Fleas are very prolific. Undisturbed and without a meal (blood from a host), a flea can live more than 100 days. On average, they live two to three months. Female fleas cannot lay eggs until after their first blood meal and begin to lay eggs within 36-48 hours after that meal. The female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime. 5% of fleas live in the environment as an adult, 95% of fleas live as eggs, larvae or pupae. That means if you see fleas on your pet or in your house, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
1. Fleas Multiply Rapidly
The flea life cycle is short, which means they multiply rapidly.
- Adult Fleas – jump onto your dog or cat, feed on its blood and then start laying eggs.
- Eggs – one female lays up to 50 eggs per day, they drop off in carpets and bedding before hatching.
- Larvae – the hatched eggs release larvae which move away from light, deeper into carpets and under furniture before developing into pupae. The larvae feed on organic debris and at this stage.
This lifecycle can take as little as 2-3 weeks but can last up to 6 months. To rid your household from fleas, you must break this cycle. While you may control some adults with room foggers, there may be some larvae left in the carpets and cracks and crevices that it won’t reach. The eggs and larvae are the hardest to remove completely. To get rid of fleas, you must break the life cycle.
2. You Must Use a Three-Pronged Simultaneous Attack
Because fleas are everywhere, you must be sure to treat every single area simultaneously. These areas are not just in your home. Make sure to treat the following:
Pets Exacerbate Flea Problems
The bad news is that if you have a pet, flea problems aren’t concentrated in just one room of your home. Pets roam your home and distribute these fleas everywhere they’ visit throughout the house. Wherever your dog or cat has been, you likely have fleas there too. They must be treated at the same time as you treat your home. Wash dog and cat beds frequently in hot water, this can be done in a bathtub or outside in a dog swimming pool. Also, wash your pet’s toys as fleas and eggs will hide in them too. If you can’t wash them, throw them out.
Clean Your Home Thoroughly
Vacuuming your home is critical to remove not only adult fleas, but eggs and larvae too. Larvae burrow deep into carpeting, furniture, curtains and more. Don’t do a shoddy job. You must be diligent. Move furniture to vacuum underneath, turn cushions over to vacuum both sides, and vacuum the bottom of curtains that come in contact with the carpet or floor. You must vacuum often. Vacuum the entire house once or twice a week. Be extra diligent in rooms where your pet spends the most time. Also, use a pesticide to kill any adults, eggs or larvae that escaped the vacuum. And speaking of escaping, make sure to empty your vacuum bag outside so no surviving fleas escape back into your home.
Treat Your Lawn Too
So your home is free of fleas, but what about your lawn? Humans and pets can bring fleas in from the yard outside, so lawn treatments will have to be done to get rid of the fleas living in your lawn. Lawns should be kept trimmed low to help the treatment reach down into the thatch as well. Repeat the yard treatment one month later to kill all stages of remaining pests.
3. Don’t Assume Fleas Are Gone Prematurely
First of all, you have to understand that timing is very important. You must get rid of the fleas and eggs in your whole house and on your pets simultaneously. And don’t forget that just because you don’t see adult fleas, do not assume your problem is solved. In a week or two the larvae will mature and you’ll be seeing jumping fleas again in no time.