Making progress?

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsMaking progress?
Brandunn85 asked 4 months ago

Good morning, first of all I’d like to share my appreciation for this site and all the time and effort put into it, some of the information on here has really helped put my mind at ease. 
I’m writing to try and get a good estimate of if I’m on the right track and making progress in my infestation. My brother and his dog had stayed with us for about a month, after 2 weeks I began getting bit by fleas so we bombed the house with a general fogger and gave dog a flea bath with a botanical spray (eugeneol and peppermint oil), the bites subsided for a week or so and the dog left. About a week later I notice more bites, I have the only room with carpet in the house, the dog would sleep upstairs in bed with the brother, I have since thrown away the memory foam top pad on bed, thrown away curtains coversed in dog hair at bed side, bombed house again with Hot Shot with Nylar, IGR. After this latest bombing I vaccumed all carpets and floors, removed and washed all small bath mats and sheets. In my carpeted room I have a dehumidifier running for 3 days at 30% humidity, vacuuming daily and after vacuum I spray with botanical spray, found 3 small and slow moving live unfed fleas on my pants this morning (day 5 after igr bombing) so I am going to put out candle/dish soap traps. Without pet/host for 1 month, wearing long socks to deter biting and will continue washing my sheets, was thinking of putting small heater and dehumidifier in separate rooms like brothers old room, without carpets, to speed up process? Am I going in the right direction?  

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 4 months ago


It sounds like you’re on the right track. Still, it’ll take around 8 weeks for the problem to resolve after the dog was treated or left the premises.

The dehumidifier and heater probably won’t have much of an affect. While fleas can only survive in certain environmental conditions, they live in protected micro-habitats that have their own regulated micro-environments. Upon hatching, larvae avoid light, moving deep down into carpets and other refuges, where temperature and humidity are kept stable and aren’t drastically affected by surrounding conditions.

You shouldn’t need to continue washing the sheets more than your normal schedule. Fleas would only be on there if the dog was on the bed, and eggs fell off of the dog and onto the bedding. Now that the dog is gone, and the sheets have been washed, it shouldn’t be an issue any more.

The homemade flea traps will be useful for assessing flea populations, so you can see if the problem is diminishing, which it should be.

Without the dog, the problem should resolve on its own in time. Vacuuming is the best thing you can do to speed up the eradication process. In the uncarpeted rooms, use the vacuum’s nozzle attachment and focus on cracks in the flooring, crevices around baseboards, and other areas where debris collects.

The IGR spray you used is very useful for preventing future infestations for 7 months. However, it probably won’t do too much to speed along the current problem. Again, because immature fleas (making up 95-99% of infestations) live protected micro-habitats, and it can be difficult for sprays to penetrate these areas.

I am not sure the botanical spray is helping much. I’ve never read any research backing up the efficacy of such products. Still, spraying it can’t hurt.

In summary, you should be in the clear soon. Just continue vacuuming a few times a week (especially in areas the dog liked to visit) to help speed things along.

I hope this helps!

Brandunn85 replied 4 months ago

Thank you for the great response! I’ve been pouring over your site and it’s really quite helpful, I was curious about the 8 week time frame you mentioned and how that works. I believe I am entering week 6 now and am starting to see only small fleas now.

Adam Retzer Staff replied 3 months ago

Once the dog left, there will be no more eggs, because fleas can’t reproduce on human blood. The eggs reach adulthood in 17-26 days in home environments. The cocooned adults are what cause the infestation to extend into 8 weeks or longer. Upon reaching adulthood, the fleas can stay inside their cocoons and enter into a quiescent (dormant-like) state for up to 5 months. They will rapidly wake up and emerge when they detect a host laying the cocoon (heat and pressure). Vacuuming is a good way to simulate these host cues and force emergence.

Delayed emergence adults can cause a lot of problems, because it only takes a couple to re-infest a pet that is no longer getting treated months later. The problem will then continue. This is why flea drops often come with at least 3 monthly doses. But, in your case, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

It’s good you are only seeing small fleas. That means they are the cocooned adults that are emerging, as I mentioned. Fleas don’t grow once they reach adulthood. However, upon feeding, their abdomens expand to around double their unfed size. So, the fleas you are seeing are freshly emerged and haven’t been able to feed yet.

Brandunn85 replied 3 months ago

Update: Starting usin diatomaceous earth on my carpets and floors and brushed it in really well, still saw fleas after 2 days. Threw out all rugs in my room, used Pine Sol antimicrobial disinfectant on hardwood floors. Hour later flea on my foot. Put down more diatomaceous earth…is there an end in sight?!