterinarian we know: to combat fleas, treat not just the household pet, but its environment as well, and above all be thorough and persistent. Set off insecticide bombs in your house; bathe your pets with flea soap, and spray them frequently. Spray the carpets, the corners, all the places fleas might hide.

You say you've done all those things and you're still being nibbled by fleas? Same here. Maybe we're not doing them in the right order, or maybe more needs to be done. Okay, let's move ahead: spray the ceilings, spray the yard, spray the birds in the trees and the flowers in the field. Spray the windows, spray the doors.

Spray your dinner guests: "Hello, Ed, Alice, good to see you. Say' how's your dog? Don't have a dog? You sure? Maybe you've come in contact with one in the past few days? Better spray you just to be safe. Now, come on, you two, stand still, this just takes a minute. There, that wasn't so bad, was it? Now, what'll you have to drink?"

Remove rugs. Put furniture in storage. Buy devices that kill bugs with gamma rays. Dig a moat around your house. Get rid of the dog. Call in a hypnotist. If by August you are still being pursued by fleas, you may wish to take the heroic measure of calling in an artillery strike on outlying rooms of your own home. Be sure, however, to leave several rooms habitable for the winter. The fleas usually go away by January.