Can Fleas Survive In Water? (Find Out!)

Fleas often attack dogs, cats, sheep, horses, poultry, and other domestic animals. Flea infestations are common in households. That's because these blood-suckers are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale. 

That explains why fleas tend to prefer some people over others in the same household. Fleas are attracted to people who release more carbon dioxide. 

Additionally, their life cycle makes it hard for homeowners to control fleas using over-the-counter insecticides. 

The most commonly asked question by home and pet owners is, can fleas survive in water? Do fleas drown? Can fleas jump out of water? This article will answer all these questions and provide you with the best home remedies for fleas. 

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So, Can Fleas Survive In Water?

You can't kill fleas by simply dropping them in water. Their biology allows them to survive for up to a week when on the water surface. However, a flea will only survive for a maximum of 24 hours when submerged in water. Though they cannot swim, fleas can jump out of the water and survive drowning. 

Do Fleas Drown?

Water is among fleas' greatest enemies. That's because fleas are horrible at swimming, and they can drown. 

However, the kind of water used will determine whether the fleas will die or not. For instance, some pet owners actually believe that fleas will die once they submerge their dogs or cats in water. Buts that's ridiculous and false. 

Fleas will not die in pure water. Instead, they will float. The surface tension of water allows fleas to float, the same way other pests like mosquitoes do. 

In addition, fleas are perfect jumpers. They have a Resilin positioned slightly above their hind legs. Resilin is believed to be the most elastic substance worldwide, allowing fleas to jump up to 100 times their height. 

Even more interesting, fleas don't die immediately when submerged in water. It's not uncommon for them to survive for up to 24 hours in water. 

So you can't get rid of fleas from your cats or any other pets by submerging them in water for a few minutes. That won't even make a dent in their health.

Why Can't Fleas Drown

Generally, fleas are genetically fitted to survive in water. That's because of the way these mysterious pests are built. 

Fleas naturally repel water thanks to the wax covering their bodies. This outer wax layer is known as cuticles. 

Cuticles repel water and make fleas non-wettable. According to scientists, this cuticle extends to their trachea (fleas 'nose'), preventing water from entering their respiratory system. 

This coating is also slippery, and it's the reason why fleas easily slide through their host's hair or fur.

How To Successfully Drown Fleas 

By now, it's pretty obvious that pure water can't easily kill fleas. Water in its purest form will only kill the annoying creatures when submerged for a whole day or more. 

Luckily, there are many ways to kill fleas much faster using water—the simplest being mixing water with soap. Once you submerge fleas in soapy water, they will die. 

How does soapy water kill fleas? Well, it's pure science. Soap makes the water surface thinner, consequently reducing its surface tension. 

Therefore, the fleas will not float this time. Instead, they will instantly sink and die soon after. 

Wait, what about the wax cuticle? Won't it protect them?

The soap also works to destroy/break the cuticle so that water can now enter the pest's respiratory system and drown it. 

Remember that fleas can jump out of water. So, you want to ensure that your soap does not produce foam. The fleas can easily attach to the foam and jump away when submerging your pet or its beddings. So, consider a soap that does not produce foam. 

Ensure that you submerge your pet all the way to its neck in a bucket of soapy water. Let it stay for at least 2-3 minutes. Take it out for a while, then re-submerge it. Repeat the process up to 3-5 times. 

To ensure even better flea elimination results, wash your pet with an anti-flea shampoo and then rinse it in lukewarm water. Ensure to use a hairdryer as the heat will kill any remaining fleas in the pet's fur. 

But this method may not be practical for bigger pets, floors, and carpets. Fleas hate certain smells like citrus. Combine water with citrus and use it to wash floors and carpets. The smell will repel fleas and prevent them from laying eggs. 

Note that the methods discussed above are holistic and safe for pets, children, and everyone else in the household. 

Will Fleas Drown In A Washing Machine?

Yes. Fleas will die when exposed to high temperatures. You can kill fleas on clothes by washing with warm water. 

Another way to kill the embarrassing creatures is by using a dryer. Dry your clothes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Fleas will die when exposed to temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The Best Home Remedies For Fleas

What do fleas look like? Fleas are small oval-shaped and wingless insects with a thin body protected by a hard shell. Their color can range from brown to reddish-brown. 

Fleas larvae look so much like small maggots, and you will spot them if you inspect your pet bedding closely.

Fleas feed on pets and human blood. They have also been shown to feed on infected rodents, hence spreading diseases like ringworm and tapeworm to their host. There are a variety of natural home remedies to kill fleas:

Garlic: Fleas hate the smell of garlic. Sprinkle some garlic powder on your pet's food to get rid of fleas. Please do not add more than an eighth of a teaspoon to the food, as too much garlic can be toxic to pets. 

  • Salt: Vacuum your house and sprinkle some salt on your carpet and furniture to get rid of fleas.
  • Lemons: Spray some natural lemon juice on beddings, pets, and rugs to eliminate the bugs.
  • Cumin: Cumin works the same as garlic powder, except it is nontoxic. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adding apple cider vinegar in pet water gives it an 'unpleasant smell that fleas cant tolerate. 

When To Seek Help From  A Pest control expert. 

If the infestation is wreaking havoc in your home, the best thing to do is call a flea expert. Experts are trained and experienced when it comes to dealing with fleas. Upon identifying the type and nature of the infestation, the expert will customize an effective plan that eliminates the entire infestation while preventing the chances of future re-infestations. 

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