There are over 2,500 different species of fleas living around the world and they all have one thing in common – they are dangerous to humans and animals alike. If you want to find out more about them, their lifecycle, and how to efficiently eliminate them from your household, you can check it out here.
However, let’s start with the basics and discover why fleas have become even more hated than mosquitoes and why they are considered dangerous.
There are certain similarities between fleas and mosquitoes, especially regarding their feeding habits. Although fleas don’t have wings like the latter, they do have mouths that are optimized for piercing the skin and sucking out the blood, just like mosquitoes.
Fleas can feed on both birds and mammals, including humans, and, despite their small dimensions, they can jump up to 150 times their size, which helps them easily switch hosts and find new and welcoming environments to lay eggs and reproduce.
Contrary to common opinion, around 95% of the fleas are larvae and eggs, meaning just a small percentage of the population reaches adulthood and needs to feed on blood. Even so, given the fact that fleas have a fast lifecycle, they can easily breed, threatening your entire house and your health.
Most often, flea eggs take between two days and two weeks to develop, but they can wait up to several months until the conditions are suitable for their growth. As a general rule, fleas prefer warm and humid environments to develop so, if they don’t find these conditions, the eggs will take longer to hatch.
Once the eggs hatch and the larvae reach adulthood, they can breed constantly. A single female flea can lay around 50 eggs a day, which is why they build colonies fast and are hard to remove.
As we previously mentioned, only adult fleas feed on blood, whereas the pupae and larvae prefer microorganisms to grow. Even so, in order to get rid of the flea problem once and for all, it won’t suffice to only kill the adults. On the contrary, you will have to break their entire lifecycle, which won’t come easy or cheap.
How can you identify flea eggs?
Flea eggs usually measure 0.5mm, which makes them almost impossible to spot with the naked eye, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. They are mainly white and transparent, resembling fine salt grains.
Where do fleas lay eggs?
Most flea eggs are laid where fleas live, meaning on your pet’s body. However, since they aren’t sticky, they easily fall off and scatter all around. Thus, you will mostly find them around the areas where your pet hangs out the most – in its crib, on the rugs, carpets, underneath the furniture, and even in your mattress.
Remember that they prefer dark, warm, and humid environments to thrive, so you need to look for all these places around the house.
Although highly improbable, fleas can also lay eggs on humans. However, since they mainly prefer living in the thick fur of your pet, they won’t last too much on hairless human bodies.
How to get rid of fleas and their eggs
Eliminating fleas from your household once and for all is a difficult but not impossible job. It requires time and patience, and, most often, investing in some high-quality cleaning products and flea repellents for your pet. If you want to make sure you break their lifecycle and remove them off your property, here are some tips for you.
Vacuum the entire home
The first thing you should do if you suspect a flea invasion is to thoroughly vacuum all the carpets and surfaces on your home, including the curtains, the furniture, room corners, and every other spot that might seem like a proper environment for fleas to develop.
Use all the vacuum’s accessories to make sure you go as deep as possible into the carpets, eliminating all dust, debris, and potential pests. With the help of a vertical or hand vacuum, clean every inch of your curtains too.
Don’t forget about your mattress, sofa or your dog’s bed as all these places represent perfect homes for fleas.
Once the dust bags or dust container of your vacuum are full, never throw the contents inside the home as flea eggs and larvae might find their way back into the carpets. Therefore, you should only empty the vacuum outside, far away from the doors and windows of your house.
Use steamers too
A good steamer can eliminate up to 99.9% of the dust and debris from carpets, upholstery, curtains or tiles, as long as you use the right accessories for each type of surface. The power of the steamer also disinfects the areas, leaving the air fresh and free of bacteria and potential pests, including flea eggs.
Wash and dry everything
Another thing you have to do to make sure you eliminate all fleas and their eggs is to wash and dry all clothes and accessories that might have come in contact with these insects. This also includes your pet’s blankie, bedding, and even toys or other accessories, as well as the blankets, sheets, and pillows from your bed.
Generally speaking, fleas die at temperatures higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so don’t select the gentle washing programs on your washing machine if you want to make sure you eliminate all these insects.
Keep in mind that you will have to repeat the process daily for 10-14 days until you can rest assured you removed the danger.
How to look after your pets
Since dogs and cats are the main flea carriers, you need to do whatever it takes to eliminate fleas before entering your house. They are usually active from late spring to late fall, so you should pay more attention to your pet’s hygiene during those months.
If your dog prefers spending time outside, wash it every time they enter the house to get rid of all potential pests, including fleas and ticks.
If you’re thinking about anti-flea collars, make sure to pick one that not only kills adult fleas but also the eggs. These are harder to find and are more expensive but they are the only ones that actually work in the long term.
Don’t forget about periodic visits to the vet and even topical treatments if fleas don’t disappear completely after a couple of days. Keep in mind that some of these remedies may take longer to deliver results, so you should monitor your pet during this time.
Last but not least, you can also use shampoos, cleaning wipes, and other grooming products that promise to get your pet rid of ticks and fleas once and for all. However, we do suggest to take a look at the ingredient list and avoid products containing harsh chemicals as these may irritate your pet’s skin even more and become potentially dangerous.
If everything else fails, you should consider calling the experts and allowing them to thoroughly treat your house with chemicals that will eliminate fleas and their eggs permanently.