Two months – 3 treatments – No pets – No Carpet – Still got a bite

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsTwo months – 3 treatments – No pets – No Carpet – Still got a bite
kc5ez asked 1 month ago

I moved into my new apartment 2 months ago, and it’s all laminate flooring. I have no pets. Shortly after moving in, I was getting bites, and glue traps have caught fleas. An exterminator came in 2x to fog down my unit, but after a week of quiet, the fleas would come back with a vengeance. For the 3rd time, they did Precor-IGR, and sealed the floor to wall. I’ve been vacuuming every single day for almost 4 weeks now (and emptying the can out each time). 

I’ve done everything. It’s now been more than 2 weeks after the Precor-IGR treatment, and I just got another bite on my ankle today. Are they coming back? What should I urge my apartment manager to do next? When will this be over? Super desperate at this point. 

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 4 weeks ago

kc5ez,

It sounds like the previous tenant’s pet(s) had fleas. Cat fleas (C. felis) account for nearly all fleas that infest dogs and cats. Dog fleas (C. canis) are the second most common. Neither of these species can survive or reproduce on human blood. The only flea species found in domestic settings that can survive and lay eggs on human blood is P. irritans (human fleas), but this is a fairly rare species.

It would be helpful if you could identify the flea species. Are you still catching fleas in the traps? If so, closely examine their heads. Take a look at this picture. Cat fleas (img D) and dog fleas (img E) have combs (rows of dark bristles) on their heads. Human fleas (img H) have no combs, and their heads are more compressed.

If you are dealing with cat fleas or dog fleas, then your problem should be resolving soon. Even without the treatments, the infestation couldn’t continue without an animal host. And, with the treatments you’ve employed, a human flea infestation should be ending too. The IGR in the Precor will prevent new eggs from being able to develop. And it lasts indoors for 7 months. So, the fleas you are currently contending with should be the last generation.

Most infestations end in around 8 weeks after treatment or pet removal, but eradication can sometimes take longer. The problem is that 95-99% of infestations are immature stages living in the environment. Many are likely hidden in refuges that could be protected from insecticides. It takes time for these stages to mature, emerge, and die.

Since it has been 2 months now, all of the immature stages should be gone (egg to adult takes 17-26 days). However, after pupating, cocooned adults fleas can enter into a quiescent state for up 5 months. Most don’t, but some will. Emergence is triggered with heat and pressure, which indicates a host is resting on the cocoon. Vacuuming can simulate these cues.

I can’t think of much more you could do. IGR treatment and vacuuming should do the trick. It may just take a bit more patience. It sounds like the number of fleas has diminished greatly. You may just be seeing the last stragglers waking up and emerging from their cocoons.

You could try steam cleaning flea hot-spots. Flea larvae actively avoid sunlight and move downward towards dark areas. On laminate flooring, fleas will develop in cracks of the floor, crevices around baseboards, and other areas where debris collects. Targeting these specific areas with a steam cleaner could help kill any potential quiescent fleas there. However, steam cleaning will also reduce the residual effect of insecticides. So, you would want to reapply the Precor to these areas afterwards.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have more concerns or questions.

Warm regards,
Adam

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