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How Long Do Fleas Live?

Flea on human skin

Fleas have four stages in their life cycle:

  1. Egg – hatch within 10 days
  2. Larva – develop in 4 to 18 days
  3. Pupa – typically 7 to 19 days, can stay quiescent for 5 to 12 months
  4. Adult – 8 days on short haired hosts. Longer on long haired hosts

The total time for flea the flea lifecycle is typically 29 to 84 days, but can be up to 8 or 15 months if the fleas stay quiescent in the pupa stage of life before they are activated by a host.

Here are some other timeframes for how long fleas can survive in different situations.

Typically, fleas can live in carpet for up to 3 months, due to their lifecycle. But they can reproduce and infest a carpet much longer if they have a host to feed on.

If you have a flea infestation in a house with humans or pets then it’s important to treat the fleas in order to get rid of them. Just waiting them out isn’t likely to work.

How long do fleas live after bombing?

Hot Shot Bed Bug and Flea Fogger

It can take the fleas a few days to die out after a bombing. They can also live in curtains and other areas that the bomb didn’t get to.

In order to get rid of the flea infestation as thoroughly as possible it’s also important to treat any pets that might have fleas.

How long can fleas live without oxygen?

Oxygen tanks against a grey background

Fleas can only survive without air for one to five days. But it’s hard to isolate fleas from oxygen. Fleas don’t drown easily and they can take a good deal of time to die without oxygen.

If you want to eliminate fleas from your pets or your house then there are better methods than trying to suffocate them.

How long can fleas live in an empty house?

Man and woman sitting on the floor of an empty living room with open books, planning

Fleas can live in an empty house for a surprisingly long time. That’s because those fleas can survive in the pupal stage without a host for 5 months to a year.

Once they sense a host they will become active as adult fleas and start the lifecycle all over again.

If you are moving into a house that’s been empty don’t just assume that there will be no fleas. They can reemerge from the pupal stage even if they’ve been dormant for a long time.

How long can fleas live on clothes?

Box of winter clothes

Adult fleas can’t live long on clothes. The lifespan is about 24 hours max.

But fleas can lay eggs on your clothing and if eggs are layed then the fleas can live for two days to two weeks before they hatch.

The good news is that fleas can’t survive the washer and dryer if you are using detergent, so it’s likely that you will just wash the fleas off over time.

How long can fleas live on sheets?

Overhead view of a bed with white sheets and blankets

Fleas prefer to live on hosts, but they will burrow into your bedding if that’s what’s available. Typically if there is no host adult fleas can only survive about 1 to 2 weeks on bedding.

But if you are sleeping in your bed and not treating the fleas then you can keep a flea infestation going on in your sheets for quite a long time.

If you have a flea infestation in your bed, then you need to treat it.

How long can fleas live without a host?

Shaggy red dog isolated on a white background

Most people think of cats and dogs as hosts for fleas, but humans can be hosts as well. If you are living with fleas then they can live on YOU.

But if there is no host around then adult fleas will normally die within 2 weeks. However, if fleas are in your environment in the pupa stage then they can live for up to a year without a host and then emerge when they sense a host.

How long can fleas live in water?

Dog swimming in a pool

You can add a detergent to the water and it will kill fleas almost instantly. That’s why shampooing your dog can help to eliminate adult fleas even if you are using a regular dog shampoo.

The Bottom Line

Family and their dog sitting on the floor under a window, reading a book

Fleas are tough animals and they do a good job surviving in difficult circumstances.

If you have a flea infestation then you can’t just wait them out, because if there is blood around (even yours) they will reproduce and the infestation will just keep going on.

Generally speaking in order to get rid of fleas you need to treat all the infested areas with a product that will kill fleas throughout their entire lifecycle.

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