More than a half of an entire flea population is made up of eggs and larvae. And for every adult flea you kill, there’s one or more of those eggs that can replace it. So, it’s safe to say that exterminating flea eggs is your key to getting rid of all the fleas in your house. And what better strategy is there than to learn everything about them first?
Flea eggs mark the start of a flea’s life cycle. CC Image courtesy of Zsoldos Márton on Wikipedia.
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What do flea eggs look like?
Flea eggs are 0.5 mm in length and 0.3 mm in width. They’re no bigger than sugar or salt crystals, so from our normal point of view, these eggs look like tiny sand grains.
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Up close, flea’s eggs are oval-shaped. According to Flea Science, they look white and translucent when they’re first laid, but they turn opaque and pearly after a while. And contrary to other insect eggs, a flea’s egg is not covered in wax. Its chorion, the egg’s external layer, is what makes it look smooth and shiny.
The egg also doesn’t do a very good job of sticking to where it’s been laid. That’s why fleas tend to spread everywhere. Their eggs get accidentally dropped off by their moving hosts.
How many eggs are laid each day?
The exact number of flea eggs deposited each day depends on the species and the conditions they are born in. But the total number of eggs a female can lay in a lifetime can range from a hundred to even thousands.
However, we can estimate that these bugs can have 20 to 40 eggs per day. Approximately, that could be 1 egg for every hour.
Once a female flea gets enough blood, it’ll be able to lay eggs after 24 hours. But there’s a catch. It has to mate with a male flea. Otherwise, those eggs won’t hatch. It’s only after a male and a female mate that viable eggs would be produced.
Additionally, there’s a “peak season” for egg laying. For Flea Science, this is the time that egg production increases. It happens 4 to 9 days after a female flea’s first consumption of blood. During this time, they can deposit up to 46 eggs a day.
How long do they live?
Eggs need around 2 days to 2 weeks to hatch. Inside houses, they generally live for 2 to 3 days before the larvae come out.
They also need the right conditions to do it. Moist and warm environments have eggs that hatch faster than the ones deposited in cold dry places.
Do flea eggs go dormant?
There’s a common misconception that flea’s eggs go dormant. Some homeowners believe that these insect eggs go to “sleep” when they’re dropped in conditions that don’t suit them, only hatching when the time is right.
Judging by the time these eggs hatch, it’s easy to believe this. However, these eggs aren’t aliens that know how to do the complex process of suspended animation. So, there’s no such thing as dormant flea eggs. There are only dead ones.
Flea’s eggs die when they’re deposited in areas that are either too cold or too dry. They’re actually vulnerable to environmental forces like the temperature and humidity. They even die outside when it’s winter, especially when it drops below 55.4°F (13°C).
What can go dormant is the adult flea. Fleas that are about to mature get into a dormant phase when it cocoons itself during pupation. This usually lasts 7 to 10 days before the flea comes out.
How do you get rid of flea eggs?
Dealing with these insect eggs is the same as getting rid of fully grown fleas. You just have to focus on the places where they’re usually dropped off.
And these are some of the best treatments you can use:
- Precor 2000. Your best bet is Precor. This flea killer is not a pesticide. It’s an effective Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that targets the pre-adult fleas in your home. It works by inhibiting eggs and larvae from reaching their adult stage, steadily wiping off the flea population in your house.
- Vacuuming. Vacuuming your carpet and your hardwood floors can get rid of the eggs. But you have to remember to seal and get rid of the bag immediately after vacuuming. Stragglers might come back and invade your house again.
- Thorough cleaning. Aside from vacuuming, do a thorough cleaning of your floor covers and beddings since most eggs are deposited there. You can also invest in a steam cleaner to sanitize your carpet.
- Diatomaceous earth. This is an environmentally friendly option that kills fleas by damaging them from the inside. Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance that can suck the moisture from the eggs. Just sprinkle the powder on places where you think have a lot of flea eggs
So since flea eggs can’t move, getting rid of them is easier than exterminating their adult counterparts. All you have to do is learn about them – how they look, what they need to survive and when they’re most vulnerable – and you can finally make your house inhabitable for them and maybe even for all kinds of fleas.