Mosquitoes flying around

How To Get Rid of Fleas

September 27, 2022

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

When your pet has fleas, it may feel impossible to get rid of them completely. That’s because fleas can actually camp out in areas of your home and survive for days or weeks without a host. So even if you think fleas are gone because you’ve removed them from your pet, they still may be lingering unseen in your furniture, carpets, or pet bedding, waiting to jump back onto a host. Learn more about fleas so you can get rid of them for good. 

puppy biting its itchy leg

How do fleas get on my pet?

Fleas don’t fly. Instead, they jump onto a host as it passes by them. Fleas can sense movement, body heat, and breathing, so this is how they know when to jump onto a viable host. If a flea can’t find a pet host, it will resort to jumping onto humans. 

Fleas can transfer easily from pet to pet if your pet routinely socializes with other pets. Once on a pet, fleas cling on until they are washed or groomed from the animal. On short-haired animals, fleas can live up to 8 days, and even longer on long-haired animals.

Fleas don’t just come from other pets. They can also jump from an infested environment if your pet walks through it. Since fleas can survive without a host for up to a week, it’s important to not only remove fleas from your pet, but also from the surrounding environments they may be living in. Fleas like to hide in carpets, upholstered furniture, or other places with plush areas and crevices where fleas can hide and stay safe until another host arrives.

What do fleas eat?

As you may have guessed, fleas’ primary food source is you and your pets. Fleas are bloodsuckers, and female fleas need a blood meal to lay eggs and begin their breeding cycle. After feeding, female fleas will mate and begin laying eggs in the fur or surrounding environments around their host. When fleas bite and feed, they also secrete saliva, which is what causes allergic reactions in pets and humans, including itching and skin lesions. 

Flea larvae can’t bite to eat blood right away; instead, they will eat any blood they can find that is readily available as well as feces, dead skin, and plant or animal matter. Adult fleas can eat these items too, especially if they don’t have a host for a few days.

How to get rid of fleas

This process of getting rid of fleas is a little more effort than other kinds of infestations because fleas have a long lifespan (up to several months). At each stage of their lifecycle (egg, larvae, pupa, and adult), fleas have different vulnerabilities to insecticide efforts. In order to get rid of fleas in all of their stages, you may need to repeat the processes below two or more times within a week. 

person showing fleas on dog's skin

Here are some tips for getting rid of fleas at each stage:

  • Wash all pet bedding, toys, and other fabrics that might have fleas on them
  • Sweep and vacuum floors often after an infestation, especially by the corners and edges near the walls
  • Clean your pets regularly with specially-formulated flea shampoos, taking the time to comb around the neck, ears, and tail of your pet (where fleas are most likely to cozy up)
  • Use flea medications regularly so your pets stay protected outside of your home
  • Follow up with a pest control professional to create a home treatment plan that focuses on outdoor and indoor areas to make sure that the fleas are gone 

What can a pest control service do for a flea infestation?

Pest control professionals have detailed plans that include indoor and outdoor services for  a flea infestation. At Hawx, we use a Customer Preparation Checklist to ensure that all concerns are fully addressed. We not only treat the areas where adult fleas have been seen, but we also treat any areas, indoors and outside, that facilitate the development of immature fleas as well.

Coordinate with us at the time of your Hawx service visit; when our team comes to perform the service you should plan to be at the veterinarian having your pet/pets treated at the same time. 

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