Fleas are tiny insect bloodsucker parasites that live off of their host animal’s blood. They prefer animals (i.e., at home, your cats and dogs), but will go after human blood in the absence of pets. Their bites cause discomfort and itching, and can cause more severe reactions in humans and pets that have allergies to flea saliva. Fleas also spread bacteria and blood-borne contaminants, and can even spread parasites (e.g., tapeworms).
Fleas are extremely difficult to get rid of once they establish themselves in your home. A freshly bathed pet can get fleas again if he or she comes in contact with carpet, furniture, or bedding where fleas are hiding.
Learn what you can about fleas and what you can do to help get rid of them.
Fleas in the Carpet
Fleas develop through a full metamorphosis: from egg, to larva, to pupa, and finally to adult.
Adult fleas spend most of their time on your cats or dogs, and not in the carpet. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae, however, will often be found in your carpet, furniture, or floor voids. And when flea pupae emerge as adults, they will latch on to your cat or dog as soon as they have the opportunity. Clean, vacuumed floors are essential to help prevent fleas (and other pests) in your home.
Don't be too hard on yourself, however. No matter how clean your home is, you can still find yourself dealing with a flea problem, especially if you have pets. Also keep in mind that even indoor pets (like your meticulously clean cat) can still get fleas.
How Do Flea Eggs Get Into Your Carpet?
Flea Eggs. Adult fleas lay all their eggs on your cats and/or dogs. Flea eggs are round, smooth, and virtually invisible; they easily slip off your pets and into your carpeting, furniture, etc. Keep in mind that if you have flea-infested stray animals passing through your property, they can drop flea eggs into your yard, where they will develop into adults and try to hop onto your pet at some point.
Flea Larvae. Once hatched, the flea eggs develop into the larval stage. Flea larvae stay hidden deep in carpet fibers, beneath furniture cushions, pet bedding, and in other safe areas. The larvae primarily survive on dried blood adult flea waste that also falls off of your pet's skin.
Flea Pupae. Before emerging as adults, the flea larvae develop into pupae in a hard, silk-like cocoon, where they remain for two to four weeks. Flea pupae in the cocoon stage are virtually resistant to pest control products and for this reason, you may still see adult fleas emerging even after your home and pets are treated.
How to Help Prevent Fleas Indoors
Successful flea control begins with consistent prevention. Medicated pet flea products, when used correctly all year round, is the best way to prevent fleas in your home. If you have a flea infestation, it is important to treat all pets in your house, even if they don’t go outside. It is also important to treat your home and yard in conjunction with your pets' treatments.
- Keep your home clean and tidy. Sweep your floors and vacuum your carpets, rugs, and furniture regularly as focus areas in your fight against indoor fleas. This will help get rid of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae that may be present. Seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic trash bag and dispose of it in the trash, preferably outdoors.
- Launder pet bedding. Launder your pet's bedding regularly, and pay close attention to keeping areas of your home clean and tidy where your pets like to frequent.
- Keep your pets treated. Treat and bathe your pets frequently with products labeled for fleas and ticks. Get your pet a flea / tick collar. When your pets go outside to play, brush or comb your pets thoroughly before letting them back in the house. Keep your pets well-groomed and trimmed, especially in the summertime. If you don’t treat both your pet(s) and your home (indoors and out) you won't get rid of all the fleas and they'll make a comeback.
Get Rid of Fleas Indoors by Getting Rid of Fleas Outdoors
To help get rid of fleas indoors, the first area you should focus on is your yard. The best way to win against fleas (along with ticks and other pests) indoors is to practice prevention outdoors.
- Keep your lawn mowed and shrubbery well-trimmed. Trim foliage and trees back from your home. Pay careful attention to areas of your yard where your pets like to frequent.
- Seal off any openings to crawl spaces, garages, sheds, under decks, etc.
- Clean up trash from your yard that flea-infested deer, raccoons, etc. might come to feed on.
- Don't leave pet food outside overnight.
Flea Killer for Your Yard
An effective yard spray, can also be a good longer-term strategy and can cover larger areas against pests in general, including fleas, outdoors. Try Maggie's Farm Yard Bug Spray as a preventive outdoor perimeter treatment.
More Flea Prevention Indoors
Once fleas have made their home indoors, pest control products are almost always necessary to control them and help prevent them from making a comeback.
Indoors, fleas can be killed directly by spraying with an effective indoor plant-powered flea spray like Maggie's Farm Bed Bug & Flea Killer or Maggie’s Farm Home Bug Spray. Maggie’s Farm Spider & Insect Dust or Maggie’s Farm Bed Bug Killer are longer-lasting treatments for the edges of carpets, under and around pet bedding and rest areas, and underneath furniture cushions.
Again, pay particular attention to your pets' favorite areas and treat them thoroughly, but don’t treat pets directly with Maggie's Farm products. It can be difficult for insecticides to penetrate pupae, so you should plan to do a couple of treatments a few weeks apart to get the fleas that emerge out of their protective life cycle stages.
Be sure to always follow directions for any pest control products you use.
For more information on preventing and how to get rid of fleas, check out:
For scientifically-tested, effective flea control in your home and yard that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.