Flea Eggs: The Most Crucial Battle in the War on Fleas

Remember that part in the 90s version of Godzilla where Matthew Broderick runs through a massive stadium filled with mad, like, not quite dinosaur not quite lizard eggs? And then they all hatched and they had like a thousand not quite dinosaur not quite lizard things chasing them around?

Fleas are exactly the same. Exactly.

You might think it’s enough to tackle fleas where and when you find them (around the home, on your bedding, on your person or burrowing into your pets) but it’s not even half the battle. It’s more like 10% of the battle.

The real job is getting rid of the eggs. Only then can you actually put a stop to your epidemic. And, of course, if you're going to seek and destroy the eggs, you'll need to know where to look...

Where do fleas lay eggs?

Let’s start by getting some simple questions out of the way. First and foremost, where do fleas actually like to lay their eggs?

It’s important to note that ambience is a huge factor in flea procreation and by that I don’t mean some candle-lit meals and Barry White on the HiFi. I’m talking about the temperature of their environment.

As a general rule of thumb: the warmer the climate in their immediate vicinity is, the quicker they’ll grow, lay their eggs, hatch, set up their homes etc. The ideal temperature for a common flea is around 25 degrees Celsius with a high humidity rating.

Sound like any areas of your home? Or rather, sound like any four legged creatures that live in your home? That’s right - fairly often, fleas will actually lay their eggs in your pet’s warm, thick fur. Eurgh.

Can you see flea eggs?

can you see flea eggs
can you see flea eggs

Flea eggs are incredibly small, but it is possible to catch them with the naked eye if you know where to look. If, for any reason, you suspect that you might have a flea infestation or the beginnings of one, then it’s very important that you do a little snooping around.

Although, that being said, if you’re investigating thick carpets or bedding, or searching through your pets’ fur then it can prove to be a pretty difficult identification process. Which leads me to…

What do flea eggs eggs look like?

where do fleas lay eggs

Flea eggs are rarely any bigger than around 0.5mm…even just typing that out sounds tinier than you can imagine. Flea eggs tend to be a sort of pearlescent white and can sometimes appear translucent. For this reason, they’re usually compared to salt grains or pellets and can be an absolute nightmare to find on lighter surfaces, fabrics or…fur.

The eggs can also appear dandruff like in appearance, leading many pet owners to overlook clear signs of eggs on their animals or carpets until they hatch – giving them a whole new problem to deal with.

How to identify flea eggs?

what do flea eggs look like

Often times it can be easy to misidentify flea eggs with the general detritus, dirt and feces of the fleas themselves. Now, obviously, if you’re finding flea feces then the indication is the same: you’ve got yourself a domestic flea problem (unless you’re dealing with some very petty fleas that like to use your home as a toilet and then leave again).

Flea dirt tends, funnily enough, to resemble tiny specks of pepper to go with the salt-like eggs themselves. The rancid seasoning of a flea infestation.

Dried blood, poo and the general mess left behind from fleas accumulates into these darker, almost black pellets that can litter your home if you let a flea problem get out of hand.

Additional note: the eggs themselves tend not to be to particularly sticky, which lets them spread around a lot easier; whereas flea dirt can clump and cling to fur, carpets, bedding etc.

The more you know, eh?

How do you kill flea eggs?

Right, let’s get to the meat of this problem: how do you kill, eradicate, blast, blitz, destroy and eviscerate the eggs in your home or on your pets?

Generally speaking, you don’t want to leave this task any longer than you have to: flea eggs, when laid in favorable conditions, can hatch within a couple of days and once that’s happened your chances of curbing the problem have drastically lowered.

So let's get started, there's not a minute to waste.

Suck 'em up with a vacuum

natural flea killer for cats

In at number one is the most highly-valued domestic pest killing tool: the vacuum. You’re never going to come close to getting rid of eggs with anything less than a powerful hoover. Sweeping up, dusting, wiping and binning pockets that you come across is not only a losing position from the start, but also runs the risk of spreading the eggs further throughout your home.

The vacuum delivers a triple whammy to the flea infestation lurking in your house:

  • It allows you to thoroughly suck up flea eggs scattered in and around your carpet - this is crucial since the carpet is probably harboring the majority of the flea eggs
  • It eliminates adult fleas as well as flea eggs, larvae, some pupae as well as the disgusting flea poop scattered around your house
  • The best part? The vibrations from the vacuum can stimulate flea pupae to leave their cocoon, which makes it easier to suck them up into the vacuum. Because the cocoon is resistant to insecticides and often spun around the base of the carpet fibers – they can be very difficult to kill or remove. Enticing them out of it is the best way to deal with them.

So fire up the vacuum and tackle any areas of your home that you suspect might be harboring eggs waiting to hatch. This can be everything from you and your pets’ bedding, clothing to carpets, rugs, sofas, cushions etc. Just make sure you give it a solid going over and then dispose of the contents in a controlled manner.

If you still use a vacuum with a collection bag; dispose of it as soon as possible and make sure it’s not fermenting in your garbage. Even though you’ve vacuumed up the eggs; it’s very unlikely that you’ve done any real damage to them – they can still thrive and eventually hatch within the bag and then find their way out again. They just can’t take a hint.

Tip: Place a spare flea collar (or the leftover bits of a flea collar that didn't fit your pet) in the bag to kill fleas that have been sucked up.

Wash and dry everything

How to Check for Bed Bugs

Although we talked about how a warm, clammy climate is perfect for fleas to do their business and create a thriving colony; temperature can also be your most effective tool in killing off any flea eggs.

Even if you only suspect you’ve got a minor flea issue – wash everything straight away. Bedding, blankets, cushions, clothing (are you getting bored of this repeated list yet?): fire it all into your washing machine and crank up the heat and time.

Once you’ve thoroughly flooded out the eggs and any roaming adolescent/adult fleas that might be caught up in your bedding, too; you want to chuck it all into your tumble dryer. Again, heat as high as your fabrics will allow.

Fleas die at temperatures hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit so this simple step basically fries the poor suckers and makes sure that there’s no crawling or jumping back into your home.

Depending on how bad your infestation is, you might want to repeat this process as much as once per day – at least in the early days of trying to clean your home up. Remember that the fleas were attracted to that particular rug or cushion in the first place and there’s no reason to think that any other fleas in the home won’t think the same thing.

Steam 'em to death

what kills flea eggs
what kills flea eggs

Vapamore Primo Steam Cleaning System, $284 

Maybe you liked the sound of the extreme heat and vacuum tips so much that you fancy combining the two into one ultimate egg-killing methodology. It’s an admirable approach and one that can be easily managed with a steam cleaner.

​When you expose the flea eggs to steam, you’re effectively giving them far, far, far too much of a good thing. Exposing them to the extreme of their ideal climate: humidity and heat cranked up to eleven.

Steam cleaning is ideal for thicker fabrics where the vacuum may not have penetrated deep enough to dislodge any eggs wedged into nooks and crannies, or that are too bulky to fit into the washer and dryer.

A professional heat steam treatment costs $300 to $1,200 but you can pick up a home steam cleaner that you can use again and again to clean and sanitize your house, even after you get rid of fleas. We recommend the Vapamore Primo Steam Cleaning System – it produces steam at a temperature of 214 degrees, which will kill flea eggs as well as fleas in other life stages. At $300, it is pricey but it’s great quality and also comes with a lifetime warranty.

The added benefit of a steamer is you can also apply it to harder furniture and areas of the home that are difficult to get to (ever tried to stick a sofa in a washing machine? No, me neither. Ha. Ha. How silly of you to ask). Remember that adult fleas can love the nooks and crannies of your home and might choose some of the warmer gaps to spawn their eggs – so get right in amongst them with the steam.

Plus, it’s good for your pores. Win, win right?

Disclaimer: Please do not stick your face into the blast of a steam cleaner on account of my silly pores joke. We lost too many good people in 2016.

Use an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator)

The final step in the flea egg battle…I hope you’re ready to move to the dark side, to put your morals out of mind and indulge in some dodgy chemical warfare.

Insect Growth Regulators might sound reasonably inoffensive, but the way they work is actually quite sinister, yet incredibly effective. In essence, the IGR exposes flea eggs and larvae to a ‘mimic’ hormone which affects the flea’s ability to actually grow and develop into a healthy adult.

You’re messing with their very make-up, right at the source. It almost seems unfair…Until you get another bite in your ankle.

Note: IGRs won’t work on adolescent or adult fleas anywhere near as well as eggs or larvae, seeing as these fleas are already fully developed (or near enough). But they should be used as part of a larger, overall flea-killing procedure - the perfect combo is an adult flea pesticide to wipe out grown fleas used alongside an IGR to target the pre-adult fleas. Luckily, you can find plenty of highly effective 2-in-1 flea products. 

You want to go full Agent Orange with this stuff: cover your carpets, furniture, any areas that your pets like to hang out, dark, dingy little spaces that you can’t quite get to. Make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Treat your pets

The sooner you make Rover and Fluffy inhospitable to fleas, the less chance of fleas using your pet's poor body as a breeding ground. If you want to cut down on the production of flea eggs in your home - rather than just killing existing flea eggs - you must treat your pets.

Just keep in mind that flea products aren't always cross-species so be wary about using dog flea products for cats, as they can be toxic. In the interest of getting rid of fleas on your pets without toxicity concerns, there's separate guides for each:

Oh, you should also know that not all flea treatments for pets kill flea eggs. For example, oral meds like Capstar only kill adult fleas. It's best used to quickly wipe out a flea infestation, letting you accomplish in a day what would normally take weeks.

Flea collars are the same - they can repel and kill adult fleas, but won't target pre-adult fleas.

The best flea shampoos, on the other hand, will kill fleas in all life stages. 

For spot-on treatments, it can differ. For example, Frontline is only good for killing adult fleas but Frontline Plus targets fleas in all life stages, including the eggs.

Go crazy with the flea comb

best flea treatment for dogs

Safari Flea Comb, $4

Sometimes the old ways are the best. In this instance, you’d be surprised how effective a simple flea comb can be for dragging up and collecting flea eggs from your pets’ fur and even some carpets and rugs. Obviously, you don’t need me to tell you how to use a comb. I can tell from your lovely hair.

No, sorry, that wasn’t a dig at you. Really? You’d never be able to tell! They make those toupees so realistic these days huh?

Just make sure to properly clear the comb and the collected eggs away afterwards!

FAQs on Flea Eggs

Okay, you already know the way to an effective, cheap and fairly accessible victory in the battle against flea eggs. But before we close this out, here are a few of the most common questions we get about flea eggs - and the answers....

  • How long does it take for flea eggs to hatch? Flea eggs can take anywhere from two days to two weeks to develop, but they can wait to hatch until the conditions are right for them. If the environment is cold and dry, the eggs will take longer to hatch but if it's warm and humid, the eggs will hatch faster.
  • How many eggs do fleas lay? A single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which is equal to their body weight!
  • Can fleas lay eggs on humans? It is possible but not likely. Fleas tend to lay eggs where they live and they prefer to live on the thick, furry coats of our pets rather than our hairless bodies.
  • Are flea eggs ever black? No, flea eggs are white. If you're finding a sort of "salt and pepper" combination of debris falling off your pet, it's likely to be a combination of flea eggs (the white stuff) and flea poop (the black stuff).
  • Where are the best places to find flea eggs? Flea eggs are normally laid where the fleas live - on your pets' bodies. But since flea eggs aren't sticky, they fall off and scatter onto wherever surface your pet was around when the eggs were laid. So the first place you should begin looking for flea eggs is where your pet spends a lot of time.

Okay, now go forth and wipe out that flea infestation. Happy killin’ them flea eggs!

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