A bite. Brown moving specks in your pet's fur. Another bite. And now your whole house can't stop scratching. Uh-oh, you've got fleas. It's bad enough to find a few fleas and it's even worse when you understand there may be a lot more. In fact, by the time you see a flea, there's a good chance you have a full-blown flea infestation in your home. That's because the adult fleas you see are only 5% of a flea infestation. The remaining 95% consist of flea eggs, flea larvae and pupae hiding in your home and in your yard.
What you can do if you have fleas in your house
It's your space, and you thought you made it clear that bloodsucking invaders are not welcome. Yet in addition to your pet, wildlife in your yard or even hitchhikers on your own clothes can be a starting point for bringing fleas into the home. So, how to help get rid of fleas in your house?
Start by cleaning. Really cleaning. Spring cleaning, fall cleaning, in-laws-coming-to-visit cleaning. Fleas like to hide where your pet spends most of its time. They like dark, cool environments, such as baseboards, crevices and upholstery.
- Vacuum floors, carpets, area rugs and furniture
- Throw vacuum bags away or empty vacuum canisters outside in the trash
- Wash pet bedding, including covers and inserts, in hot water
- Wash your family bedding in hot water
- Wash bathroom rugs and throw blankets — any places your pet likes to sleep or lounge
- Fog your home: choose a fogger that kills multiple flea life stages, and always follow label directions
How to know if the fleas are gone
Your house is clean! But how can you tell if fleas are gone from your house? There may be no definitive answer, but you can monitor your pets for scratching, chewing, hair loss and touch sensitivity as signs that fleas are back.
How to help keep an infestation from coming back
During your initial efforts, you worked to get rid of fleas in your home, but the entire cycle can start over. Stay vigilant! All your hard work can be undone by visiting wildlife in your yard, a puppy play date or unhatched eggs that survived the first round — but only if you allow it. Repeat the steps as necessary until you no longer find fleas in your house.
- Vacuum thoroughly and regularly
- Clean the interior of your car — you never know when fleas hitched a ride to work with you
- Clean pet bedding every week
- Treat your yard as directed by the product label
- Apply an appropriate flea preventive to all cats and dogs in your household, both indoor and outdoor pets
Fight back at fleas
Fleas are tiny but can pack a big punch. They reproduce quickly, hide, and have four life stages, during some of which they can be dormant, surviving for months without feeding. Beyond the itch, flea bites can lead to diseases in your pets. Swallowing an infected flea can also transmit tapeworms to your pets. Don't wait for fleas to come back to you — bring the fight to them. Take care to hep protect your home and pets to enjoy more moments of a happier life together.
Related article: The Flea Life Cycle
Related article: Why do fleas keep coming back?
Related article: Which flea prevention method is right for you and your pet?