Unsure if new infestation or just hatching eggs

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsUnsure if new infestation or just hatching eggs
flor124 asked 3 months ago

I have been battling a flea problem for about 5 weeks now. I treatment my house with several products such as Raid flea killer, Adams flea and rock carpet spray with IGR, and Vibrac ES Knockout with Nylar. The Vibrac seemed to the help the most but yesterday I noticed new bites on my ankle and I found 1 flea. I do have to say that the amount of fleas I have been finding has drastically decreased. At first you couldn’t walk into a room without 5 or 6 of them jumping on you. Now I only find 1 every 4-5 days. It’s the fact that I got new bites yesterday which is worrying me that there are more that I’m not seeing. My dog is on Frontline and she hasn’t been scratching for at least a week and she has no new bites on her. What I’m not sure about is that is this just the eggs hatching or are the fleas breeding again? If they aren’t biting my dog they shouldn’t be breeding right? I continue vacuuming every 3 days or so and I spray every week so should I keep up with treatment or should I call an exterminator? 

2 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 2 months ago

Flor124,

It sounds like you’re doing everything correctly and things are going well. Continuing to find fleas here and there is normal. It will usually take around 8 weeks until they are completely gone.

With the treatment you’ve employed, there should be no new generation of fleas. The Frontline on the dog will kill the fleas before they can reproduce. Even if they survived long enough, there is an insect growth regulator in Frontline Plus that sterilizes females. Additionally, the sprays you’ve used on the environment also have an insect growth regulator that will prevent eggs and larvae from developing for 7 months (you don’t need to spray every week).

The fleas you’re currently seeing are from the generation that was developing when treatment was initiated. Fleas develop in protected environments, often deep within carpeting. Sprays can’t penetrate these areas well, and so many of the immature fleas will be unaffected. They will only die once they mature and emerge as adults.

From what I can tell from your description the control regimen is working. You will likely be in the clear soon!

Warm regards,
Adam

flor124 answered 2 months ago

Hi Adam,

Thank you so much for the response! Since the time I posted, I have found 4 fleas in total and they were all on my dog. I found 3 on her last weekend and 1 on her Thursday. Now the difference with these were that 1) they were very easy to pick off; they didn’t try to scurry away or jump which lead me to believe that they were dead and 2) I found no flea dirt on her or any new bites.

She didn’t seem to be scratching or biting much after i found them on here last weekend but after I found one on Thursday she has been scratching more. She had a vet appointment on Friday (the day after I found the last flea) and I explained to the vet the problem. He checked her and said that there wasn’t any strange lesions or bite marks on her and said that the Frontline is working. He suggested she may have Flea Allergy Dermatitis which is why she is scratching so much again. He also states that it may be a combination of her dry skin and allergies that are causing her to itch as well. I was glad that the vet said that I shouldn’t be concerned but I can’t help worry every time i see her scratch behind her ears or lick her paws. She doesn’t wake up at night constantly biting her skin like she used to and there are no injuries on her skin. 

Funny thing is that for almost 2 weeks I have not found a flea in my home except for the ones on my dog, not even on my socks and the last time I had a new bite was almost a week and a half ago so I’m wondering if I have finally broken the cycle and gotten rid of the fleas. I have set flea traps at night with warm water and Dawn near my pets bed and her cage and I would wake up finding none in the bowl.
I have since retreated my home yet again but this time with Ultracide. I used the spray on Sunday and have vacuumed that same day, Monday, and well as today. I will keep up the vacuuming every other day until maybe next weekend when I spray the second treatment of Ultracide.

On a side note, I noticed that my mom had at least a dozen small red bumps on her arm that at first were big and red and leaked fluid and were itchy but after sleeping and putting itch cream on, it faded over night into small skin colored bumps that do not itch or leak anymore. She has nausea and vomitting and other problems as well since the bumps first appeared but I am thinking ti is food allergies because we tried a new restaurant on Monday and she is allergic to mustard so there may have been mustard in the food but I’m not so sure. I have had many flea bites since the start of this battle and her’s did not look like the ones that I have had. 

I believe I am going paranoid thinking that she is getting bit by fleas but since the first flea I found back in August she has never had any bites so I’m not sure why now she would be getting them, especially on her arm. Even more so after I have been treating my house so many times and the number of fleas that I have been seeing is dramatically decreasing. 

My question is, am I going crazy thinking that there are still fleas in my house even though I’m not finding any? Should I contact an exterminator? I constantly feel like things are crawling on me but I never see any bugs. I know I put a lot in this post but any advice would be helpful.

I forgot to mention that I have been giving my dog Capstar for about a week and a half since that flea on her. Do you think that’s over kill?

Thank you again,
Christine

Adam Retzer Staff replied 2 months ago

It sounds like your flea problem is almost over. Continue with the Frontline for the labeled duration. Sometimes people stop treatment early when they stop seeing fleas, then it only take a few lingering individuals to start the infestation all over again.

You shouldn’t need to contact an exterminator. Your problem is resolving. Plus, they wouldn’t do much more than what you’ve already done. They would spray something similar to Ultracide.

The Capstar might be a bit overkill since you are already using Frontline, which seems to be working well.

Your mother’s lesions don’t sound like flea bites from your description. And fleas don’t tend to bite people on their arms, as this area is too far from the ground and fleas can only jump to the height of a human ankle.

flor124 replied 2 months ago

Thank you again for the speedy reply! It’s good to hear that my flea problem is on the verge of ending. It’s been a nightmare to say the least. I’m glad you agree with me as well on the issue with my mother. The dog has never been on her bed and she doesn’t lay on the carpets so i couldn’t figure out how they would be biting her arm.

Just one last question, should I continue with the vacuuming every other day and repeat the treatment of Ultracide next week? And after that treatment should I still vacuum every other day or is once or twice a week sufficient?

Adam Retzer Staff replied 2 months ago

I’ve written a page about How often to vacuum for fleas. I think it will fully answer these questions. As far as the Ultracide, you can spray again, but it probably isn’t necessary because the IGR is the most important ingredient and it lasts 7 months.

flor124 replied 2 months ago

Hi Adam,

So I woke up this morning with a wheal type thing on my leg. It’s not red and it’s been getting smaller since the morning but it was itchy when i first noticed it. I still haven’t seen any fleas in my house or on my dog as well as no flea dirt. I’m still vacuuming every other day but I’m extremely concerned because I haven’t had a bite in almost 2 weeks. Is this still a good sign since there was such a big gap between bites? I think I’m going crazy because ever since I saw that wheal I feel like things are crawling on my legs even though I don’t see anything. Is this still the same generation of fleas that are hatching? Also it’s higher up on my leg than the other bites that I have had so could it be something else?

Adam Retzer Staff replied 2 months ago

It’s possible that the skin reaction is from a flea bite, but it also may not be. If it was a flea it was likely from the same generation. Cocooned adults can delay their emergence for up 5 months, though most don’t.

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