Fleas won't go away!

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsFleas won't go away!
Ortiz asked 3 months ago

It’s been over a month since I first noticed fleas. It was pretty bad – I would get bitten while in the living room. I’d look down at my feet and see about 5 fleas stuck to me.

I have two cats, both of which I took to the vet. They were given Capstar, and injected with Program. Pest control treated my apartment twice afterward. I washed bedding and pillows in hot water multiple times, and even threw away rugs, blankets, and pet beds. I also vacuumed several times. There were still fleas after this, although less. I bought some Capstar (currently on my third box) at the pet store and gave it to my cats in conjunction with baths and more vacuuming. I also bought foggers, and placed one in each room (we left, of course.) They were still not eradicated. I then went the home remedy route, and sprinkled borax, baking soda, and salt all over the carpeted areas, and even the couches. I made sure to wipe down every surface with Clorox wipes where there might be flea dirt/eggs, and sprayed many areas with Harts Flea Home Spray containing pyriproxyfen. About two days later, I vacuumed up all of the borax, etc. I bought a night light and began setting a soapy dish trap in the living room every night. I’ve been doing this for about a week now. The most I’ve caught in one night is 7 (twice, most recently last night) fleas. It’s typically 3-4. My cats have been isolated to the bathroom this past week, as I’ve been hoping to get this under control before letting them roam again because I fear them spreading flea dirt and eggs over everything I’ve cleaned, but I’m at my wits end here. I feel horrible leaving them in there. They are still scratching, and although I’ll run a flea comb through their fur, nothing appears. (I actually bathed them last night with Dawn, and added a little bit of vinegar to the bath water before bringing them in. Ran the comb and still, nothing.) I only know I have fleas at this rate because of the soap trap. I’m now considering buying Revolution, giving them another dose of Capstar, and calling pest control again, but I’m really afraid that this still won’t work. Please advise me. This is really taking its toll on my mental health.
And apologies for the incredibly long post. I wanted to make sure to give as much detail as possible in hopes it might help with a response.

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 2 months ago


It sounds like you’ve taken all the correct steps. I think you may have unrealistic expectations about time-frame though. Most fleas infestations take around 8 weeks to resolve after proper treatment. During that time, you will continue to see fleas, even if things are going well.

With your cats treated, fleas won’t be able to survive on them and lay eggs. The current generation you are dealing with is the last.

95-99% of infestations are eggs, larvae, and pupae living in the environment (usually deep within carpets). Flea sprays can’t penetrate to the depth of the carpeting where they live, and so many won’t be affected. These fleas need to mature, emerge, and die before the infestation ends.

Still, the spray is useful with pyriproxyfen. This insect growth regulator will last for 7 months, preventing new eggs from being able to develop. It’s great for preventing re-infestation and adds a 2nd layer of protection after the pet treatments.

You can allow your cats out if they are properly treated. It can actually help speed up the eradication process. They will return to their favorite places, which will be flea hot-spots. As a result, the fleas will emerge from their cocoons and jump on the cats. Then they will die when exposed to the treatment on the cats.

The problem stage with fleas are pre-emerged adults. After pupating, adults can stay in their cocoons in a quiescent state for up to 5 months. Heat and pressure trigger them to immediately wake up and emerge. The cats sleeping in the areas can do this, and vacuuming can also simulate the host cues.

It sounds like you’re on the right track. It will just take a bit more patience. You should continue to see the flea numbers diminishing until they are gone. Good luck!

I hope this helps!