How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home (The Complete Guide)
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home (The Complete Guide)
Today, you’re going to learn how to get rid of a pesky problem many pet owners have:
This guide will show you exactly how to remove fleas from your home and yard. You will also learn how to prevent them from coming back.
Trust us when we say:
The sooner you address this problem, the better off you and your pet will be.
This guide is 2,000 words long. We've tried to make it the most comprehensive guide to flea removal on the web. By the end, you will have all the information you need to tackle this issue once and for all.
Let's get started:
The Stages of The Flea Life Cycle (And Why This Is Important)
Because adult fleas and flea larvae must be treated distinctly in order to completely destroy them. The problem will remain if you only treat one or the other.
A flea’s full life cycle can take anywhere from a few weeks to months, depending on temperature and humidity levels.
Here are the four stages:
Flea eggs are laid by adult females. After consuming blood from its host (usually your pet) the flea then lays tiny white cylindrical eggs that can be very tough to see (0.5 mm long).
They are laid in your pet’s fur and can lead to rapid growth in flea population, as females tend to lay eggs in groups of around 20.
Scratching and movement can easily dislodge eggs from your pet’s coat into your home or yard, where they can be picked up by other animals or by the original host.
The highest concentration of eggs in your home is typically where your pet spends most of their time being stationary. This includes their bed, the sofa, favorite spots on the carpet, etc.
Under the best conditions, eggs typically develop into the second stage of their life cycle, larvae, in 1 to 6 days. Larvae can grow to up to a 1/4 of an inch in length, making them easier to spot than eggs.
Larvae gestation time is usually a couple of weeks. They avoid direct light and grow by eating “flea dirt” (pre-digested blood) produced by adult fleas.
Larvae tend to develop in dark areas, such as carpets and crevices around your home.
The pupae stage is one of the tougher to get rid of. At this stage, pupae spin a thick, sticky cocoon that helps them stick to their surroundings, making them difficult to vacuum or sweep up.
The cocoon also attracts dust and other debris that helps them blend in with their environment.
Once in this protective cocoon, pupae are immune to most household flea sprays. It typically takes 8-12 days for pupae to develop into adults, but if conditions are not optimal they can survive for six months to a year until favorable conditions come around.
Pupae turn into adults once they come out of their cocoon. Newborn fleas will die if they do not start feeding within a couple hours.
However, after only their first consumption, they will begin breeding and laying eggs within a few days.
They can live on their host for a few weeks to a couple months and typically spend most of their time on the host feeding and laying eggs. Adult fleas can lay more than 2,000 eggs in their lifetime.
Fleas jump, rather than fly, and their saliva can cause severe allergic reactions to some hosts.
When Is Flea Season?
Fleas can only hatch from their pupae (cocoon) under optimal conditions. According to PetMD, these conditions are typically 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit and 75-85 percent humidity.
These means fleas can survive and reproduce indoors all year long, as long as they have hosts to feed from, but they are especially prominent in the spring and summer months.
If you live in the U.S., the following map is a helpful guide to when fleas are most active in your state:
The closer you are to the equator, the more active fleas are likely to be, due to the temperature and humidity conditions.
How Do Fleas Get Inside Your Home?
Fleas can enter your home many ways, and they can be carried by animals or humans.
Here are some of the most common ways for fleas to enter your house:
– From the back yard. Fleas can easily jump onto a host from the yard and be carried inside.
– From other pets entering your home. Do you regularly have other people’s pets over? This could increase the likelihood of fleas.
– From your pet’s exposure to other animals. This can happen at the dog park, at the vet, or anywhere other animals may come into contact with your pet.
– The neighborhood. If fleas are present in your neighborhood, they can hop onto you or your pet when out for walks.
Once present, it’s typically very hard to identify exactly how these parasites have infested your home. This is why prevention and protective measures are important, but we’ll get into this later in the guide.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home and Yard
Many pet owners make the mistake of thinking that fleas are only present where their pet hangs out most.
This is not the case, as fleas usually spread over the entire house, not just one area.
So when thinking about flea removal, you need to think about treating your entire home and yard to kill as many fleas as possible. Then it must be re-treated – sometimes several times over the course of a few months – to kill any remaining eggs and hatching larvae.
Most of the fleas in your home are not actually on your pet. They are the eggs and larvae hiding in your carpet, furniture, and crevices.
Here are the steps to completely remove fleas from your home and yard:
– Treat the fleas on your pet
– Cleanse your pet’s belongings
– Treat the fleas around your home
– Cleanse your belongings
– Treat the fleas in your yard
– Repeat 2-4 more times
Let’s go through each in detail:
1. Treat fleas on your pet
First, it’s imperative that you treat the fleas present on your pet.
Fleas can cause a host of issues, least of all discomfort and most of all infection and allergic reactions. Here’s what we recommend to treat fleas on your pet quickly and effectively:
Capstar Fast-Acting For Dogs and Cats (2 to 25 lbs and Over 25 lbs) – Capstar is one of the most powerful formulas for quickly killing fleas on your pet. One tablet should kill them all.
Next, you need to kill the fleas on your pet’s belongings and remove the eggs.
Your pets belongings may include their:
To cleanse their belongings, wash their stuff in hot water. This will kill/remove any fleas, larvae, and eggs present on them.
Then, immediately quarantine their stuff so it doesn’t come into contact with anything that may have fleas on them and re-infest their belongings. For example. you could seal their stuff in plastic bags and place them in the garage until the rest of the house has been cleansed.
If necessary, in the meantime purchase new items for your pet to use.
3. Treat the fleas around your home
After cleansing your pet’s belongings, the next step is to treat the fleas around your home.
In essence, you need to treat your entire house to kill as many fleas as possible.
First, use a flea spray to kill fleas in hard-to-reach areas, like upholstery, cracks, and crevices. Frontline Spray is an excellent option. You should also use it on your carpets.
Next, use a fogger in each room of your home to kill adult fleas and hatching eggs.
Finally, try to get whatever the spray and fogger didn’t by sweeping and vacuuming your carpets, floors, rugs, and furniture.
This should kill almost of the fleas around your home.
At this point, it should be fine to take your pet’s stuff out of quarantine so they can start using it again.
4. Cleanse your belongings
To cleanse your belongings, wash them in hot water, similar to what you did to cleanse your pet’s belongings.
This includes your clothing, bedding, and anything your pet may have come in contact with while infested with fleas.
5. Treat the fleas in your yard
After treating your pet and your home, the next place is the likely source of the fleas – your yard.
To treat your yard, spray it with a flea killing yard spray like Siphotrol. For at least the first few weeks, you should also spray your shoes and pant legs when you come in from the back yard.
6. Repeat 2-4 more times
Repeat this process every 3-4 weeks over the next few months. This will make sure you kill any hatching fleas that you didn’t get with previous treatments.
Repeating this process is very important. Most people treat once, see that the fleas are gone, and think their problem is solved, only to have them return a month later.
This is because there were still eggs and pupae that weren’t treated previously and hatched in the meantime.
Don’t make this mistake. Repeat the process a few more times to make sure the fleas and their eggs/larvae are completely gone.
Home Remedies to Remove Fleas
The above steps is the most effective way to get rid of fleas in your home and yard, but many pet owners are wary of using chemical products or would like to save money and use items that are readily available in their home to remove fleas.
Luckily, there are a good amount of home remedies for flea removal. Here are a few:
- Bowl of Dish Soap and Warm Water
- Baking Soda
- Vinegar Spray
Bowl of Dish Soap and Warm Water
This remedy is very simple. First, mix dish soap with warm water. Then place a bowl containing the mixture in each room of your house and leave it there overnight.
When fleas jump into the solution, the dish soap will cause them to get stuck. Then you can simply throw out the solution in the morning to get rid of the fleas.
Repeat each night as needed.
Baking soda is another excellent solution, especially for getting hard to reach areas like deep carpeting. Baking soda kills fleas by dehydrating them.
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets and furniture, then scrub it in to make sure it gets all the way inside. Leave it for a few hours then vacuum the house to pick the baking soda back up, along with the fleas.
Salt works similarly to baking soda. Sprinkle it around your home, leave for 1-2 days to dehydrate the fleas, then vacuum.
Add a 1/4 distilled white vinegar to 3/4 water and put into a spray bottle. Use on fabrics and surfaces to kill fleas once or twice a week.
Natural Remedies to Remove Fleas
If you're environmentally conscious, there are a few effective natural remedies as well:
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Lemon Spray
- Groom Your Pet With a Flea Comb
Diatomaceous Earth is a non-toxic substance made of the crushed fossils of marine organisms. It's extremely effective at killing insects but the food-grade formula is harmless to animals and humans.
Sprinkle some Diatomaceous Earth over your house, leave it for 1-2 days, and then vacuum up.
Slice a lemon into thin slices, add to water, and boil. Then let it sit overnight and place the solution into a spray bottle.
This spray works great for furniture and bedding (both your pet's and yours).
Groom Your Pet With a Flea Comb
Flea combs are specifically designed to get deep into an animal's fur and weed out fleas, larvae, and eggs. Grooming your pet with one of these is a great way to help relieve irritation, but make sure to treat your home as well.
How to Prevent Fleas From Coming Back
Once you’ve killed the fleas in your home, your #1 goal should be prevention.
Preventing re-infestation of fleas must happen at the source. Almost all flea infestations are brought into your home by your pet, so the best method you can use is to protect your pet from getting fleas in the first place.
The Best Preventative Flea Treatments
First, we recommend putting a flea collar on your pet. This is especially important during flea season, but it’s also an easy and inexpensive way to provide year-round protection.
Seresto is one of the most popular flea collars for both dogs and cats.
Second, if your pet goes outside or regularly comes into contact with other animals, washing them with flea and tick shampoo is a smart move.
Topical treatments can be very effective for killing fleas. Brands like K9 Advantix and Frontline are very popular.
Finally, oral treatments like tablets and soft chews can help you avoid the mess that sometimes comes with topical treatments.
To Wrap It Up
Fleas can be extremely problematic, but now you should be fully prepared to treat them and prevent them from coming back.
Remember, the sooner you address the problem, the better.
A comprehensive guide to getting rid of fleas and preventing them from coming back.