So, you’ve got a pet and it’s got fleas and those fleas have made a home in your house. They jump on your legs when you walk through a room, they crawl over you while you’re watching TV and they even bite you in bed. It’s a situation that can’t go on. It’s time for action.

The Flea Lifecycle

The first thing to learn when fighting a flea infestation is the flea lifecycle.

Briefly, adult fleas live on the pet and feed off its blood. They lay eggs, most of which fall from the pet and lodge themselves in carpets, crevices and furnishings. Depending on conditions, the eggs will hatch into larvae in one to two weeks.

The larvae, minute worm-like creatures live deep in carpet fibres and develop over a period of several weeks before entering the pupae stage and spinning a cocoon around themselves.

The insect can remain in the pupae stage for several months before emerging as an adult flea. A point to note about the pupae stage is that the cocoon the insect spins is waterproof and tends to protect it from insecticides.

Effective Extermination

Any effective extermination of fleas must take into account the above four stages of flea development. It is no good simply killing the adult fleas because as soon as some of the pupae hatch the fleas will be back.

To rid your home of fleas, take these steps:

Vacuum

Vacuum everywhere – floors, furnishings, nooks and crannies, even outside areas if the flooring is appropriate. Vacuuming sucks up eggs, larvae and pupae reducing the potential future adult flea population. The vibrations it causes also stimulate the pupae to hatch. You may not think you want this, but you do as it makes the insect more vulnerable to the insecticide you’ll use later.

Wash

Wash pet bedding, rugs and any other fabrics which may harbour fleas at any stage of their life cycle in soapy water. Soapy water kills fleas no matter what stage they’re at.

Spray

Time to bring in the chemicals. There are many flea sprays out there and the choice is up to you, but spraying is unlikely to be effective if the spray or flea bomb does not contain Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). This is a  protein which stops non-adult fleas from developing to maturity. This means that they can’t become adults capable of laying more eggs – effectively breaking the lifecycle.

In addition to IGR, your spray should contain a knock-down agent to kill the already-developed adult fleas.

Be diligent in your spraying – all floors, all areas where your pet lounges, patios and decks, under furniture etc. If you intend to use a flea bomb, be aware that it may not reach very far under large pieces of furniture and you’ll need to dose these areas separately.

Treat Your Pet

No point clearing the house if Fido is a walking flea colony. As with room sprays, pet flea treatment is a matter of personal choice. The most modern and effective treatments, however, are the “top-spot” products. When using these, a small dose is applied between the pet’s shoulder blades and remains effective for about a month.

The Following Weeks

Even though the approach outlined above is exhaustive, you’re not done yet.

Not every adult will have been killed, not every egg will have been destroyed and, particularly, a number of the pupae, with their protective cocoon, may have survived the spray.

You may, in fact, see a resurgence in the flea population a couple of weeks after treating your house as the surviving pupae, stimulated by your vacuuming, begin to hatch.

The answer? Keep vacuuming every day. You’re basically waging a war of attrition, progressively withering the remaining flea population to a point where it is no longer viable.

While regular vacuuming is often sufficient at this stage, in extreme cases you may need to spray a second time.

The Good News

It’s a fair bit of work and sometimes it has to be repeated, but the good news is that once you’re successful your house will be flea-free and will remain so. The adult fleas will have died out and there will be no pre-adult fleas left to produce any more. You’ll once more be able to walk across your floors in safety.

Unless you forget to dose Fido and he returns from a flea-infested neighbour’s with a new set of tiny friends….

Learn about a natural way to get rid of fleas in this video.


How to Get Rid of a Flea Infestation, 3.4 out of 5 based on 28 ratings

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Comments

  1. Getting rid of fleas.

    I would like to add a few bits of advice to what has been written above.

    I agree strongly that vacuuming thoroughly is the first action to be taken but it is very important to dispose carefully of the vacuum bag or vacuumed material if using a bagless vacuum. The bag or material should be placed in a plastic bag and sealed before placing in the refuse bin. If this is not done there is a risk of the vacuum becoming a reservoir of infestation.

    I agree with Matthew that the flea spray used around the house should contain an insect growth regulator (IGR). Kiwicare’s NO Fleas Total contains an IGR and is ideal for fleas and other insect pests that have several life cycle stages in the house. NO Fleas Total also contains a long term residual insecticide for continued protection over several months.

    I would also add that fleas can live outside in summer. If your affected pets have bedding outside or a place that they sleep regularly, perhaps even under the house or deck, these should be sprayed as well as the house interior.

    The video attached to this post shows the use of only diatomaceous earth and vacuuming for the control of fleas. I believe this is unlikely to be sufficient in most cases, particularly as the video shows the technician vacuuming AFTER using the diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth needs to remain in place for days and weeks to be at all effective.

    If you have any questions please contact Kiwicare.

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  2. Cheryl McLeod says:

    How can I control a flea infestation in a large area of grass? My neighbour doesn’t de-flea her dogs and they appear to be a source of re-infestation for my animals.

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  3. Jay says:

    Just andother home remidy, it is not as effective as the rest but can be used in conjunction with all the others and certainly does help.
    Fill up a bowl of boiling hot water from the kettle and place the bowls in the rooms where you think you have a problem.
    The Fleas think that it is a warm body and will jump into it. They die instantly if the water is hot enough.
    Like i said it is not as effective as the rest of the theories, but if you are hoovering and are drawin out stray fleas, it certainly works.
    Just make sure to top the water up and to dispose of the cold water.

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  4. Jason says:

    Does anyone know way to make these awful creatures extinct once and for all? some kind of super ultra hardcore flea chemical warfare? I want them all dead, and I am sick and tired of pointless “holistic” methods, diatomaceous earth DOES NOT WORK! at all, it doesn’t kill anything, not fleas, not termites, not anything, it is a complete waste of time and money that moronic people who are afraid of chemicals use to no avail. screw your Hippie remades I want the stuff that you pull the pin, toss it into your empty house, and every living thing smaller than a dog dies immediately,and permanently, not over the course of a few days or weeks, I mean super hardcore kills ALL bugs, not just the bastard fleas. Someone give me a real solution and not more of those stupid hippie methods that never work.

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  5. Hayley says:

    Hi, Can some one tell me the best way to get rid of fleas with young childen? we have no pets in our home, we got them from a blanket that was stored away for about 15 mths… Can some one please help?

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