Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (2023)

As the weather turns warmer, pet parents are ready to venture into backyards and backwoods with their four-legged besties. The warmer weather also coaxes fleas to hatch from their eggs. As anyone who has ever dealt with a flea problem knows, they are tricky pests to beat.

Fleas reproduce at lightning speed. A single flea can lead to a full-blown infestation in just a few weeks. Because fleas and their eggs are so small, many people don’t notice them before they become a major problem.

Here is everything you need to know to eliminate flea eggs and prevent an itchy invasion.

What Do Flea Eggs Look Like?

Flea eggs look like very tiny grains of rice. They are tiny ovals, rarely bigger than 0.5 mm (1/50-inch)—about the size of a grain of sand or salt. They can be bright white, off white, or translucent.

It is common for people to confuse flea eggs with dandruff, but there are telltale differences. Unlike flat flakes of dandruff, which are irregular in shape, flea eggs are uniformly oval-shaped. Dandruff sticks to pets’ hair and is hard to remove, whereas flea eggs are more slippery and spread easily from place to place.

It is also important to note that flea eggs are different from “flea dirt”—the digested blood that is left as waste from adult fleas. Flea dirt looks more like flecks of black pepper than the salt-like flea eggs. Flea dirt clumps easily and sticks to dogs’ fur and skin. Like flea eggs, flea dirt is an urgent signal that fleas are not far away.

Can You See Flea Eggs on Dogs and Cats?

Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (1)

Because they are so tiny, it is very difficult to see flea eggs on a cat or dog—especially if they have light-colored fur. And, since flea eggs fall from animals so easily, pets don’t usually have large numbers of flea eggs on them at one time.

There are a few tricks you can use to confirm whether there are flea eggs on your dog or cat. First, having a magnifying glass handy can help you know what you’re looking at. Start by checking fleas’ favorite places to hide: the haunches, the base of the tail, the nape of the neck, and between the shoulder blades. If you’re having difficulty spotting the tiny white eggs on your dog or cat, use that magnifying glass to check your pet’s favorite lounge areas.

Using a flea comb can also be helpful to track down flea eggs on your pet. Its long, fine teeth get between hairs to filter out the tiny white eggs. A flea comb will also reveal flea dirt on your pet.

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To use a flea comb, run it gently but firmly through the fur to separate the hairs. Go slowly so you can see the skin beneath. Begin by checking the areas in which fleas love to hide, between the shoulder blades and near the base of the tail. Make sure to do this outside if possible, so eggs don’t spray onto the floors and carpet while you comb. Flea eggs on cats are usually easier to comb out due to the softer fur. They can be a little tougher to see and extract from dog fur.

How Long Does It Take for Flea Eggs to Hatch?

Adult fleas can only lay their eggs after they’ve bitten an animal. This little snack is charmingly known in the pest world as a “blood meal.” After that, the eggs can take anywhere from two days to two weeks to hatch.

“The warmer and more humid it is, the faster the life cycle will go,” says Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a staff doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center, who specializes in small animal internal medicine and oncology. “If it’s cooler and dryer, the process slows down until the temperature goes up.”

According to the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service, temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees and over 50 percent humidity accelerate the life cycle from egg to larvae.

Where Do Fleas Lay Eggs?

Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (2)

Fleas like to lay eggs near their primary food source—your dog or cat. Fleas can’t produce eggs from a diet of human blood. So, even if they bite people, they almost never lay eggs in human hair. About 36 to 48 hours after making a meal of your poor pet’s blood, a female flea will deposit her eggs into your pet’s fur—but that’s not where they stay.

“Flea eggs are like ping pong balls,” describes Dr. Michael Dryden, who recently retired from a career of teaching and research at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he was known as “Dr. Flea” for his expertise. “They roll right off your dog or cat and bounce into carpets, between floorboards, in upholstery and in your pets’ bedding,” where they like to hide until they are ready to hatch.

The time it takes eggs to fall off your pet depends on how long their fur is and how active they are, but most of the eggs will fall off within a few days. The itchiness from flea bites naturally encourages scratching, which contributes to faster shedding of dry eggs. You’ll find the most eggs in the areas of your home where your pet spends the most time.

How Many Eggs Does a Flea Lay?

An adult female flea can lay anywhere from 20 to 50 eggs a day, depending on how much she has eaten, the temperature, and whether there are any pesticides in the environment. Over the course of a lifetime (just a few months), a single flea can lay as many as 2,000 eggs. That means that a single female flea can cause a serious infestation in a matter of weeks.

How Often Do Fleas Lay Eggs?

Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (3)

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As long as a female flea has a steady supply of blood for food, a female flea will lay several eggs after each feeding, meaning every 3-5 hours.

How Long Do Flea Eggs Live?

Flea eggs can survive for about 10 days, tops. “If they don’t hatch in 10 days, they won’t,” Dryden says.

Flea eggs need a warm, humid environment—anywhere from 70 to 90 degrees and 75 to 85 percent humidity. Under ideal conditions, flea eggs can hatch their larvae in as little as 36 hours. In a less favorable environment, the eggs take longer to hatch.

What Is the Difference Between Flea Eggs and Flea Larvae?

Once the flea eggs hatch, flea larvae emerge. They look like tiny worms, about 2-3 mm long (1/12- to 1/8-inch), with a yellowish-white, segmented body and black head. Flea larvae are born blind and avoid bright light, so they quickly burrow deep into carpets, cracks, and grass, where they feast on flea dirt. Flea larvae make up approximately 35 percent of the total flea population in any given area.

About 5 to 20 days after hatching, if they have the right warm and humid environment, a flea larva will spin a pupa, which is like a cocoon. The pupa is very hard and has a sticky outer coating that helps it hide deep in carpets and fabrics. The pupa stage can last as little as a week or up to a year. Fleas will not emerge from the pupa stage until they sense body heat and carbon dioxide, signaling that a host is nearby. When your pet walks by, the flea will emerge from its cocoon to begin feeding and the whole cycle starts over again.

What Kills Flea Eggs?

Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (4)

Killing flea eggs is a two-phase process. First, you need to eliminate any flea eggs and adult fleas on your pet. Then, you need to get rid of the flea eggs in your home.

The very first step in this process should be to bring your pet to see the veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine your dog to understand the extent of the flea problem and determine the right treatment for your pet.

Not all products that kill fleas work to kill flea eggs, so your veterinarian can help you choose the best product and course of action for your pet.

If you get rid of flea eggs and adult fleas on your pet, you need to focus your attention on getting rid of flea eggs in your home. Here are some steps to take:

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“The most natural, most effective way to get rid of flea eggs in your home is to vacuum,” says Dr. Laurie Leach, of Beverly Oaks Animal Hospital and Emergency Animal Clinic. “Before you start, put some mothballs inside the vacuum bag. When you’re finished, take that bag out immediately to the trash can, so those eggs don’t hatch inside your vacuum cleaner.”

Make sure to use a vacuum with good suction and a rotating brush. Start with the baseboards and thoroughly vacuum the floors, carpets, and upholstered furniture, paying extra attention to corners and crevices. A good vacuuming every other day can remove the majority of flea eggs and also helps to eliminate adult fleas, larvae, some pupae, and flea dirt.


Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (5)

Go through the areas of your house where your pet spends the most time, and gather all the linens, upholstery, and bedding that may have been exposed to flea eggs. Wash them with detergent or bleach, using the hottest cycle the fabric will tolerate. Flea eggs will not survive the extended exposure to the hot water and laundry detergent in the washer. It’s even better if you can also throw the linens in the dryer.

Flea Products

There are a lot of flea products on the market, but many are aimed at killing adult fleas and are not effective for killing eggs. Your veterinarian can guide you as to the right combination of products to address your pet’s specific needs.

The most effective products to kill flea eggs include insect growth regulators (IGRs). These compounds, called isoxazolines, are safe for pets. They work by mimicking a hormone that stops fleas from maturing into adults—including preventing eggs from hatching. Some IGRs also work to sterilize female fleas so they can’t lay viable eggs.

You can find IGRs in a variety of products, including oral medications, spot-on skin applications for animals, and in spray form to safely target eggs in your pet’s bedding.

“The right product for your home depends on where you live and your pet’s lifestyle. Your veterinarian will be able to counsel you on the right formula,” says Dr. Dryden.

As for a flea dip or bath, Dryden says they do not kill flea eggs and are no longer recommended for the treatment of adult fleas. If you are unsure about whether a product is safe, be sure to consult your pet’s veterinarian.

Do Home Remedies Kill Flea Eggs?

Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (6)

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A quick internet search for “how to kill flea eggs” will yield several other homespun approaches. However, veterinarians say that although some of these can repel adult fleas, most home remedies are not effective to kill the flea eggs.

The best way to get rid of flea eggs without medication is through diligent vacuuming and washing. In cases of serious infestations, medication will be needed to destroy flea eggs. Be sure you speak with your veterinarian about the safety of any at-home remedies you choose, no matter how benign they seem.

Dish Soap

Dish soap can kill some adult fleas, but it is not safe for your pet’s skin because it can remove the natural oils, making it more prone to infection—especially if there is already irritation from fleas. Dish detergent is also not effective since it kills only adult fleas. Some eggs will wash off during a bath, but this will not address the majority of flea eggs in your home, and you should never bathe your dog with dish soap.

Hot Water

Washing linens and bedding in water that is 140 degrees or hotter will be effective to destroy most flea eggs that have made their way into fabrics and upholstery. Steam cleaning carpets after vacuuming can also help to kill remaining flea eggs.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can help improve certain skin problems or a dry coat in dogs, and it is safe for animals. However, there is no evidence that it does anything to kill flea eggs.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Flea Eggs: 10 Common Questions—Answered | Great Pet Care (7)

Some advice on the internet recommends sprinkling diatomaceous earth on carpets and pets’ bedding. According to the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), “Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process.”

However, some veterinarians warn that it can harm pets’ respiratory and digestive tracts and advise pet parents to steer clear of using it in areas where pets could inhale or ingest it. If you are interested in using diatomaceous earth to kill fleas and flea eggs, ask your veterinarian about best practices.


Like diatomaceous earth, some people recommend sprinkling salt in areas settled by flea eggs. However, using salt to kill fleas or their eggs is dangerous and ineffective. The amount of salt required to kill flea eggs and larvae is toxic to your dog or cat if he licks it or inhales it.


Vinegar does nothing to kill eggs, but adult fleas despise the taste and smell, so a solution of vinegar and water may assist as a homemade repellent for adult fleas.

(Video) 10 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

In short—flea eggs are a stubborn problem to get rid of, and it can be tempting to try any method possible.

Before you forge ahead, make sure your flea control program is veterinarian-approved and that it addresses the entire flea life cycle, so you can be sure the little bloodsuckers will leave your pets and your family alone for good.


What kills flea eggs instantly? ›

Hot Water. Washing linens and bedding in water that is 140 degrees or hotter will be effective to destroy most flea eggs that have made their way into fabrics and upholstery. Steam cleaning carpets after vacuuming can also help to kill remaining flea eggs.

What does a flea egg infestation look like? ›

They are oval in shape and of a whitish colour. Under a microscope, one can see that flea eggs look like rice grains. Over time, their appearance may change, in terms of colour. From shiny and almost translucent they can become bright and solid white.

What do flea eggs need to survive? ›

Fleas need a relatively humid environment to flourish. Humidity lower than 50 percent and temperatures higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit will kill flea larvae.

Does Dawn kill flea eggs? ›

Does Dawn dish soap kill flea eggs? Dawn dish soap will help rinse flea eggs out of your pet's coat and down the drain, preventing them from hatching out. However, it does nothing to tackle flea eggs that have already rolled off of your pet into your household.

What stops flea eggs from hatching? ›

The methoprene and pyriproxyfen-impregnated collars are virtually 100% effective at preventing new flea eggs from hatching for at least 6 months (essentially season-long) on both dogs and cats.

Does vinegar get rid of flea eggs? ›

Using a DIY flea spray of apple cider vinegar on a rug or dog bed will not kill fleas of any life stage. That's because the acid in vinegar is not strong enough to penetrate the shell of flea eggs or larvae.

What temperature kills flea eggs? ›

Immature fleas, which refers to both flea eggs and larvae, are slightly more susceptible to the cold, dying at temperatures below 55.4°F (13°C). At temperatures below freezing, adult fleas will die even quicker: they will die within 5 days of exposure at temperatures of 30.2°F (-1°C).

What chemical kills fleas and their eggs? ›

The most effective ones contain ingredients such as permethrin, imidacloprid, or dinotefuran that are lethal to the biting adult stage, and an “insect growth regulator” (e.g., methoprene, pyriproxyfen) that halts development of flea eggs and larvae.

How long after flea eggs are laid Do they hatch? ›

After finding an animal or human host and taking a blood meal, adult fleas will mate and begin laying eggs in the fur and surroundings of the host. Eggs will hatch in one to ten days depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

How long can flea eggs survive without hatching? ›

Additionally, unhatched flea larva can lay dormant living inside their flea cocoons for up to five months, or until conditions are optimal to hatch.

Can flea eggs hatch on bed? ›

If your pet has fleas, the eggs may roll off their fur and onto your bed, where they'll hatch.

How long can flea eggs lay dormant before hatching? ›

In humid and hot temperatures, about 50% of the flea eggs may hatch in about 36 hours. In cooler temperatures, flea eggs will take days to hatch. Many flea eggs can lay dormant for weeks to months. As soon as the hot, humid weather arrives, the hatching will increase.

Does sunlight kill flea eggs? ›

Flea eggs and larvae exposed to sunlight will dry out and die. Vacuum. Frequent vacuuming has been shown to reduce up to 95 percent of flea eggs, some larvae and adults, according to Ohio State University Extension.

Does Laundry Detergent kill flea eggs? ›

If you love giving your dog a cuddle in bed or on the couch, launder all bedding and blankets to get rid of fleas and eggs. A normal laundry detergent will be enough to kill any fleas on bedding.

Will a dryer kill fleas? ›

Exposure to heat and soap can kill fleas in all stages of their life cycle, so a dryer cycle alone will likely be inadequate to eliminate your flea population.

Will flea eggs still hatch after treatment? ›

Adult fleas will be killed within a few days but the floor should not be vacuumed, swept or washed for at least two weeks after treatment because there will still be eggs which will continue to hatch.

How do you break the flea cycle? ›

Fleas cannot fly, but they move by jumping from object to object. It can take up to 3 months to break a total flea life cycle by using monthly flea treatments. For indoor flea control, vacuuming all floors, carpets, baseboards, pet bedding and furniture will help remove adult fleas and eggs.

What natural remedy kills flea eggs? ›

Diatomaceous earth is an effective way of drying out and killing flea eggs, to prevent another round of infestation.

Can I spray vinegar on my bed for fleas? ›

If fleas have spread throughout your house, you can make a white vinegar solution with equal parts water and vinegar to spray on carpet, baseboards, furniture and under furniture.

Can you use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar for fleas? ›

Since apple cider vinegar does nothing to address those life stages, it is an ineffective homemade flea spray,” writes Dr. Elfenbein. In short: using vinegar solution or white vinegar on your pet's fur or in their drinking water will not kill fleas.

What do fleas not like? ›

Natural flea repellents such as citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, and geraniol may naturally repel fleas. If your pet doesn't mind a spray bottle, dilute a few drops of your chosen repellent into 10-13 fl oz of water and spray directly onto your pet's coat.

What month do fleas go away? ›

For many states, the most prevalent seasons for fleas and ticks are the spring and summer, or roughly from May through September. For southern and southwestern states, the flea and tick season typically occurs year-round. Extremely high heat will destroy fleas and ticks, as well as their eggs.

What laundry detergent kills fleas? ›

Dawn (and other soaps like it) creates a kind of surfactant, or surface tension, that will compromise the exoskeleton and make adult fleas sink,” he says. So essentially, the soap drowns the fleas.

What time of day are fleas most active? ›

During the day, fleas avoid the sun so they are most active at sunset and least active at sunrise. At dusk, the pests would lay more eggs, respire more, and move around in the yard more. Although the fleas are not completely inactive at any time of the day, they have increased activity at dusk and night.

What kills all stages of fleas? ›

Choose an insecticide that contains both an adulticide (kills adult fleas), such as permethrin, and an insect growth regulator (kills the eggs, larvae, and pupae), such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen.

What is the natural predator of fleas? ›

Ladybugs: these colorful cuties love to feast on soft-bodied bugs like fleas. And did you know? A mature ladybug can eat an average of 50 insects a day! Nematodes: These guys are small worms that feed off flea larvae.

Will vacuuming everyday get rid of fleas? ›

According to extensive studies conducted at Ohio State University, vacuuming is indeed an effective way of getting rid of fleas! Through these studies, scientists discovered that vacuuming killed 96% of adult fleas from carpets and 100% of the flea pupae and larvae.

What percentage of flea eggs hatch? ›

Hatch as larvae in as little as 1 to 10 days. 25% to 30% develop into adult fleas.

How easily do flea eggs spread? ›

Once they've found a host to feed on, they reproduce quickly and their eggs can spread throughout the home before you've even noticed that your pet is scratching more than usual.

How long can flea eggs live in the house? ›

Flea eggs and larvae can survive for anywhere from days up to several weeks on your carpet. Flea larvae, in particular, do very well in the moderate temperatures found indoors, and they can often find plenty of organic matter to feed on in carpeted areas, making these areas optimal for fleas to flourish.

How long can fleas live in a rug without a host? ›

Remember: Adult fleas can live up to two weeks without attaching themselves to a host. So, although females can't reproduce during that time, they still have up to two weeks to find a host and reproduce.

Can flea eggs hatch in carpet? ›

Fleas can remain in carpet without end unless intervention takes place. Due to the eggs falling into the carpet or other animal resting place, the eggs hatch and larvae and pupae can then be found in the carpet. Adult fleas, however, are typically on the animal.

Will fleas go away in winter? ›

As winter arrives, many fleas and their eggs will die. Fleas prefer a temperature of around 75 degrees and are most active at this temperature. As temperatures drop and hover near 50 degrees, fleas can cocoon and stay that way for months. No flea in any stage of development can survive freezing temperatures.

Do flea eggs stick to furniture? ›

Although fleas lay their eggs in your pet's fur, they don't stay there — the eggs don't stick well to your pup's fur or skin, so they drop off easily. Of course, this means that they get on everything, including bedding, carpeting, furniture, between floorboards, and anywhere else your pup goes.

Does flea eggs hatch on furniture? ›

Flea larvae hatch from eggs that were laid by a female flea and have fallen off the animal host. Once away from the host, the larvae seek out shaded locations such as cracks in the floor, in carpets, in pet bedding or protected locations under and in furniture.

What do flea eggs look like after they hatch? ›

Larva - When they hatch from eggs, flea larvae look like tiny worms about 2-5 mm long with a whitish body and pale colored hairs. They feed primarily on flea dirt, which is the blood-filled feces that adult fleas excrete after taking a blood meal.

Why am I still seeing flea eggs? ›

When the temperature and humidity are right flea eggs will be constantly hatching out. New adult fleas will also constantly emerge from the pupae stage when the conditions are right. The new adult fleas will only hatch when a host animal is close by, as they need a blood meal to survive.

What does vinegar do to fleas? ›

While Apple Cider Vinegar does not kill fleas, it may repel them because fleas dislike its smell and taste. One of the most simple ways to use this natural flea repellent is to make a solution out of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water.

What can I spray on my couch to kill fleas? ›

Enforcer Flea Spray For Carpets & Furniture kills fleas, flea eggs, and larvae on carpets and furniture. Prevents flea infestations for up to 4 months Breaks the flea life cycle and stops flea eggs from hatching 1 can treats approximately 115 sq. ft.

Does baking soda kill fleas? ›

Baking soda does not kill adult fleas and will do nothing to protect your pets. It is excellent at absorbing smells and has been suggested by some online pet sites for use as a flea killer because it “may” dry out flea eggs and larvae. But there is no evidence that using baking soda to kill fleas is effective at all.

Does Dawn dish soap kill flea larvae? ›

Does Dawn dish soap kill flea eggs and larvae? Yes, it does. Dawn dish soap can kill flea eggs and larvae. It does so by breaking down their exoskeleton with a chemical compound.

What kills fleas instantly? ›

You want to immediately kill any fleas removed from your pup's fur by dunking them in hot, soapy water. If you try to crush or flush these sneaky insects, they might surprise you with their jumping expertise—they're amazing escape artists. Bathe your pet with warm water and mild soap.

What kills flea eggs and larvae naturally? ›

Wash all bedding in hot, soapy water

For mild infestations, wash your bed sheets in hot soapy water. The soap will kill fleas, while also destroying their eggs and larvae. Consider vacuuming your mattress as well. Don't forget to do the same to your pet's bed.

How do you get rid of a flea infestation overnight? ›

Use baking soda to remove fleas

A fail-safe way to get rid of fleas is to sprinkle baking soda down, give it a rub and then vacuum up any residue. You may have to do this a few times before you remove all the fleas. Pay close attention to the areas where pets sleep, too.

Does baking soda dry out flea eggs? ›

Baking soda does not kill adult fleas and will do nothing to protect your pets. It is excellent at absorbing smells and has been suggested by some online pet sites for use as a flea killer because it “may” dry out flea eggs and larvae. But there is no evidence that using baking soda to kill fleas is effective at all.


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