If you’re suffering from flea bites, you can be sure there are flea eggs waiting to be hatched. You can use the dawn soap method to kill fleas, but with the fast reproduction cycle of a flea, killing all of the adult fleas may not end your infestation.
You have to kill the adults and all of their eggs to fully put an end to your flea problem.
But where do you even begin looking for flea eggs?
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What Do Flea Eggs Look Like?
Fleas look like small, jumping black dots, but it’s even harder to see their eggs than it is to see adult fleas. Eggs are microscopic, and to put the size of a flea egg into perspective, it’s just 0.5mm long and about 0.25mm wide.
The best way to visualize a flea egg is to think of a grain of salt.
If you dropped a single grain of salt on the floor, chances are you’ll never find it.
What Color Are Flea Eggs?
The color of flea eggs is an off-white, and this is due to the shell of the egg. Eggs are more oval in shape, and it’s very easy to mistaken an egg for a spec of dirt or sand. Even dry skin has a similar color to a flea egg.
If you want to be able to determine if what you’re looking at is in fact a flea egg, you’ll need a microscope. Place the egg on a dark piece of paper and using a microscope or magnifying glass to get a closer look at the egg. If the egg is white or off-white and has a distinct oval shape, you’re likely dealing with a flea egg.
Flea Dirt vs Flea Eggs
Fleas do leave behind what is called “flea dirt.” A lot of people mistaken the dirt for flea eggs, and while they’re very different, they have the same outcome: flea infestations.
If you come across flea dirt, note that it’s dark in color and crumbles easily. The dirt can be identified by placing it on a white piece of paper. Place a few drops of water on the dirt and examine it to see if the dirt starts to exhibit a reddish color.
When dirt has a red color after placing drops on it, this is actually digested blood.
You can easily wash the dirt off of your bedding and clothing, and a simple vacuuming is all that’s needed to remove the dirt from carpeting.
How Long Does It Take for Flea Eggs to Hatch?
The flea life cycle is very important to know and understand. Fleas seem to pop up and multiply rapidly, and the reason for this rapid expansion is due to the eggs hatching in two weeks on the high-end.
Fleas will go through four main cycles:
Fleas are highly dependent on humidity levels, and the entire life cycle will be based on the temperature and humidity in an area. If an area has 70% humidity and temperatures of 70-85 degrees,it’s the optimal environment for flea expansion.
The eggs are fire laid when the adult female has what’s called a “blood meal.” The blood meal is when the flea has been able to feed on a host’s blood, usually the blood of your pet. When this occurs, the adult is able to produce.
If the female does not have a blood meal, she will be unable to reproduce.
When laid in the fur of a pet, the flea will often lay batches of 20 eggs together. One adult female can lay up to 40 eggs per day, so within the course of a month, the female can lay over 1,200 eggs.
Under the ideal conditions, eggs can hatch in as little as two days or as long as two weeks in suboptimal conditions.
Once hatched, flea eggs will develop into larvae which will feed on the flea dirt that we discussed earlier. It will take 5 – 20 days before the larvae forms a cocoon which allows the flea to enter the pupae stage of life.
Eggs account for about 50% of the adult population of fleas in an infestation. If you have 100 fleas, you can be sure that there are 50 eggs waiting to be hatched with 4000 new eggs laid in a single day if there were 100 female adult fleas present.
How to Kill Flea Eggs
Since fleas reproduce rapidly, you’ll need to kill off the adult population as well as any eggs that have yet to hatch. If you fail to kill the eggs, the infestation will only return causing you to have to retreat your animals and the entire home again.
Killing flea eggs requires a very long, tedious approach.
A lot of professional flea killing products will kill the eggs, but you’ll want to take additional measures to kill flea eggs. This will include:
- Washing, All of your pet’s blankets and bedding will be covered in flea eggs. You’ll want to wash all of these items in hot water to kill the eggs. If your pet has toys, you’ll want to wash these, too. Stuffed animals are a prime area for flea eggs and may have to be discarded if you cannot safely wash the toy.
- Vacuum. Flea eggs will be covering a lot of your fabrics and carpeting. If your pet spends a lot of time on the couch, bed or furniture, you’ll want to vacuum all of these key areas whenever possible. Make sure to vacuum multiple times so that any eggs that may be hiding in carpeting will be eliminated, too.
- Insect growth regulator (IGR). A professional form of treatment involves using an IGR. What these growth regulators do is they will stop the fleas from being able to enter the next stage in the life cycle. Keep in mind that if there are adult fleas, the IGR will not be able to kill the adult fleas.
- Flea combs. Your pets will be a haven for fleas, and a lot of the flea eggs will be left in your dog’s fur. Remember, flea eggs may be deposited 20 at a time in the fur, so you’ll want to work to get rid of all of these eggs. Flea combs are a good option, but you’ll want to use these combs outside so that the eggs fall off in your yard.
- Bathe. Your pets should be bathed in a flea killing shampoo. Bathe the animal in warm water to kill the eggs. Flea shampoos can be purchased online and will ensure that another generation of fleas doesn’t simply develop.
If you have carpeting and a steam cleaner, you’ll want to set your steam cleaner to the highest setting and steam clean the floor. Flea eggs are not meant to be able to withstand high heat, and when you steam clean the carpet, the heat and water will be able to kill the eggs quickly.
Pets will attract more fleas, and since pets are often the main cause of an infestation, keeping fleas from infesting the home will require you to treat your pets. Using a flea treatment will be able to kill all of the fleas that jump on your animal for three months at a time – usually. The treatment may last longer, but it depends on the product that you’re using.
You can also use flea collars which are very effective, too.
Key Areas Where Fleas Lay Their Eggs
Fleas are going to lay their eggs everywhere they can, but since the female needs a blood meal, she will often lay her eggs on the host – your pet. You’ll want to treat your pet first, using a flea comb and any shampoo that you can find that is formulated to kill fleas and their eggs.
You will want to bathe the dog, too.
Eggs may also be deposited in key areas where your pet rests, and this can include:
- Pet toys
If you do not conduct a thorough cleaning of your home, you can expect flea eggs to hatch and the infestation to occur again. It’s important to act swiftly, so you’ll want to use any pesticide treatments or flea bombs to kill all of the adult fleas promptly.
Once the space is safe to enter, you’ll want to begin the cleaning cycle to kill off any eggs that may be close to hatching.
It’s also important to get rid of any flea dirt that you may have because the dirt is how the larvae will be able to transition to the next stage in their life cycle. Flea quick can be swept or vacuumed up.
But since fleas often come from outside areas, primarily dirt, you’ll want to make sure that you treat the outside as well as the inside for fleas.
Proper treatment will be able to stop fleas from infesting your home for the entire season. A professional exterminator can also be called in to spray your yard for fleas so that they do not spread into your home for the entire season.