Having a pet in your house might keep you in a cheerful mood. But these cute little creatures can bring extra work at home too. For example, when they are out for a walk, they can come home with fleas in their fur.
Should the fear of flea stop you from getting a pet? The answer is “no”. To save yourself from the fear of flea, vacuum your house regularly is the most effective solution. But, then the question arises, how often to vacuum for fleas?
Don’t worry. Because that’s what we’re about to discuss in this article.
So, What Are Fleas?
Fleas are small wingless jumping parasites that feed on the blood or hematophagy of mammals or birds.
Fleas are a common name for the order Siphonaptera. Adult fleas grow about 3 millimeters long and are usually brown. They have bodies that are “flattened” sideways or narrow. It enables them to move through the fur of its hosts.
As they are parasites, flea mouthparts are adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Their hind legs are as well adapted for jumping. For these legs, they can jump up to a distance of some 50 times their body length.
How Do Fleas Get In Your Home?
Fleas prefer to live on the animal host. So an animal carrier is the best possible option to get the fleas into your house. If you have pets at home, fleas have chances to get in.
These tiny parasites like to find a furry host such as feral cats, rodents, or even your pet dog. When your pet goes out, they may get in contact with fleas and might not even realize it.
How Do Fleas Grow In Each Phase?
The flea life cycle grows in three stages. They are eggs, larvae, and the cocoon stage. The entire cycle, which starts from forming egg to adult fleas may take 12-22 days.
Flea lay between 4-8 eggs after each meal. The highest concentration of laying occurs at the end of a female’s life. Normally, parasite eggs are sticky, but for fleas it’s different and they aren’t tacky. They fall off on the ground right after they’re laid. The eggs hatch in larvae in around 1-12 days.
Vacuuming is the best option in this stage to prevent infestation. They take shelter in a host body but soon fall off and can be easily seen. You can use your beater bar vacuums to clean the floor as they’re designed to remove 90% of the flea eggs.
Usually, each larva is 3-5.2 millimeters long. They are not completely white, but semi-transparent. This larvae stage lasts 4-18 days. Once the larva gets away from its host, it searches for a shaded place. They prefer floor cracks, bedding of pets, and might be found under heavy carpets. Preventing them becomes difficult at this stage.
The survival of flea larvae is largely dependent on temperature and the level of humidity. Flea larvae do not survive in humidity below 40-45% as dehydration causes them to fall ill or die. The larvae also cannot survive when the floor/soil temperature goes below 95 °F.
At the end of the larvae stage comes the cocoon phase. In this step, the flea larvae start to build a cocoon of silk. The cocoon’s strands may cling to the carpet fibers and thus, vacuuming them out of your carpet becomes more challenging. When the cocoon stage ends, then emerges the full-grown adult flea.
Evolving from being the pupal, adult fleas begin searching for food. The life cycle begins when the female fleas start laying eggs again.
How Often to Vacuum For Fleas?
In the environment inside the house, fleas may grow from egg to adult in 17-28 days. Even if you take the proper treatment, it will take 3-8 weeks to end an infestation. Sources claim that the eradication can take up to 2-3 months.
Cocooned adults can go dormant for up to 5 months, and this delayed emergence can create problems with control issues. However, when pre-emerged adults sense heat and pressure, they start to emerge quickly. Vacuuming can simulate these same host cues. This forces adults to emerge early.
Eggs rest on the surface of carpets. This makes this stage the easiest to vacuum. Eggs are laid on the host, but like other parasites, they are not sticky. This makes them fall off the host body within a few hours.
A beater bar vacuum can clean up the eggs to 90% off the carpet surface. Though, in one study, only 32-59% was sucked up. You should keep in mind that the outcome of vacuuming reduces with the carpet density.
Vacuum removal becomes more difficult once the eggs are hatched. Flea larvae cannot survive in the light. The places they choose to stay in this stage are hard for the vacuum to reach. Most live under the carpet.
When they are disturbed, they tend to col and cling to the carpet bristle. This makes it even harder to get them off the carpet surface. Vacuum cleaners can remove 50% of the larvae from the carpet. Studies show this rate can drop to 15-27% sometimes.
During the cocoon stage, they cover themselves with silk-line strands. They are super clingy to the carpet fiber. This limits the efficacy of vacuuming. Only the cocoons that are located near the carpet’s cover can be removed. At best, 63.8% of cocoon fleas can be removed from carpets through vacuuming.
- It is suggested to vacuum every day for 3-8 weeks. Once the pets and environment are treated there are no chances for new eggs to remain, thus, no new flea to grow.
- After 3 weeks of treatment, it is expected that the fleas in the environment have grown into cocoons.
- This time you can vacuum 2 or 3 times per week. You should not stop vacuuming in this stage. Through vacuuming, the pre-emerged adults are triggered to get expelled from their cocoons.
- You can return to a regular vacuuming schedule only after five months of treatment. Otherwise, the whole effort will be ruined.
There are dozens of vacuums available in the market. You might want to bring a vacuum cleaner that works best to remove fleas. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional might be your first choice. It offers you a high-performance HEPA filtration system.
If you are looking for a lightweight and easy to carry machine, you can choose EUREKA Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum. It comes with lots of good attachments, and this device has good suction. Whatever device you choose make sure the device is effective for removing those fleas.
How Long Should You Continue To Vacuum The Fleas?
Even after the fleas are being treated, it may take up to 3-8 weeks for the infestation to end. Some experts claim that it can take 2-4 months for complete extinction. Other than the delay in the cocoon stage, this is how long you should continue to vacuum to abort the entire living flea in your house or environment.
Will Vacuuming Every Day Get Rid Of Fleas?
Fleas can be more than any pesky nuisance. They can affect the well-being of your pets. Moreover, they are very unhealthy for your house too. So you should be concerned about how to get them as far as possible form your house.
Vacuuming every day can get you rid of the fleas. There are many configurations of vacuum cleaners in the market. Some of them are specialized in pest cleaning. But before using a vacuum for fleas, you need to know their lifespan.
There are three different stages of the flea life span. Three of the stages require three different treatments. If you are planning to use a vacuum, you have to act smart.
You can vacuum every day for a while, but at the same time be careful about how you are vacuuming. You can continue to vacuum every day for 3-8 weeks. Once the infestation is lessened, you can get back to vacuum for 2-3 times a week until you kill all those fleas.
Does Vacuuming Make Fleas Worse?
Vacuuming doesn’t make fleas worse but at certain stages of a flea’s life, it might not be effective at all.
Eggs are easy to vacuum. But when you’ll vacuum your carpet, the larvae will resist your efforts and coil their bodies firmly around your carpet. If your carpet is very thick, it will get harder to take them out.
In terms of cocoons, it is almost impossible to get them out with the help of a vacuum. The silk-line strands of the cocoon are very cleanly attached to the carpet fibre.
In most cases, you won’t get rid of serious flea infestation without asking a professional for help. That said, vacuuming prior to a pest control operation is always effective. It also removes your need to vacuum once the treatment is complete.
Can You Vacuum Fleas Off Your Dog?
You should never use a vacuum to remove fleas from your dog. Vacuuming will have the least effect on the flea infestation on your dog. It might be harmful to your dogs’ health.
There are several other ways of removing fleas from your dog. In severe conditions, you can destroy all the beddings of your pet. For light infestation, you can just clean them with hot water. You can apply anti-insect soaps or shampoos on your dog bath to clean them.
Will, A Vacuum Pick Up Flea Eggs?
Flea eggs are the best possible options to be picked up by a vacuum. A grown-up female flea lays 4-8 eggs after each meal. These eggs are non-sticky, unlike other parasites. This is the reason they do not keep stuck on to the host’s body. They fall off within some hours.
Once the eggs are on the surface, it is the best time to remove them through a vacuum. Studies show that 90% of the eggs can be removed from any place by vacuuming.
What Kills Fleas Instantly?
Vacuuming is the best option to kill fleas. But this takes a fair share of your time. There is a list of home-made remedies if you are looking for ways to kill fleas instantly.
You can create a flea trap using dish soap and water. Pour warm water over a bowl and mix it with soap. Keep it in a place where flea is mostly active. Alternatively, you can use herbal flea spray to kill them. They are available in any departmental store. Baking soda, lemon, salt, rosemary, etc. are also good to kill fleas instantly.
Should We Vacuum After Flea Treatment?
Generally, vacuum treatments for fleas last almost 3-8 weeks. This whole time your vacuum is just cleaning up some of the larvae and cocoons in specific places. If you want to eradicate fleas from the root, you need to continue to vacuum after flea treatment.
In 3-8 weeks the eggs are cleared up from your house. But the growing up fleas can still be there who can lay eggs, and more fleas will be there in no time. To prevent this situation, you should continue to vacuum for 2-4 months after the flea treatment.
Our environment works in an ecosystem. Even a simple flea is a part of the system. But if the presence of fleas is bothering you at your home, you need to get rid of them.
Vacuuming is the best possible solution to get rid of the fleas. But you need to keep consistency in the use and learn how often to vacuum for fleas. Depending on the depth of the problem you can vacuum every day and adjust the use as per your need.