Flea eggs are so small that they’re nearly impossible to identify with the naked eye, making them a real challenge to get rid of.
However, with the right information, and a can-do attitude, flea eggs can be dealt with much easier and quicker than you might imagine.
To help you positively identify flea eggs and properly get rid of them from your home or apartment, we’ve gathered all of the essential information necessary.
The life cycle of fleas consists of four distinct stages; egg, larva, pupa, and adult. It takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months for the eggs to reach full maturity. What’s really scary is that after consuming blood from a host (animal or human) a single flea can lay slightly more than three dozen eggs in a 24-hour period. Pretty terrifying, right?
The time of year, more specifically the levels of humidity and temperature, determine how fast the flea eggs will hatch and multiple. If the humidity and temperatures are high (around 30°C and at least 70% humidity) flea eggs will hatch and transform to the larva stage in as little as 48 hours. If it’s cooler, and less humid, the eggs won’t become larva for closer to two weeks. That said, it is crucial to note that flea eggs can survive, lying in wait for more ideal hatching conditions, for up to several months.
Furthermore, fleas lay eggs practically anywhere. However, they prefer animals such as cats and dogs. While the flea is making itself at home, feasting on your pet’s blood, it is steadily laying eggs in the animals fur and on its skin.
After awhile, the eggs become less sticky, and fall off. This is how flea eggs end up in your pets bedding, carpet, and cracks in hardwood flooring. Once hatched, and fully developed, the new and blood-hungry fleas will jump onto the first warm host that passes nearby.
What Do Flea Eggs Look Like?
Flea eggs are practically microscopic in size, as noted above, and can be pretty hard to detect. Typically, flea eggs are around half a millimeter in length (think the size of a single grain of salt). This makes them extremely easy to mistake for dust particles, sand, or even dry skin. That said, one of the easiest ways to detect flea eggs is to regular check your pets for “flea dirt” as well as full-grown fleas. If you find either, then you most likely have a serious flea infestation issue.
Some flea eggs appear like micro-sized white worms, others have a more oval shape. At any rate, most flea eggs have an off-white colored shell known as a “chorion.” In short, they appear very much like a piece of rice (just smaller).
To ensure you are actually identify flea eggs, and not some sort of debris, place the suspected egg onto a sheet of paper and inspect it up close with a magnifying glass. If it matches the characteristics mentioned above (shape and color-wise) then you are indeed dealing with a dreaded flea egg.
Flea Dirt Is Different Than Flea Eggs
Mistaking flea eggs and flea dirt is an extremely common and easy to make mistake. However, flea dirt and flea eggs should not be confused as they are distinctly different. That said, both flea eggs and flea dirt are equally signs of a real flea infestation and should be handled immediately.
Flea dirt is darker in color and may be crumbly as well because it is actually flea feces. The best way to determine if you’ve found flea dirt is to follow the same procedure mentioned above; place it on a sheet of paper and inspect it closely with a magnifying glass. In addition, you can drip a couple of water droplets onto the suspected flea dirt. If a reddish color becomes present, which comes from digested blood, it’s definitely flea dirt and not flea eggs.
The good thing about flea dirt is that it’s not harmful in itself and is pretty quick and simple to clean up. Simply bathing your pet, or washing the area containing the flea dirt, will do the trick. But, you’ll still need to deal with the flea eggs and adults or the problem will only worsen.
How Do I Get Rid Of Flea Eggs?
There are several essential steps to follow for successfully getting rid of flea eggs in your home. Make sure that you follow each one. Skipping even a single step can undo all of your progress and put you right back at square one (a home full of flea eggs).
1. Treat Your Pets
The first step to properly getting rid of fleas and flea eggs in your home is treating your pet. Do so by starting with a flea comb and carefully combing your pets coat to remove as many fleas and eggs as possible. Follow up applying anti-flea shampoo to your pet and bathing them. After giving your pet a flea bath, comb them again to help dispose of any fleas or eggs that might have been missed.
Additionally, you’ll want to give your pet a spot treatment and consider replacing its normal collar with a flea collar. Also, washing all of your pets bedding, including the sheets and blankets from your own bedroom (even if your pet isn’t allowed on the bed) just in case the infestation has spread that far.
If you have a regular veterinarian consult them about the best ways to treat your particular breed of pet. Not all flea treatments are universal and may cause serious issues (even fatality) if used improperly.
2. Clean Your Home From Top To Bottom
After you’ve treated your pet, and washed all of their bedding (including yours), it’s time to follow up by cleaning your entire home. Flea eggs, as mentioned earlier, aren’t sticky for long. That means they regularly fall off of pets and can end up virtually anywhere in your home. For this reason, vacuuming regularly (and thoroughly) is one of the best moves you can make to get rid of fleas and flea eggs in your home.
Regardless of popular belief, vacuum cleaners actually kill fleas (including adults, pupa, larva, and eggs). So, whatever you vacuum up is as good as gone forever. Vacuuming every other day may remove as much as 90 percent of flea eggs from your home. However, depending on the type of flooring (from various types of carpet to tile and hardwood) vacuuming may only remove a small percentage of the loose flea eggs in your home.
Furthermore, properly vacuuming your home will prep fibers in rugs and carpets (where eggs tend to hide) by lifting them and allowing bug spray and steam cleaning to be more effective against your flea infestation.
Another effective way to get rid of flea eggs in the environment is to vacuum thoroughly. Flea eggs aren’t sticky, so while adult fleas typically lay their eggs on their host, those eggs soon fall off into the environment.
3. Use Anti-Flea Products
When you’ve successfully treated your pets, washed their bedding, and cleaned your home from top to bottom (including vacuuming, steam cleaning, and washing rugs, blankets, pillow cases and sheets) it’s time for one of the most crucial steps; using pesticide or similar products designed for killing fleas and flea eggs.
Sprays with IGR (concentrated insecticide) and foggers are perhaps the easiest and most effective types of products to use against fleas and flea eggs. We recommend using as many different types of products as possible. For example, apply an IGR-based spray in hard to reach corners, gaps in floorboards, under furniture and behind counters and then follow up by setting off several foggers (also known as bug bombs) at once.
At this point, if you already haven’t done so, purchase and place anti-flea products such as flea collars and flea drops on all of your pets to discourage them from carrying in a new batch of fleas from outside of your home.
4. Practice Prevention
After you’ve treated your home and pets, you’ve more than likely solved your flea infestation issue. However, without the proper prevention, you may be surprised how quickly another batch of these little blood suckers may set up shop on your pets and in your home again. To avoid such a situation, there are a few practical prevention methods you should be aware of.
Applying essential oils around the home is one of the most popular flea-prevention practices. Peppermint specifically seems to deter fleas more than other essential oils. However, citrus and clover-based oils are also said to work well.
Another great was to prevent fleas from returning is sprinkling one of the following around the foundations of your home:
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Lemon-based spray
- Baking Soda
In addition, some plants are thought to repel fleas as well. So, you may want to consider planting a few rosemary sprigs around your home if fleas are an ever present pest.
Identifying and getting rid of flea eggs isn’t the impossible feat that it seems to be. In fact, spotting eggs and treating your pets and home for them is quite simple.
That said, you’ll need to put some effort into it and repeat the process a few times if you want optimal results.