Fleas are easily some of the most annoying household pests out there. Tiny, fast-moving, and tough to get rid of, they can take over your home and ruin your peace of mind.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with fleas forever.
In this blog, we’re going to share our top tips for getting rid of fleas in the house and reclaiming your comfortable space.
Let’s dive in.
What are Fleas?
Fleas are small, wingless insects that survive by consuming human or animal blood. Adult fleas measure between 0.039 to 0.13 inches in length.
There are about 2,000 species of fleas worldwide, and these pests live in all climates, including temperate, polar, and tropical regions. As parasites that live on the exterior of their host, they belong to the order Siphonaptera.
Fleas are known for causing red, itchy bites on humans and animals and spreading various diseases.
During the Middle Ages, fleas spread the bubonic plague. Today, fleas can spread typhus, cat scratch disease, and a variety of flea-borne parasites, including tapeworms.
Fleas usually enter homes in the coats of infested pets who contract fleas via run-ins with wild animals. Once inside, fleas live in carpets, bedding, pet hair, and other dense textiles that provide shelter.
What Attracts Fleas to Your House or Yard?
Fleas, like most pests, need two main things: food and shelter.
Here’s a brief breakdown of what attracts fleas to your space:
Fleas feed on human and animal blood, so they need to be around mammals to survive.
They usually come indoors by hitching a ride on infested pets, like cats and dogs. Once indoors, they live in pets’ hair, feed on their blood, and reproduce in large numbers.
Have fleas in the house but no pets? These tiny insects are probably living in your yard and hitching a ride inside on your clothing or skin.
Fleas need safe, secluded spots to breed, lay eggs, and live. They love the protection your dog’s shaggy coat offers but will also live in carpets, rugs, and sofas.
What are the Signs of a Flea Infestation?
Need help determining if you have a flea infestation? Look for these signs:
- Scratching. Flea bites cause itching and inflammation, even though you might not see noticeable bite marks. You may have fleas in the house if you or your pets are suddenly very itchy.
- Hair loss. Alopecia, or sudden hair loss, could be a sign that fleas are present. Pets may give themselves bald spots as they scratch at flea bites.
- Welts. Severe flea infestations can cause bites that create welts and tiny red bumps, which may appear on an animal’s (or human’s) skin.
- Visual sightings. Fleas are so tiny and fast-moving that they’re hard to spot with the naked eye. While you’re unlikely to see them against your skin, you can detect them with a pair of white socks. Here’s what we recommend: throw on a pair of clean, white, tall socks and walk through your carpeted areas for about ten minutes. If fleas are present, they’ll jump up to hitch a ride on your socks. Look for the tiny fleas themselves or signs of flea dirt – small red, brown, or black specks.
How to Get Rid of Fleas Fast: 6 Natural & Chemical Methods
Follow these tips to get rid of fleas in the house:
1. Get rid of other pest populations, first
Fleas always come from somewhere.
In most cases, they’re transported to your yard by wild animals like deer or raccoons. Domestic pets then encounter the animals or the fleas they leave behind and transport them into your home, where they bother you and everyone who lives there.
With this in mind, the easiest way to resolve the flea problem is to get rid of the pests that bring them to your property in the first place.
Consider this example from the founder of our company – Zachary Smith, aka “Pest Dude:”
“Once, we had a major flea attack on a customer’s property, where our legs were nearly covered in fleas as we walked through the tall grass. Upon investigating, we found the fleas were coming from an area where deer slept overnight. These fleas were easier controlled by using deer fencing and treating the pets, followed by a spray application of flea products around the home and yard.” – Zachary Smith AKA “The Pest Dude”
If you’ve got raccoons, rodents, or deer in your yard, resolve those problems before you resort to chemical flea control measures.
Exclusion fencing, repellents, and traps can all work to deter pests and reduce their populations.
2. Treat your yard for fleas
If fleas live in your yard, they’ll quickly become an indoor problem, as well. Because of this, treating your home and yard are equally important.
In our field experience, we’ve found this Outdoor Flea and Tick Kit to be an excellent option for homeowners. It contains a product called Temprid FX, a water-based concentrate that controls fleas, ticks, and other insects.
The formula provides minimal odor and long-lasting flea control. The included Archer Insect Growth Regulator, meanwhile, halts the growth and development of immature fleas and ticks and disrupts the breeding cycle of adults.
The concentrates can be diluted and applied simultaneously to provide rapid pest control.
3. Have pets treated by your vet
Now that you’ve gotten rid of outdoor pests and treated your yard for fleas, it’s time to turn your attention to your pets.
Since fleas enter most homes via infested pets, we recommend taking your cats, dogs, and other furry friends to the vet for a flea and tick treatment.
If you have dogs, you know they tend to shake themselves after waking up, sending fleas flying onto your walls, furniture, and carpet.
To get rid of fleas safely, your vet can recommend a long-lasting flea treatment that kills fleas on contact and prevents their eggs and larvae from infesting your home.
4. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter in your home
Get rid of any remaining fleas and their larvae by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean your house.
As you vacuum, pay special attention to your carpets, upholstered furniture, and areas where your pets spend time.
The vacuum’s suction will pick up fleas, their eggs, larvae, and any debris they leave behind while the HEPA filter locks debris away.
When you’re finished vacuuming, empty the canister into a bucket of hot soapy water to kill fleas, or take it outside and empty it into a plastic trash bag.
Are you looking for a vacuum recommendation? We love the Bissell 2998 MultiClean Allergen Lift-Off Pet Vacuum.
5. Apply indoor insecticide
Next, use an indoor insecticide and insect growth regulator (IGR) to make your home a flea-free zone. Treat the areas under your couch cushions, along your baseboards, and under your furniture.
Using both an insecticide and an insect growth regulator during indoor treatment is essential.
The insecticide will kill adult fleas, while the IGR will prevent reproduction, egg-hatch, and molting. IGRs are generally minimally toxic to humans and will work to stop fleas from reproducing until the entire infestation has died.
As far as products go, we’ve found PT Alpine Flea & Bed Bug Pressurized Insecticide to work well. The easy-to-use formula contains the active ingredient Pyriproxyfen and is safe for pets.
It kills fleas for up to 30 days, stops eggs from hatching for up to 7 months, and kills bedbugs. A single 20-ounce can contains enough solution to treat a 2,625-square-foot home.
6. Apply follow-up, long-lasting flea treatments
To make your insecticide application more effective, we recommend adding Rockwell CimeXa flea product dry powder to the areas where fleas like to hang out, like under couch cushions and along baseboards.
This product contains an engineered silica compound (like diatomaceous earth) that quickly kills fleas, ticks, cockroaches, bed bugs, and other indoor pests.
It’s great to use after spraying an indoor insecticide or IGR or to extend results between treatments.
How do Pest Control Professionals Get Rid of Fleas?
Considering partnering with a pest control professional to get rid of fleas in your house and yard? Here’s what to expect:
Most pest control professionals start with a preliminary inspection. During this process, the team will evaluate your home and yard to identify areas where flea populations live.
They may also search for other signs of flea infestation, like the presence of eggs or flea dirt. They’ll also identify the species of flea and make recommendations for follow-up treatment.
Next, the pest management professional will deliver their recommended treatment. Getting rid of fleas usually involves the application of insecticides and IGR, as well as recommendations to treat domestic pets for fleas and ticks.
Finally, the pest management professional will visit your house again for a follow-up inspection. They’ll check for any remaining signs of flea infestation and provide follow-up treatment as needed.
How to Prevent Fleas in Your Home
To prevent fleas in the home, follow these tips:
- Vacuum your home regularly using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Pay special attention to carpets, rugs, and cushions on chairs and sofas. Empty the vacuum canister outdoors into a bucket of hot soapy water when finished.
- Wash all bedding, especially pet bedding, in hot soapy water frequently.
- Mow your lawn frequently to expose your yard’s soil to the sun, which fleas cannot tolerate.
- Avoid over-watering indoor and outdoor plants. Fleas thrive in humid environments, and creating artificial drought makes spaces less attractive to them.
- Rake your yard thoroughly to remove debris and make it easier for any insecticides you apply to reach fleas.
- Control rodent populations that may spread fleas by storing all food in tamper-proof, airtight containers, removing rock piles, brush, and jump from outside your home, sealing holes rodents could enter, and keeping trash cans and compost bins tightly sealed.
Are Fleas Taking Over Your Home or Yard? We Can Help!
If your DIY flea control options have failed, or you need more help, contact a reputable, local pest control company in your area.
Here at Pest Dude, we offer a broad network of local pest management companies that can help.
Call (844) 598-0241 and we’ll connect you to our local partners!
Flea Control FAQs
To kill fleas in all life cycle stages, you’ll likely need at least two treatments over a 5–10-day span. This kills adult fleas as well as their eggs and larvae. You can improve the efficacy of treatments by practicing good vacuuming and sanitation between treatments.
Fleas can cause uncomfortable bites and may transmit dangerous diseases. The presence of flea dust can also create or irritate allergies.
Store-bought insecticides kill adult fleas instantly, and many prevent their eggs from hatching.
The easiest, non-toxic way to kill fleas is to mix up a solution of 4 liters of vinegar, 2 liters of water, 500 ml of lemon juice, and 250 ml of witch hazel. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and apply it around your home to kill fleas on contact.