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How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Pet’s Bedding

By Chris Williams on August 11, 2014.

I know that one of the sources for fleas in a home is the pet’s bedding, but I don’t know what to do about it. Will washing or vacuuming the bedding kill fleas? N. T., Medway, MA

fleas in pet bedsIt’s not the adult fleas that are found in your pet’s bed (or the sofa, or wherever your pet sleeps), it’s the flea larvae and eggs that develop there. Adult fleas remain on the animal but eggs fall off of your pet. Logic means that most of the eggs will end up where your pet spends most of its time, usually wherever it sleeps. When the eggs hatch, the legless larvae remain pretty much in the same place. Since they feed on feces excreted by adult fleas, there is plenty of food right there in your pet’s bed.

How to Check for Flea Larvae

You can check your pet’s bedding for evidence of fleas. Flea larvae are very small, but visible. The larvae and eggs are white and the specks of adult flea feces mixed in with them are black. With the naked eye, infested pet bedding will look like it has been sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Vacuuming Good; Laundering Better

If your pet usually sleeps in its own bed, your job is easier than if your pet rests in many places around your home. Hopefully that bed is washable material. Before you move the bedding (and dislodge the eggs and larvae into your carpet!), vacuum it thoroughly to remove as many eggs and larvae as possible. While vacuuming does not usually remove all flea larvae, it works pretty good for removing eggs and the flea feces that the larvae feed on. While you’re at it, vacuum any other places where your pet rests, too. Be sure to discard the vacuumed material in a sealed bag.

If possible, launder your pet’s bedding, or the sofa throw, pillows, or the area rug…anything that the pet lays on frequently…in the hottest water that the item can take without damage. If the item is dryable, put it in the dryer on the hottest setting that it can take. Washing and drying bedding at hot temperatures with soap will kill all flea stages. Dry the item outside in the sun if it can’t be placed in a dryer.

Steam cleaning will kill flea larvae and is a good option for items that can’t be washed.

Don’t Forget the Other Parts of a Flea Control Program

Ridding your pet’s bedding of flea larvae and eggs should be only one part of a successful flea control program. You also need to have your pet treated for fleas to kill the adult fleas, and you need to have an exterminator treat your home to kill any stray eggs and larvae. If you skip one of these steps, your chances of getting rid of the fleas in your home are slim.

Give Colonial Pest a call. Our technicians know how to find flea hot spots in your home and can advise you on steps to take to keep your home flea-free.

Photo credit: jurvetson / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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