Fleas are the pest that keeps on giving, or maybe it’s better to say the pest that keeps on taking…your sanity! These nuisance creatures are hard to get rid of because of how fast they reproduce. But take heart, it’s not impossible!
Understanding where fleas hide during the day can give you vital knowledge about these prolific insects. Targeting these specific hiding areas can help you rid your home and your pets of these unwanted, itchy visitors. Add on some natural repellent techniques, and you’ll have a flea-free home in no time.
Prioritizing flea control is a must for total victory against fleas. Read on to find out everything you need to know about where they hide during the day and what to do about it.
- Fleas are difficult to control because they reproduce quickly and can hide in hard-to-reach areas like under furniture and in carpet fibers.
- Adult fleas typically live on your pets and feed off them to complete their life cycle.
- Flea larvae and eggs are most likely hiding in carpets, furniture, pet bedding. They can wait to hatch until a suitable host arrives, making complete elimination critical to removing a flea infestation.
When Are Fleas Most Likely To Come Out?
If you’ve ever had a flea problem, then you know that fleas never seem to sleep! These minuscule insects are like the energizer bunny – always hopping around on your legs and your pets, wreaking havoc.
Fleas do not sleep as humans do. They have periods of inactivity, which are at their peak at sunrise. This is a time when fleas rest, do not feed, and do not lay eggs.
Fleas Are Most Active At Sunset
So, do fleas come out during the day? Absolutely. These little pests are the most active at sunset, when egg production, movement, and respiration increase. However, they are active during the day, too.
Fleas prefer warm, humid conditions. As the sun goes down, temperatures may drop as well but humidity increases, bringing fleas to life! The temperature is typically a non-problem for fleas anyway, as many live in temperature-controlled homes.
Sunset and nighttime are also the times when pets and humans are usually sleeping. This is a prime target for fleas to feed on their host when they’re least expecting it! For more details, take a look at our article on the things that attract fleas to your home.
Fleas Are Least Active At Sunrise
On the opposite end of the spectrum, sunrise is when humidity starts to decrease and when fleas are the least active. Sunrise is also when pets and people become active and more aware of pest insects like fleas hopping around.
During sunrise and the early hours of the morning, fleas endure a period of inactivity where their respiration decreases, egg-laying stops, and they typically do not feed or move.
So, if you’re looking for the right time to spot fleas in your home, try the evening hours as opposed to the early hours of the morning. However, when it comes to flea control, you can perform them at any time of the day.
4 Places Where Fleas Hide During The Day
Even though there are some 2,200 species of flea worldwide, there are only 4 main flea species that are pests in the home in the United States – dog fleas, cat fleas, human fleas, and the oriental rat flea. So, where do these dastardly insects hide during the day?
1. Flea Eggs Hide Where Your Pet Goes
The University of Missouri tells us that the entire cat flea lifecycle can be completed in as little as 20 days. Factors such as humidity and temperature can lengthen this timeframe, but females can lay up to 800 eggs in their lifetime. Yikes!
The first cycle of a flea’s life is spent inside an egg. When an adult flea feeds on a host, typically a dog or cat, they lay their eggs on the host. As your pet walks around, the eggs naturally fall off onto the carpet, their bedding, the furniture, and wherever else your pet may travel in the home.
Some prime locations for flea eggs include:
- Pet bedding
Take note of where your beloved four-legged friend spends most of their time. This is where flea egg concentrations will be the highest.
2. Flea Larvae Are Found In dark, moist environments
When conditions are favorable, flea eggs hatch in about 2 to 14 days. Once hatched, the larva will find dark, moist environments to prepare for the next stage of life.
Flea larvae feed on gross stuff like flea and pet feces. They’ll also consume pet food if it’s available. As they feed, they molt by shedding their skin and grow from 1/16th of an inch to 1/4 inch by the time they’re ready for the next life cycle stage.
During the day, flea larvae seek out dark environments with high humidity:
- Floor cracks
- Under edges of rugs & carpets
- Under pet bedding
- Beneath furniture
Because they are so small, it can be difficult to see flea larvae. Don’t worry, we’ll go over some ways to rid your home of all stages of fleas a little later!
3. Flea Cocoons Are Camouflaged Throughout The Home
Once the flea larvae have fattened up, they prepare to spin a cocoon and pupate into an adult flea. Unfortunately, these cocoons aren’t very obvious because fleas spin in natural debris from the house to blend in. The cocoons could look like tiny pieces of dust or lint.
Cocoons are usually found in similar areas as the flea larvae:
- Deep in the carpet
If conditions are favorable, adult fleas will emerge in just 5 days. However, these sneaky fleas will wait up to a year to emerge if a host isn’t immediately available.
4. Adult Fleas Are Found On Hosts
Deep within the cracks and crevices of your home, a flea cocoon awaits to emerge. Fleas use their senses to detect when a host walks by, such as vibrations, odors, and heat. Once they decide to emerge from the cocoon, they immediately jump on a host.
Adult fleas are usually only found on living hosts:
If you’re unsure if you’ve spotted a flea or some other parasitic insect, check out our article on the difference between fleas, ticks, and bed bugs.
Females lay eggs after each feeding, starting the whole life cycle over again. It’s important to note that fleas can survive a long time without a host, so if you go on vacation with your pet, don’t expect the problem to resolve on its own. You can read more about the reasons why fleas won’t leave on their own here for more information.
What Do You Do If You See A Flea During The Day?
Seeing even one flea during the day is a cause for concern. One flea can easily turn into hundreds of fleas in a few short weeks. So, what should you do if you spot a flea during the day?
Treat Your Pet
The first thing to do if you see a flea during the day is to put your pet on a flea preventative. There are a variety of options out there to meet any pet parent’s needs. Just make sure you choose the option that fits your pet’s weight, age, and species (cat or dog).
- Spot treatments: FRONTLINE Plus Flea and Tick Treatment is a liquid that you place on the back of your dog’s neck. Over time, the liquid coats your entire pet, preventing fleas from feeding and breaking the life cycle. For cats, check out FRONTLINE Plus for cats. Protections lasts for one month.
- Oral treatments: If your dog is food-motivated, an oral chew might be a better choice. Capstar (nitenpyram) for Dogs eliminates fleas in 30 minutes. However, protection only lasts for 24-48 hours, so this isn’t a great choice for long-term prevention.
- Flea collar: Flea collars are a bit more expensive up front, but the protection lasts much longer. Seresto Large Dog Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention Collar protects for 8 months. Seresto makes one for kitties too – Seresto Cat Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention Collar for Cats.
The most important thing is to keep up with your pet’s flea treatment. Missing a dose by a few days typically isn’t a big deal, but never miss a full month.
Wash Pet Bedding And Blankets
If you see a flea during the day, treat your pet first and then treat the places where they lay. If they have a favorite bed and blanket, toss them in the washer on hot. Does your dog or cat sleep on your bed? It’s definitely time to wash the sheets, comforter, and pillowcases!
Fleas are covered in backward-facing spines that help them stick to your pet’s fur, even when they scratch or shake. Because of this, fleas may drop off only periodically when your pet scratches or when you brush them down.
Think of anywhere in the house where your pet lays, and wash any bedding or blankets in those areas.
Vacuum The Carpets And Rugs
So far, we’ve only taken care of the adult stage of fleas. Remember, there are three other phases of a flea’s life and many other hiding places!
Flea eggs can drop off of your pet anywhere in the house since fleas lay eggs after they feed. However, remember that fleas are most active at dusk, so think about where your pet goes in the evening. Vacuum these areas to suck up any flea eggs and larvae that have dropped off your pet.
Do a deep clean to reach all the flea eggs and larvae. Move the furniture around, lift up the carpets, and get to those hard-to-reach areas. If you leave just a few eggs, you’ll quickly have another infestation on your hands, so don’t ignore the dust bunnies under the bed or beneath the couch.
Once you are done vacuuming, seal the contents in a plastic bag and throw it in an outdoor trash bin.
Use An Insecticide
For mild flea infestations, vacuuming and treating your pet may kick fleas to the curb. If you want to be sure they don’t come back, or if you have a heavy infestation, I recommend using an insecticide.
There are a few options out there, but most sources say that pyrethrins are the best choice. Bonide Pyrethrin Garden Insect Spray Concentrate is a good choice, but take note! This product must be diluted first, and it can only be used outside.
For a more natural approach, try Wondercide – Indoor Pest Control Spray. It can be used indoors and out and can be used as a repellent or a spot treatment to eliminate fleas on contact.
What about bug spray? You can read about whether bug spray works on fleas here.
Use Scent Deterrents
Fleas have a pretty incredible sense of smell, which could be there downfall if we play our cards correctly. Scent deterrents work by repelling fleas from certain areas. It can be a great tactic to use in conjunction with the other methods on our list.
Some of the scents that will repel fleas include:
For a complete list, head over to our article on the scents that fleas hate.
Wash And Repeat
The most critical part of getting rid of fleas is to be persistent. A week of thorough cleaning is unlikely to completely eliminate fleas in the house. Continue treating your pet according to the directions of the chosen method. Vacuum on a weekly basis and wash blankets and pet bedding as often as feasible.
With monumental effort, you can eliminate these pests for good, but it takes time, so keep up the great work!
Call A Professional
If all of this seems like way too much work or if you’ve tried it and still can’t get rid of your flea problem, call in the professionals! Pest control specialists are trained to identify what is attracting the pest (fleas) and how to keep them away for good.
Use our nationwide pest control finder to connect with a local specialist in your area.
If you can’t get rid of fleas, the most likely reason is you are not doing one of the steps above. For a more detailed look, check out our article on the reasons why you can’t get rid of fleas in your house.
Here’s How To Tell If You Have Fleas In The House
We know where fleas hang out during the day, but how do you tell if you have fleas when they are so tiny? Luckily, fleas leave some telltale signs of their presence in your home.
|Sign of Flea Infestation
|Pets may exhibit frequent and intense scratching, biting, or licking, often resulting in skin irritation and hair loss.
|Red Bite Marks
|Humans and pets may develop red, itchy bite marks, commonly found on ankles, legs, and other exposed skin areas.
|Tiny black specks, often referred to as “flea dirt,” may be visible on pet fur, bedding, or carpets, indicating the presence of flea feces.
|Presence of Fleas
|Actual sightings of small, brownish-black insects hopping on pets, furniture, or carpets are a clear indication of a flea infestation.
|Some pets and humans may exhibit allergic reactions to flea saliva, leading to symptoms such as rashes, hives, or respiratory issues.
Understanding these signs is crucial for early detection and prompt treatment of flea infestations, as they can rapidly multiply and become challenging to eradicate if left unaddressed. Regular pet grooming, vacuuming, and professional pest control services can help manage and prevent flea infestations in the home.
Where Else Can Fleas Be Found During The Day?
Fleas in the home are most likely caused by a pet that is infested with fleas. While this is the most common culprit, there are other places where fleas hang out during the day!
In The Yard
Fleas are not exclusive to the home – they can be found in the wild, too! Your yard may be a haven for fleas if your pet is kept outside all the time. Even if you do not let your pet inside, the fleas can hitch a ride on you and then infest the home.
If you live in a warm, humid climate, your yard is even more likely to have fleas due to the agreeable conditions. Temperatures that drop to 55F or below on a regular basis do not typically have fleas.
On Wild Critters
Cats and dogs are not the only victims of fleas. Wild animals also suffer from flea bites and can bring them into your yard and home.
Mice and rats are particularly troublesome because they can infest homes. Opossums, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and a host of other critters can also carry fleas. Snakes, lizards, and other reptiles do not carry fleas.
Keep your yard well-maintained to avoid attracting wild animals. Keep your garbage secure, use motion-activated lights, and never leave food outside.
Humans are not usually on the menu for fleas. Our lack of hair compared to wild animals means fleas are more exposed and have less protection on our skin. However, fleas can and will jump on us if there are no other hosts available.
Watch out for red, itchy bite marks on your ankles and lower legs – this is a sure sign that you’ve been bitten by fleas.
That’s All For Now!
Fleas may be most active in the evening, but they can wreak havoc during the day too! These parasitic insects mainly infest dogs and cats, but they can occasionally bite humans as well.
During the day, fleas are usually found in 4 main places:
- Eggs are found wherever your pet has been – carpets, beds, furniture
- Larva is found in dark, humid places like beneath dog beds, under carpets, and beneath furniture.
- Cocoons are spun in cracks, crevices, and deep within the carpet
- Adult fleas are found on a host such as your cat or dog.
Breaking the cycle at every flea life stage is vital to eliminating them from your home. If you can’t seem to shake the fleas from your home, reaching out to a professional is never a bad idea!
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Edwards C.H., Baird J., Zinser E., Woods D.J., Shaw S., Campbell E.M., Bowman A.S.. RNA interference in the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis: Approaches for sustained gene knockdown and evidence of involvement of Dicer-2 and Argonaute2. International Journal for Parasitology, Volume 48, 2018
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