Disappearing Act: Will Fleas Just Go Away On Their Own?

Fleas are a common nuisance that pet owners often face. When a flea infestation strikes, it can feel like an uphill battle requiring a lot of hands-on intervention. You might wonder whether fleas will go away on their own. Unfortunately, they will not, and we’re going to delve into why.

Some of the topics we’ll cover include:

  • Why fleas won’t disappear naturally
  • What makes fleas invest your pet and your home in the first place
  • How you can prevent fleas
  • Natural vs. chemical remedies for fleas
  • What to do if you can’t get rid of fleas on your own

Let’s get started so you can get rid of these pests sooner rather than later!

Why Fleas Won’t Just Leave on Their Own

When fleas find a good place to live, namely on your pet and in your home, they’re very unlikely to leave on their own accord. After all, they’re living rent-free, they have plenty to eat, and if you’re not trying to eliminate them, they have a pretty good deal going! They aren’t going to go anywhere.

Keep in mind that the flea lifecycle has four stages, so you might not notice much activity when the majority of the leas are in the egg, larva, or pupa stages. Once they’re adults, though, watch out! If you notice a decrease in fleas and you haven’t taken specific steps to exterminate them, be aware that they’re probably just in their dormant stages and haven’t hatched into adulthood yet.

Factors Influencing Flea Infestation

Of course, some pets and homes are more attractive than others when it comes to a flea infestation. If you happen to live in a warmer climate, you’re more likely to get fleas than your colder-climate cousins. Without a cold winter to kill off the insects, they’ll just proliferate year-round. (Unfortunately, even living where it’s snowy won’t kill off all of the critters that are snug as a bug in a rug inside your warm, cozy house.)

Having pets makes your home a delicious buffet for fleas. They don’t only live on cats and dogs, either; fleas can make themselves at home on pet rodents, birds, and any other warm-blood creatures you have living in your home. The good news is that they won’t live on humans, though they may bite you on occasion.

Finally, a lack of regular cleaning can allow fleas to reproduce unchecked. If you’re not vacuuming frequently, wiping down surfaces, and grooming your pets, nothing is interrupting the flea lifecycle. This isn’t to say that fleas only infest dirty homes, just that they’re more likely to thrive in an environment that isn’t cleaned often.

How to Prevent Fleas

An ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure, and there are some things you can do to prevent a flea infestation in the first place. These will also help you keep down the flea population as you battle an infestation:

  • Keep your pet flea-free. Preventative medications and other products can go a long way here. Only use products recommended by your vet, however, and never give your pet a product designed for a different species, as it can cause dangerous and even fatal results. Bathing or grooming your pet is another key to keeping them free from fleas.
  • Clean your house. You want to physically remove as many fleas and eggs as possible, and you can do this by vacuuming your carpets, upholstery, and anywhere your pet spends a lot of time, such as in and around their bed. Wash blankets your pet uses, and wash your hard-surface floors regularly.
  • Keep your yard tidy. Mowing the grass and picking up fallen fruit can dissuade small animals like rats and rabbits from frequenting your yard. This can cut down on the flea population, since many pets get fleas from wildlife in the yard. They don’t have to encounter the wildlife up close and personal, either: flea eggs falling off of a rabbit can hatch into fleas that will jump on your dog weeks later.

Ways to Eliminate Fleas: Natural and Not

Once you have fleas, it takes a lot more effort to get rid of them than it did to prevent them in the first place. In many cases, it can be done naturally without the use of chemicals. Other times, though, you will need to rely on chemical products.

Natural ways to combat fleas include frequent vacuuming, using Borax or diatomaceous earth first. Sprinkle the powder on your carpets and upholstery, working it in with a broom if needed. Then vacuum several times to remove the powder and the dead fleas. The powder will continue drying out and killing fleas over a period of time, so you’ll need to vacuum each day. In addition, you’ll need to do a lot of laundry, washing all bedding, blankets, couch pillows, and so on, that your pet has access to.

Of course, you’ll also need to wash your pet. You will probably need to use a flea-killing formulation, but again, only use products designed for the species of pet you have. Do not use dog shampoo on cats or vice versa. Very young pets can often be safely washed with blue Dawn dish liquid, but check with your veterinarian.

Chemical treatments can include various flea medications, sprays, powders, and foggers. Talk to your vet before using any products on your pet. Also, read the instructions carefully and take the necessary precautions recommended. For example, you may need to cover food-prep areas in your kitchen before using certain sprays or foggers.

When to Call in the Big Guns

If you have been trying to get rid of fleas and you don’t see a drastic improvement within 2-3 weeks, it’s time to call in the pros. A professional exterminator will have access to tools and chemicals that you don’t, and they know how to use them safely. It’s worth the cost to eliminate a flea problem if you aren’t having luck on your own.

Fleas in Your Follicles: Can Fleas Live in Human Hair?

Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking pests, and if you were to take a look at a cat or dog infested with these critters, you’d see that they’re uncomfortable and itchy. One belief that many people have is that fleas can live in human hair. Is that really the case? The answer is no, fleas don’t live on humans… at least not usually.

Let’s explore the topic a bit more:

  • What types of animals do fleas typically live on?
  • Why do some people believe that fleas live on humans?
  • Are there specific circumstances that can cause fleas to live in human hair?
  • How do humans get bitten by fleas?
  • How can you prevent flea infestations?

Read on to learn more about these pests.

What Types of Animals to Fleas Live On?

Fleas live on the blood of warm-blooded animals, and they will live on mammals or birds. Their bodes are designed to be able to maneuver easily through thick fur or feathers, so they can stay protected and undetected. They feed on the blood of their hosts, and they get to the blood be biting. The bites can cause itching and sometimes allergic reactions.

So, if you have a dog, cat, or pet bird, they can get fleas. Since fleas also live on animals that probably trek through your yard and local parks, such as rodents, raccoons, and rabbits, that’s likely where your dog or cat is most likely to get fleas.

Do Fleas Really Live on Humans?

Fleas don’t like living on humans. Our hair isn’t thick enough to provide good insulation and protection. Also, we wash our hair frequently, so our hair is usually too slippery for them to get a good hold on. The parts of our bodies without thick hair just aren’t conducive for fleas to live on; there’s nowhere to hide, and we’d see them immediately.

Fleas have definite preferences as to the types of animals they infest, and those animals are generally fur-covered mammals and sometimes birds.

Could They Potentially Live on Humans?

While fleas don’t typically live on humans, it’s possible in a few specific circumstances for them to make a home on a human head. If people live in very crowded, unsanitary conditions, they could conceivably experience having fleas living in their hair or on their bodies.

More often, humans will have other types of mites or head lice that they might mistake for fleas. While head lice and fleas both bite, they’re two different creatures.

Why Do Fleas Bite Humans If They Don’t Live on Them?

Humans will get bitten by fleas if there are fleas in the environment. Fleas will live on household pets, and they can also temporarily live in carpeting, bedding, and upholstered furniture. When you walk through an infested carpet, fleas will jump up and bite you. Most of these bites happen on the ankles and feet.

Fleas will also leave your pet temporarily to bite you if you’re nearby. They might jump onto your body to bite, but they won’t continue living there; they’ll go back to your pet or onto the floor or furniture when they’re done eating.

How Can You Prevent Flea Infestations?

While fleas can’t live on your body, they can certainly cause a lot of discomfort. Also, they can and will continue to live on your pets and will cause them itching and maybe allergic reactions.

The best way to deal with this is to prevent a flea infestation in the first place. First, talk to your vet about ways to keep your pets flea-free. This might entail medication or a gel that you apply to their necks each month. Very young animals can’t use these products, so you may need to resort to bathing them regularly.

Keeping your home clean can also help. Vacuum and wash your pet’s bedding regularly.

Outdoors, keep the grass mowed and if you can take steps to prevent bunnies and raccoons from entering (with a fence, perhaps), do that.

The most important thing to do is address any flea infestation promptly. If self-help measures don’t work, call in the professionals to take care of the problem. The last thing you want is a full-blown infestation, which can happen in a matter of weeks.

From Flea Frenzy to Flea-Free: How Long to Get Rid of Fleas From Your Home

You see your dog or cat scratching, or maybe you’ve seen tiny insects jump onto your ankles from the carpet. The bad news is that you have fleas in your home. The good news is that fleas are generally not too hard to get rid of on your own. But how long does it take to get rid of fleas?

The answer is usually less than a month. In fact, most of them will be gone within two weeks. We’re going to tell you the considerations to keep in mind as you defeat your tiny archenemies:

  • Learn about the flea life cycle
  • Find out what to do on day one of your elimination strategy
  • Get to know the measure to take throughout the first week
  • Learn about the follow-up you need during week two
  • Gain momentum and keep on keepin’ on throughout the rest of the month

Okay, are you ready to get started! One, two, flea, let’s go.

The Flea Life Cycle: Understanding the Invisible Enemy

In order to eliminate fleas, it’s helpful to understand their life cycle. Since you’ll generally only be able to see (and be bitten by) adult fleas, you might think that getting rid of them will result in no more fleas, but you still have the eggs, larvae and pupae to contend with.

The first stage of flea life is the egg stage. Eggs don’t all hatch on the same timeline; depending on the living conditions, their incubation might take as little as two days or as long as two weeks. One female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. While they’re usually laid on your dog or cat, they can tend to fall off around the house, particularly in places your pet spends a lot of time (such as their bed or crate).

The larval and pupal stages are most likely to go unnoticed. Flea larvae and pupae don’t bite or jump or cause any difficulties. They will be in these stages for weeks to months.

The adult phase, however, is when all of the biting and itching happens. Adult fleas emerge from their pupal cocoons when they detect a host (your pets or, in some cases, you). They feed on blood, which is why they start biting, and they can start reproducing within a day or two of hatching. And the cycle continues.

Day One: Your First Leap Toward Victory

So, you’ve discovered fleas on your dog or cat. Maybe they’ve just been scratching a lot and you have found flea dirt or actual live fleas, or perhaps you’ve experienced fleas jumping from the carpet to your ankles. Once you’re sure you have fleas in your home, you need to take quick action.

The first steps will be to clean and vacuum well. Wash your pet, their bedding, and anywhere else they tend to hang out. Vacuum every carpet and every piece of upholstered furniture. Call your veterinarian and get their advice as to which type of flea treatment is right for your pet. Do not use dog products on cats, or vice versa; while some are geared toward either species, using species-specific products on the wrong kind of pet can make them very ill.

The First Week: The Daily Grind Toward Flea Freedom

The first week of flea treatment is going to require daily persistence. Each day, thoroughly clean and vacuum the floors, carpets, and anything upholstered. Also, use your vacuum tool to get into small corners, such as where the baseboards meet the floor.

Wash your pet’s bedding daily. Yes, it’s a pain, and yes, it’s necessary. Use hot water and the hot dry cycle, or you can hang them out in the sun to dry, if you prefer.

Start using flea traps or insecticides. Use caution, and make sure your pets can’t access the traps and that any sprays or powders you use to eliminate fleas are safe for Rover and Fluffy.

Keep using whatever the vet has told you to use on your pet, following the instructions carefully. Some oral medications are given only once per month, while others are given daily during the treatment period. Some products can be used more often than others. Don’t overdose your pet; read the directions and talk to your vet.

The Second Week: Persistence Pays Off

After a full week has passed, you should notice some improvement. You’re still going to have to keep on vacuuming and doing laundry, and you may need to reapply your pet’s treatment (again, follow the instructions!).

Around this time, you can start testing to see if you still have fleas and to what extent your measures are working. Put a little water on a shallow plate (a white salad plate is perfect for this), and add a bit of dishwashing liquid. Put this on the floor under a nightlight. Turn off all lights at night other than this nightlight. Any adult fleas in the room will be attracted to the light and will fall into the water and drown. Make note whether the number of fleas is decreasing over time.

You’ll want to keep up with the plate trick, treating your pet, and vacuuming regularly for the next two weeks, too.

After One Month: Enjoying Your Flea-Free Victory

By the time a month has passed, you should be flea-free. You’ll still need to remain vigilant, as those initial eggs might be in the larval or pupal stage at this point, and if you haven’t yet vacuumed them up, they could still hatch into adults. But by using a flea preventative on your pet and vacuuming several times per week, you should be able to combat any adult fleas that have managed to survive thus far.

Maintain whatever flea prevention your vet has recommended for your pet, and if the fleas come back soon or you aren’t able to get the situation under control within a few weeks, it might be time to call in the experts. Most of the time, though, within a month, you should be flea-free or nearly there.

The Fast Lane to a Flea-Free Home: Tips to Get Rid of Fleas Fast

Fleas are unwelcome guests that can turn your home into an itchy, uncomfortable problem. Time is of the essence when you want to eliminate these jumpy little critters; if you don’t kill them off quickly, they’ll just multiply and cause even more issues. Here are some of the topics we’ll cover in this primer on how to get rid of fleas fast:

  • How to identify fleas
  • How to clean up as many fleas as you can
  • How to de-flea your pets

Let’s get started so you can eliminate your flea problem ASAP!

Flea Frenzy: Identifying a Flea Infestation

Fleas usually come in on furry pets, like cats and dogs, so the telltale sign that you’ve got fleas in your house is seeing your pets scratching. They might also be biting themselves, chewing at their fur, or grooming themselves excessively.

If you look around your pet’s neck, you might see tiny, dark brown fleas moving quickly through the fur. In addition to the fleas themselves, you might see flea dirt, which is their feces. That’s tiny, gritty black specks that looks a lot like black pepper.

Fleas don’t live on humans, but they’ll certainly take the opportunity to bite humans. Another sign of a flea infestation is small, itchy red bumps. They’re smaller than mosquito bites, and they’re usually found on the ankles, feet, and lower legs, since often the fleas are jumping from the floor onto you to take a bite.

If you have any doubt whether or not you have flea problem, you can set flea traps. Set up a nightlight in an outlet a foot or so above the floor. Place a shallow dish on the floor directly under the nightlight, and fill the dish with soapy water. Shut off all of the lights (except for the nightlight) when you go to bed. The next morning, you’ll be able to see whether fleas were attracted to the light and fell into the water and drowned.

The Great Cleanup: How to De-Flea Your Home

Once you’ve determined that you have fleas, you have two missions: One is to de-flea your home, and the other is to de-flea your pet(s). Let’s talk about your house first, though both have to be done at the same time for it to be effective.

First, vacuum all of the carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture in your home. You’re going to want to do this a few times. First, simply vacuum. Dump out the canister outdoors into a sealed bag, then put the sealed bag into your outside garbage can.

Then, sprinkle the carpets and furniture with borax, which is in the laundry section of your local grocery store. (Keep your pets and small children out of the area during this process.) Work that into the surfaces with a broom, then vacuum again. Empty the canister outdoors as before.

Now you’re going to need to vacuum several times until all traces of the borax are gone. Again, don’t forget to dump out the canister outside. If you were to leave it inside, you’d just be giving the fleas a comfortable place to breed. You’ll need to vacuum thoroughly every day for at least two weeks. You don’t need to repeat the borax application, however, unless the problem isn’t improving.

Next, wash all of your linens, pet blankets, pet beds, and washable throw rugs on high heat. Anything that can be safely tried should be dried on a high heat setting; otherwise hang it outside in the sun for several hours.

You can also try more in-depth measures like steam-cleaning carpets and upholstered furniture.

Flea-foggers and powders are also options, but follow the directions carefully for cleaning afterward, since these chemicals can be hazardous to your health and to the health of your pets.

Fast Flea Removal: How to Get the Fleas Off of Your Pet

While you’re treating your home, you’ll also need to treat your pet. The way you do this will depend on the type of pet you have as well as his or her age and general health. To be safe, contact your veterinarian, who will advise you as to the best and safest way to address the issue. Here are some strategies you might consider:

  • Give your pet a flea bath. Note that flea bath formulas are made for either dogs or cats much of the time; you cannot use a product for dogs on a cat. Some are made for both types of animal. Read the instructions carefully and don’t use on baby animals.
  • Use blue Dawn dish soap. If you have a young kitten or puppy, flea bath shampoo might not be safe. Instead, try blue Dawn dish liquid, the type you’d use for washing dishes. This will dry out your pet’s skin, so you shouldn’t repeat this more than once per week and shouldn’t do it more than twice total unless your vet recommends otherwise.
  • Consider oral medications. There are both quick-acting flea medications and those that you use each month on a preventative basis. Talk to your vet about which type to use. Remember, only give your pet the type of medication formulated for their species and weight.
  • Avoid flea collars. These are ineffective and have been known to make pets very ill.
  • Treat all of your pet mammals. Even if only one dog or cat is showing signs of fleas, they’ll all get them, even if you keep them separated. If you have rabbits or rodents, talk to your veterinarian about how to best treat them. Reptiles and birds are not affected by fleas, so there’s no need to treat them.

Most of the time, a mild to moderate flea infestation is manageable at home. In some cases, however, the infestation will become severe and a professional exterminator might need to be called in. By identifying the issue quickly and working promptly to remove the fleas from both your home and your pets, you should be able to get rid of fleas within two weeks.