Nobody wants to share a home with fleas. Once they come into your house, it isn’t long before they seem to be taking over. No surface is safe. You might even find them in your bed.
Aside from the itchiness and pain they cause, fleas are also famous for carrying diseases, most notably bubonic plague and murine typhus. They can also cause allergic reactions in humans and pets and may transfer tapeworms to your dog or cat.
Below you’ll find some of the best tips for getting rid of fleas in your home and preventing them from entering your home in the first place.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are parasitic insects that feed off the blood of mammals and birds. Fleas can consume blood 15 times their own body weight, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA.
Cat fleas are the most common flea pests found in homes, though dog fleas provide their fair shares of trouble for homeowners. Other varieties of fleas include rabbit, hen, squirrel and human.
Not only do they feed on the blood of cats and dogs, but fleas also consume the blood of humans. They feed off a host of other animals too, such as:
Fleas feed off the blood of these creatures but can go for quite some time in between feedings. This means even if your entire household, including pets, go away for a weeklong vacation, you could still return to a home full of hungry fleas.
Because they are so small, fleas are difficult to see. In fact, depending on the flea species, they can range only about one to 2.5 millimeters in length. They can easily hide in carpets, pet bedding, furniture batting and even in mattresses where your family sleeps.
They are also extremely high jumpers, allowing them to move away quickly when discovered. Cat fleas, for example, can jump eight inches horizontally and more than five inches vertically. Superstar fleas can go as far as 19 inches in one single horizontal jump and as high as nearly eight inches.
Even if you aren’t the preferred feast of fleas in your home, you can detect their presence in other ways, such as observing your pets to see if the continuously scratch, if they seem to be balding or if you notice what looks like a mixture of salt and pepper in your pets’ bedding. You may also notice tiny specs on your socks, sheets or floors indicative of hatching eggs and dead fleas in your home.
Fleas can become a nuisance in your home quickly. The National Pest Management Association tells us that fleas can live more than three months, and during that period, females can produce up to 500 offspring. Some fleas, however, can live up to one year, and can produce millions of offspring during that time, according to ASPCA.
How Fleas Get Into Your Home
Before you turn your attention to thoughts of getting rid of fleas from your house, you must first explore how they get into your home in the first place. Below are some of the common ways fleas arrive at your home.
1. Traveling via Humans
While you might think fleas only enter your home through your pets, you, too, as a human, can carry fleas with you into your house without even realize you’re doing so. You can do this:
- Through your socks, shoes and pant legs.
- Through blankets used at a day at the park or the beach.
- Through your children’s clothing, pillows or stuffed animals brought back from a sleepover with a friend who has pets.
- Through your purchase of vintage items, used furniture at yard sales, flea markets and consignment shops. Even upscale consignment shops may carry items containing flea eggs.
- Through your children playing outside and bringing fleas into the house.
2. Traveling on Your Pets
Your pets are often in and out of your home throughout the day gaining exposure to other animals that may have fleas and environments that may harbor fleas.
Your pets can bring in fleas that are:
- Buried in their legs and topcoats
- Hijacked along their tails
- Hidden in their undercoats
Pets contract fleas in several ways, including:
- Walking and playing on the lawn. Your lawn is a breeding ground for fleas. The warm environment is just perfect during summer months, and there are plenty of birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, chipmunks and other animals to serve as food sources for ravenous hatchling fleas. Your pets can encounter them in the grass.
- Going to pet obedience classes. There are so many other animals your pet may encounter at pet obedience classes and it doesn’t take much for fleas, with their up to 19-inch leap radii, to jump from one pet to the next for a different feast.
- Playing at the dog park. Other canines may be carrying fleas, which can easily jump onto your dog when playing at the park.
3. Through Uninvited Pests
Many of the critters plaguing you as a homeowner are frequent carriers of fleas. These include pests and rodents, like:
These critters hang out in your eaves and overhangs or hide out in your walls, creating lovely little nests where fleas procreate unseen.
How to Remove Fleas From Your Home
Flea eggs hatch in seven to 14 days according to Bug Guides. When you consider they can live up to two years or longer and one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day, it doesn’t take long for one problem squirrel to bring an infestation of fleas into your home.
This is the primary reason it’s important to figure out how to get rid of fleas in the house fast and kill their eggs. Otherwise, you’ll be facing a brand new infestation within the next two weeks.
To get rid of fleas in your house, implement two strategies:
- Removal activities. If you already have a flea infestation, you must take steps as soon as possible to eradicate the infestation.
- Aggressive prevention. Then, you need to address all the potential points of entry, one by one and take decisive action to prevent even one flea from entering your doors again. If you begin practicing these preventative infestations concepts before you have fleas in your home, it’s far easier than eliminating one once fleas have overrun your home.
To remove fleas from your home, you’ll need to target common flea infestation areas, like your
1. Get Rid of Fleas in Bed
Your bed is the last place you want to encounter fleas, especially knowing all the diseases and painful itchiness they cause. When you have fleas in bed, you’ll want to know how to get rid of them pronto.
- Wash all bed linens. Remove all bedding and wash your linens at least once per week. Washing and drying the bed linens will kill fleas and eggs currently in them. During an active infestation, you might want to increase them washing frequency. When washing your bed linens, be sure to include your mattress pads, bed skirts, top and bottom sheets, pillows and pillowcases.
- Clean mattress toppers and mattress. Also, wash your mattress toppers, if they’re washable. If not, remove them from the mattress and vacuum both thoroughly. Vacuuming will remove fleas and eggs that may be buried deep within the layers of your mattress or hiding between the mattress and mattress topper.
- Empty the vacuum bag. Remember to empty the canister and remove the bag from your home, so you don’t have fleas hatching in your vacuum cleaner in a few days’ time.
- Ban your pet from your bed. Perhaps the most challenging thing you must do if you want to eliminate fleas in your bed is relegated your pet to another room at night. This is one instance where crate training at early stages is beneficial. Pets will eventually feel comfortable in their crates, and your bed will have a reduced risk of flea infestations.
2. Get Rid of Fleas in Carpet
Use the same philosophy for carpets, heavy draperies and upholstered furniture you use for your mattresses.
- Vacuum carpets frequently. With carpets, you want to increase the frequency with which you vacuum. Daily works best, especially if you have one of the automated, robotic vacuums. However, every other day can still be highly effective, especially if you focus on areas where your pets congregate most.
- Brush carpet. In addition to vacuuming your carpet, you may want to sweep the carpet or brush it with a stiff bristled broom to remove fleas and eggs deep within the layers of your rugs before vacuuming.
3. Get Rid of Fleas in Your Pets Toys and Bedding
- Vacuum your pet’s bed. Pay special attention to areas around your pet’s bed and vacuum that area with great frequency.
- Wash your pet’s toys and bedding. You should also wash your pet’s bed, stuffed toys and blankets at least once a week, routinely, and twice a week during an infestation. Wash in hot water and dry them if possible to kill any eggs fleas or eggs buried within the layers.
- Scrub the floors frequently. Pay special attention to the area around your pet’s bedding. Whether you have solid surface flooring or carpets, scrubbing the area or even having it steamed clean can be highly beneficial in stamping out your flea problems and preventing new ones from cropping up.
4. Treat Your Pets With Flea and Tick Preventatives
- Give your pet flea medications. Discuss your best options for preventative flea medications with your vet. Remember, prevention is the best cure. Ideally, you’ll keep your pet on these medications year round, so fleas never have an opportunity to gain full entrance into your home.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to detect fleas in your pet. In addition to flea medications prescribed by your veterinarian, consider investing in a fine-toothed comb and using it frequently to rid your pet’s coat of any fleas or eggs lurking there. Combing is soothing for your pet, excellent bonding time for the two of you and can help prevent an infestation of fleas in your pet’s fur.
- Avoid purchasing plushy toys for your pets that cannot be washed and dried in a machine. Many of the squeak toys today have removable squeakers so you can wash them to eliminate nesting fleas and laying eggs there. If you do have nonwashable plush pet toys, consider throwing them out and replacing them with washable toys over time.
5. Treat Your Lawn for Fleas
Your lawn can play a role in creating an atmosphere ripe for flea infestations. You can implement steps to make your lawn and garden area far more inhospitable to fleas and the animals carrying them.
- Keep your lawn neatly trimmed. This doesn’t only apply to mowing your grass once or twice a week during the prime growing season. It also means taming bushes, climbing vines and other ground clutter providing spaces for rodents and other pesky animals to hide on your property.
- Treat your lawn with a yard spray designed to target fleas and ticks. While you must keep your pets and children out of the treated areas until it dries, the treatment is highly effective for taming the flea population on your property. Getting fleas off your lawn is one of the important first steps for getting rid of them inside your home.
- Consider granular treatments for dog houses, kennels and dog runs. These are areas where fleas will love to congregate in hopes of gaining access to a quick and easy meal. Give them one they aren’t expecting.
6. Other Preventative Tips to Stop Tracking Fleas Into Your Home
Consider creating a closed-off mudroom or another area of your home where children remove shoes and socks. You can then inspect this clothing before bringing it into the home.
Use the same strategy for the adults in the household. Having a designated place for shoe removal before entering the home, preferably with hard-surface floors, can prevent fleas from being tracked into the remainder of your home, especially if this area is treated for fleas frequently.
How We Can Help Remove Fleas From Your Home
Here at Pest Pros, we are proud to serve all Cape Code homes in treating and eliminating flea infestation problems. As expert flea exterminators in Hyannis, Mass., and the surrounding area, we offer a variety of pest control services:
- Identifying the species of fleas infesting your home and employing the best method to eliminate them
- Getting rid of existing fleas
- Educating you on how fleas came into your home
- Teaching you how to make your home an unattractive environment for fleas in the future
- Eliminating access fleas have to your home by pointing out common entry points for rodents bringing them in and how you can shore them up
We offer safe, effective extermination methods posing no risk to your home, your children or your pets — only the fleas that have invaded. In addition to one-time pest treatment, we provide quarterly services and yearly pest control programs as well.
Take Control of Your Flea Problem With Our Effective Flea Treatment Options for Your Home
Contact us about our flea control services today by completing our online form or calling us at (508) 888-0999. We offer free flea inspections and estimates before we begin working. This gives you the fullest possible picture of your flea situation and what it requires.
We also offer affordable rates and green flea treatment solutions to ensure the service you receive is safe and valuable for your home and family.