What Do Flea Eggs Look Like?
Ah, yes, fleas, a dog owner’s ever-pressing problem. Just after you get rid of one, another one crawls out, then another, then another. As you check under their fur, you find nothing of obvious note, but your pet keeps scratching, so there must be something wrong. So what do flea eggs look like?
Fleas are quite robust bugs. They can hop from place to place despite having no wings, and they reproduce very quickly. Before you notice something wrong with your pet, the fleas may have already spread around your home.
To break the flea cycle, they must be dealt with while they are still eggs. The first step to getting rid of them is knowing how to spot them, so let’s find out!
What Do Flea Eggs Look Like?
Once a newly hatched female flea finds a host and drinks its blood meal, it can immediately begin reproduction and start laying eggs. They produce dozens of eggs per day, but they are so tiny that you will have a hard time seeing even one egg.
Flea eggs are typically small and various shades of white or off-white. They usually measure around or less than 0.5 millimeters in size, smaller than a grain of sand.
These characteristics also make it hard for fur parents to distinguish flea eggs from other things, such as dandruff or a grain of salt.
Flea Eggs vs. Flea Dirt
Flea eggs and “flea dirt” both point to the presence of mature fleas, but that’s where the similarities end. They are two entirely different things produced by the same pest.
Fleas nourish themselves by drinking the blood of their hosts in a process called hematophagy. Naturally, fleas have to digest the nutrients and excrete waste.
Flea dirt refers to the waste left behind by a mature flea, a mixture of blood and waste matter. Fortunately, it is not harmful or toxic to humans and animals and can be easily washed away with a gentle bath.
Flea Larvae and Pupae
A flea’s life cycle has four parts: egg, larva, pupae, and adult. The larva hatches from the egg in about 2-7 days. Flea larva will crawl away from the light source and feed on the dried-up flea dirt and other organic particles from their surroundings.
After somewhere between 4-18 days of hiding in the dark, they form cocoons and turn into pupae. They can remain in this phase for months or even years, only coming out when they feel a potential host nearby. The cocoons are quite sticky and will stick to surfaces, so they will need forceful sweeping or vacuuming to pick up.
What Does Flea Dirt Look Like?
Flea dirt looks like very tiny dots, usually with a rusty red or dark brown color. They look like a smattering of black pepper on your pet’s skin.
To identify if they are indeed flea feces or just normal dirt, wipe your pet down with water or wipe them with something wet. If you notice a blood-like color after washing your pet, it was most likely flea dirt.
What Do Flea Larvae Look Like?
Newly-hatched flea larvae look like very tiny worms or maggots, about 2-5 millimeters in length. They are white, almost transparent, and have no limbs.
However, you may not see them as they like to crawl to dark places, such as under cracks or carpets.
How to Get Rid of Flea Eggs
Fleas are extremely small but can cause a whole host of problems. The best measure to take care of adult fleas is to kill off the eggs before they hatch.
Treating Pets to Kill Flea Eggs
Your pets may be the ones carrying around and spreading fleas, so it is only logical to treat your pets to kill the fleas. Here are some ways to rid your pets of flea eggs:
- Use a flea comb: Flea combs will help you get deep into your pet’s fur. To confirm if what you have are indeed flea eggs, collect the specks, place them on something dark, and look at them under a magnifying lens. If it looks smooth, oval, and white, then it is probably a flea egg.
- Bathe your pet with flea soap: Flea soap acts as an insecticide to help curb flea infestation.
- Insect growth regulators (IGRs): IGRs disrupt the flea life cycle so that eggs won’t hatch or larva won’t mature. These chemicals are available as spot-on treatments, sprays, or orally. However, IGRs alone won’t do the trick as they fail to kill mature fleas fast. To supplement their effect, use insecticides in combination.
Products to Eliminate Flea Eggs in Your Home
If you find fleas on your pet, it’s important that you also clean the environment you live in at the same time. Here are some great tips on how to ensure no fleas are left in your home.
- Use a fogger or steam cleaner. Soap and high heat kill fleas naturally at all stages of life. Give special focus to the places your pets frequent.
- For the harder-to-reach areas, use aerosol sprays. For your pets, use a combination of insecticides and IGRs.
- Give attention to the outside of your home as well. Regularly mow the lawn and trim the bushes and trees. Spray a light layer of non-toxic insecticide on the areas where there might be fleas. If you want, spread diatomaceous earth over open areas and surfaces to kill fleas.
Vacuuming and Cleaning to Get Rid of Fleas
Keeping your space clean greatly reduces the chances of fleas infesting your home. How do you get rid of and prevent fleas by cleaning?
- Use a vacuum cleaner on your upholstery, mattresses, and floors, as well as cracks and nooks. Vacuums will pick up all kinds of small debris, including fleas and flea eggs. Make sure to vacuum your home regularly.
- Wash your and your pet’s beddings in hot water or a hot-cycle laundry to kill off all eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. If you want, go for entirely new beddings and dispose of your old ones.
- Sweep regularly. If possible, declutter so that there are fewer places where fleas can hide.
Preventing Fleas and Flea Eggs
As a pet owner, you will want to prevent fleas from entering your household and bothering your pets. If you want to prevent fleas from moving into your house:
- Keep your yard clean. If you don’t want them to get inside, keeping your yard free of debris and clutter will help keep fleas away. Do some yard work, keep the wild animals away, trim your plants, and spray anti-flea yard sprays to repel the bugs.
- Be vigilant and continuously practice prevention. Regularly comb and groom your pet and apply the spot-on preventive treatment. Keeping your pet clean should be routine, and you shouldn’t wait for fleas to pop up before washing them.
- Keep your living spaces clean. Pay attention to dark spaces, cracks, carpets, and furniture. Vacuum these places to get rid of all bugs and immediately get rid of the vacuum bags after. Also, wash your pet’s beddings and upholstery, and other belongings in hot water.
- Diatomaceous earth, and a light misting of insecticide, will help prevent flea infestations from gaining a foothold.
What if I Can’t Find Any Fleas?
Fleas are elusive critters. They are hardy and can stay pretty much anywhere indoors as long as there is a host. If you cannot find any fleas but see these signs on your pet, maybe it’s time to contact pest or flea control services.
- Flea dirt on places such as floors, on your pet’s belongings, or even your pet’s skin
- Your pet or you experience abnormal scratching.
- Your pet hair is falling out because of excessive scratching.
- In the case of serious infestations, your pet’s gums may look pale because of a lack of blood.
Fleas are certainly annoying to deal with, but not impossible. A good flea control program can help you deal with fleas at all stages of their life. Still, the best way to prevent an infestation is to kill off the eggs before they turn into live fleas, which in turn will lay eggs of their own.
Make sure to contact your vet and ask for advice before using any chemicals on your pet. They may also give guidance on the best products to use. Stay free of pesky fleas!