Seven Steps to Permanently Get Rid of Fleas

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A flea infestation can happen quickly, and removing fleas can take even longer—but addressing the problem promptly and cleansing your home and yard are the best ways to permanently rid of fleas from your home.
Most pet owners have experienced an inevitable run-in with fleas at one point or another. But fleas all over your house can become a big problem for you and your pet—and anyone else in your household! But how do you tell if you have an infestation, and what do you do if you do?
Jerry, the home insurance comparison super app, is here to help answer these questions—plus give you the step-by-step rundown on how to rid fleas from your home once and for all. If you’re noticing fleas all over the house and you’re not sure what to do about it, this is the guide for you. Read on to learn where to look for fleas, how to get rid of them, and whether homeowners insurance will help you cover the damages. 
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What causes fleas? 

Fleas are most commonly introduced into the home by your pets. Parasitic in nature, fleas tend to reside in shaded and grassy areas—like yards—until encountering a suitable host (like your dog or cat). Once inside, fleas can multiply at an incredibly fast pace—female fleas can lay as many as 50 eggs per day—and an infestation can occur in as little as two weeks. 

Symptoms of a flea infestation

How do you tell if you have a flea infestation in your home? Here are a couple of signs to watch out for:
  • Powdery deposits of white or black substances, particularly on your carpet or bedding. These deposits are typical indicators of flea eggs (white) and flea poop (black) and are both tell-tale signs of an infestation. 
  • Pet hair loss, also known as alopecia, is another symptom of a flea infestation. Your pet may also aggressively lick, scratch, or bite at their fur (flea bites are, after all, incredibly itchy!).
  • Black dots on your socks or red bites on your ankles are perhaps the most obvious signs of fleas in your home. Fleas often hide in carpet and upholstery, only to jump onto your legs as you pass by. 
If you’re noticing one or more of these problems cropping up around your home, it’s time to check for fleas. 

Where to look for fleas

Finding fleas can feel tricky since the average flea is rarely larger than one-eighth of an inch. Luckily, fleas have a few predictable hang-outs that you can check, including:
  • In your carpet and under rugs 
  • In your bed or under your mattress cover
  • In your upholstery, like the crevices between your couch cushions
  • In cracks and crevices in your floors or baseboards, or other small nooks and crannies throughout your home 
  • Around your pet’s bedding and feeding area
  • In leaf piles outside  

How to permanently get rid of fleas in your home 

Once you’ve confirmed that you’re dealing with a flea infestation, it’s important to address the problem promptly. A female flea can lay as many as 2,000 eggs in her short life span, and eggs can hatch in as little as two days—so exterminating fleas from your home becomes harder the longer you wait.
Follow the steps below to rid fleas from your home once and for all. 

Step 1: Rid your pet of fleas 

We recommend starting with your pet first. Fleas most commonly attach themselves to your cat or dog and enter your home on their backs—and even though fleas tend to take up residence throughout your house, they’ll still primarily feed off your pet. 
To start, confine your pet(s) to an area—like a laundry room—to keep them from moving about the house (and spreading fleas along with them). You can purchase an anti-flea shampoo from any pet store or order one online to wash your pet—you may even want to wash them twice! 
Once your pet is rinsed and dry, apply a flea protectant such as Frontline, Advantix, or NexGuard to keep your pet protected from further bites. 

Step 2: Address your yard 

Chances are, your pet will still have to go in and out of your yard—and since that’s likely where they caught fleas in the first place, it’s important to address your yard space when tackling a flea infestation
You can purchase anti-flea pesticides to apply to your yard for under $20. Apply the pesticide all across your yard and anywhere else your pet typically travels outdoors. 

Step 3: Vacuum your home 

Once you’ve addressed the outside of your home, it’s time to turn inwards. Fleas love to hide and lay their eggs in carpeting, which is why vacuuming is a crucial step to ridding your home of fleas. 
Thoroughly vacuum your carpets, rugs, hardwood floors, mattresses, and any upholstered furniture. When you’re done, make sure to dispose of the vacuum bags!

Step 4: Wash your sheets and bedding 

While you’re vacuuming, pop your sheets and bedding into the wash. You may also want to wash your clothes and towels, to be safe. Make sure you’re using hot water to wash your fabrics, to kill any lurking fleas. 

Step 5: Apply a home-safe pesticide 

Using a flea spray in your home is the best way to ensure any remaining fleas or flea eggs are killed off. Flea sprays are usually pet-safe and home-safe and can be applied directly to fabrics, furniture, and floors. 
An alternative method is using a flea fog, which is a stronger poison that can be administered as a mist. Flea fogs are great for getting into cracks and crevices (like in your baseboards), but using them requires some prep—and once administered, you and your pet(s) will have to leave the home until the poison’s done its work. 
Ultimately, how you choose to exterminate fleas in your home is up to you, but using an indoor flea killer is a necessary step in permanently ridding your house of fleas. 

Step 6: Keep up the good work!

Maintaining the effort for some time is the best way to avoid a re-infestation. 
Unfortunately, it may take a couple of rounds before all the fleas are gone. This is largely due to the unique life cycle of a flea, which has four stages—and sometimes, flea killers only take out fleas in later life stages, leaving the eggs to hatch. Keep a watchful eye, and repeat the previous steps as necessary to permanently rid your home of fleas.

Step 7: If all else fails, call a pest control company

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, fleas keep finding their way back inside! If you keep running into fleas in your home, it may be necessary to call a pest control company to help you handle the problem.
Usually, you can hire a professional to perform flea extermination for under $350—although it’s not exactly cheap, the peace of mind you’ll find once your home is flea-free may be well worth the cost. 

Does home insurance cover flea removal? 

When it comes to flea infestations—or pest problems in general—home insurance can be picky. Most insurance companies draw a line between preventable damage and unexpected damage and won’t cover the costs of a problem that could be considered avoidable. 
Unfortunately, pest infestations are often considered to be preventable damage, since insurance companies equate pests’ presence to poor home maintenance (a preventable issue on the part of the homeowner). As a result, it’s unlikely that your homeowners policy will fund any expenses you encounter as a consequence of a flea infestation. 

Finding affordable home insurance 

Finding out what your homeowner’s insurance does and doesn’t cover is almost as tricky as finding an affordable policy. Luckily, Jerry can help you find and save on your renters and homeowners insurance in under a minute! A licensed broker with end-to-end support, Jerry lets you easily shop and compare quotes from top name-brand insurance providers. 
Jerry pulls you the cheapest quotes that fit your coverage needs, and helps you effortlessly swap policies by taking care of all the paperwork for you. Jerry can even help you cancel your old policy! Best of all, the average Jerry user saves over $800 a year on insurance!
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FAQ

Most flea infestations start with your pet—so check your cat or dog’s fur first! Other symptoms of a flea infestation include mounds of black or white substance (flea poop and eggs), red welts or bites on your legs or ankles, and pet hair loss as a result of sustained flea bites.

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