Baby Fleas In My Bed?

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsBaby Fleas In My Bed?
jmw asked 4 months ago

First of all, thank you for this site! I have read most of what is here and believe that my flea infestation must end eventually, but I want to clarify a few things. I have an infestation that I know is severe and went undetected for far too long. I had three cats in my home and never saw a flea, but was noticing flea dirt for weeks before figuring out what it was. Once I realized the problem all cats were treated with Revolution. The following week, two of the cats and my boyfriend moved to another city. As we prepared for the move the problem got worse – I imagine the movement prompted hatching.
Now that it is just one cat and me in a house with no carpet and only minimal upholstered furniture, the biting never seems to stop! My feet and ankles are covered in bites and I am even finding fleas hopping on my arms and shoulders while I am in bed trying to sleep! I’ve re-treated the cat with Revolution and sprayed Knockout Area Spray on the furniture, my mattress and pillows, and even on the floor where possible (the apartment is old and there are a lot of cracks in the wood floors as well as along baseboards). Because I don’t have any carpet I’ve only ever had a Roomba and a dustbuster, but I am deploying the Roomba daily and dustbusting every other day. I am mopping weekly and have done all laundry that was in drawers.
I understand that even with daily cleaning there can be flea eggs and larvae everywhere just waiting to hatch, but why do I continue to find live fleas in places like my bed when I have washed all of the bedding, treated the pillows and mattresses, and treated the only viable host? She does sleep on my bed but she stays at one end on top of the covers, yet I can still pull back the covers 12 hours later and find 5+ baby fleas hopping onto me. If the Revolution treatment kills adult fleas and prevents them from reproducing, how could the cat be depositing new eggs onto my bed?
Have I missed anything major and would it be worth the investment to buy a more powerful vacuum?
One sign of progress (I hope) – until a few days ago I would find large quantities of flea dirt on my bedspread every morning where the cat slept, but now I only find cat hair and dead fleas (almost no flea dirt).
Thank you!

1 Answers
Adam Retzer FleaScience answered 4 months ago

Hello JMW,

Even after pets and the environment are treated, it’s common to find adult fleas. The treatments kill existing adults, but they only make up 1-5% of the infestation. The adult fleas you’re now seeing have likely recently emerged (after maturing from eggs, to larvae, to pupae, to adult). The so-called “baby fleas” are actually adults, if I’m understanding you correctly.

It’s unlikely that new eggs are being laid. You’re just contending with those previously in the environment. It may just take a bit of patience while you wait for all of them to fully mature and die off.

The Revolution should kill new adults that jump onto the cat before they can feed, mate, and lay eggs. Even if they managed to lay eggs, the Knockout spray in the environment will prevent the new eggs from developing. While Knockout works well against new eggs, it isn’t as effective against existing immature fleas. This is because flea larvae avoid light and live in protected refuges where treatments can’t reach well.

It’s a bit strange that you’re finding fleas in your bed after everything has been treated and washed. One possible explanation is that the fleas are jumping onto your feet and lower legs before you get into bed. They then hitchhike into the bed. Alternatively, they may be climbing up any sheets that are hanging low to the ground.

Since you’re continuing to find fleas in your bed, it may be a good idea to wash the bedding more frequently. Also, tuck the sheets in so fleas on the ground don’t have a route into the bed (they can only jump to the height of a human ankle). And before getting into bed, check your feet and legs for fleas.

It may be prudent to get a new vacuum if you feel that your current vacuums aren’t powerful enough. However, since you don’t have carpets, it may not be worth spending the money. Your current procedures should be able to control the fleas. Just ensure you continue the cat’s monthly treatments for the labeled duration, and don’t allow a delay or lapse in treatments.

You mentioned you sprayed Knockout “even on the floor where possible”. You made it sound like the floors didn’t get as much attention as other areas? The immature fleas are most likely living in the cracks and crevices in the floors. I’d ensure the floors are well treated. It may also be a good idea to dial back the mopping after the floors are treated. Any wet cleaning can reduce the activity of the insecticides (the insect growth regulator will otherwise remain effective for 7 months).

From the sound of it, your problem is diminishing in intensity already. It should continue to do so. But you’ll likely continue to see adult fleas here or there for around 8 weeks.

Hope this helps!
Adam

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