Managing a flea infestation in your home is bad enough, but finding them in your bed is the stuff of nightmares!
Don’t worry, though; finding fleas in the bed isn’t as common as you think it might be!
Read on to learn why, plus get some tips on managing a flea infestation throughout your home.
Let’s get started!
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How to Manage a Flea Infestation in Your Bed & Beyond
Flea infestation is a nightmare. A total, unmitigated, 9th Circle of Hell nightmare.
Right now, you probably think I mean on your dog, and I do, for sure.
However, I’m also talking about your house.
If you have a dog with fleas, you have a house with fleas. There’s no getting around it.
Even if you don’t see fleas anywhere, they’re in your home, waiting to bite, laying eggs, and generally doing all manner of gross things.
So what is a dog owner to do if they have a flea infestation in their dog, and consequently, in their home?
Well, we’re about to find out.
How Flea Infestation Happens
Before we get into what to do about flea infestations, we need to look at how they happen because they are 100% preventable.
A flea infestation can occur rapidly, and there’s no knowing you have one until it’s in a full-on explosion of flea activity.
You see, fleas are as prolific in their reproductivity as they are in their sneakiness.
Fleas prefer to live on your animals, and they can be hard to spot. They’re very small and very quick.
They’re good at hiding by rapidly moving along your dog’s body if there is any disturbance of the hair, such as owners parting it to look for the little buggers.
In addition to being fast movers, they are fast reproducers.
Female fleas lay eggs in as little as 24 to 36 hours after their first blood meal.
That’s fast enough to rapidly deposit eggs on your dog but slow enough for them to fly under the radar until the outbreak is obvious.
And fleas lay a lot of eggs – up to 40 a day. That’s every day. On top of that, this can go on for up to three months.
That equals a virtual army of fleas.
To make matters worse, flea eggs can hatch in as little as two days.
At first, the larvae actually feed on flea excrement, so in the beginning, you won’t even know that the infestation is happening.
It’s only when those fleas mature and your dog starts to itch like crazy that you’ll realize you have a problem.
How to Spot an Infestation
A couple of fleas are very hard to detect on your dog.
However, once all those eggs start maturing into adult fleas, you’ll know you have an infestation on your hand very quickly.
Your dog will begin scratching and biting at himself a lot.
You also might see him shaking or looking almost like he’s having muscle twitches.
These are all responses to the fleas all over his body taking blood meals from him and leaving incredibly itchy bites.
If any fleas have found their way to your couch, bed, or carpeting- and they probably have by the time you realize you have a problem- another tell-tale sign of a flea infestation will be bites on you.
You’ll have small, red welts randomly placed on your body, but with the majority being around the ankles, and they will itch like fire.
Common Locations for Household Infestations
Because flea eggs aren’t sticky, they roll around on your dog and drop off of him on to any surface on which he might be sitting or lying.
Although fleas prefer to live on your dog, he’s a walking meal ticket, after all, they are also commonly found in the carpet, where it’s nice and secluded.
They get down into the bottom of the carpet and then jump out onto either your dog or a family member when they get close.
Honorable mentions go to the bed, living room furniture, and your dog’s bed, although in this case, the infestation is relegated to mostly eggs or larvae, as adult fleas will actively seek out a blood host.
Adult fleas won’t stay on beds or couches long-term because they need food, however, their eggs and larvae will.
Getting Rid of Flea Infestation in Your Bed & Beyond
There are several steps to ridding your home from a flea infestation. It’s an involved process.
Fleas are small and quick, and it can take some time to completely remove them from the home.
Get Your Dog Treated
The very first thing you need to do is get your dog treated.
He is the host – the home base if you will – for all the fleas in the house.
So the first thing you have to do is take the ability to feed off of him out of the equation.
Always take your dog to the vet and get him veterinarian-approved flea and tick preventative.
These preventatives are almost 100% effective and will begin killing fleas on your dog in as little as three hours depending on what your vet prescribes.
In most cases of flea infestations, your vet will recommend Capstar, as it is the most fast-acting product on the market.
Don’t fall into the trap of looking for holistic remedies.
While using all-natural products is indeed a good thing in many cases, it’s not in the case of flea infestation.
Fleas are incredibly difficult to kill – their eggs even more so. Holistic or OTC flea and tick preventatives just do not work.
Don’t fall for cheaper flea bath treatments, either.
Remember when I said fleas are fast? A flea bath is when you’ll really see that.
You’ll begin washing your dog, and the next thing you know, all the fleas are on his head and/or jumping off of him onto your floor – and probably you – to get away from the water.
It’s imperative that you use a vet-recommended product so that you can immediately begin addressing the root cause of your issue.
DON’T Get Your Dog Off of the Furniture
Right now you’re probably thinking, “What?! That’s nuts! My dog is full of fleas!”
You’re right, he is, and in this instance we want him to be.
The more fleas that get on your dog after he’s been treated, the more fleas that die.
He’s already been a walking flea factory all over your bed and furniture for weeks.
Getting him off now won’t accomplish anything except limit how many fleas he can kill.
This is a trick I learned from my boss while working at the vet. It’s counterintuitive, but it helps kill more fleas faster.
If any rogue fleas are on your furniture, your bed, or his bed, allowing him to continue to be on those items will attract them to him, where they’ll take a meal and subsequently die.
It might sound gross, but it’s no grosser than the previous weeks.
Get Rid of Flea Eggs, Larvae, and Dead Fleas
Flea preventatives work by killing fleas after they bite your dog. The fleas ingest the product via your dog’s blood.
Modern-day flea preventatives also have a growth-inhibiting action that prevents eggs and larvae from maturing.
That being said, you don’t want a bunch of flea eggs and larvae all over your home.
Also, you’ll probably have dead flea bodies all over the place from the Capstar your dog was just treated with.
That means it’s time to get out the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum every surface in your home thoroughly, even the hard surfaces.
Remember, the inhibitor only works on eggs and larvae that are on your dog.
That means that any eggs and larvae on your carpet, bed, furniture, or anywhere else are all just waiting to mature.
Vacuum every surface in every room, even in rooms where your dog may not go just to be safe.
After vacuuming, thoroughly clean every surface, both fabric and hard, with a product designed to kill fleas, eggs, and larvae.
Some people recommend diatomaceous earth. It kills fleas and it’s all-natural.
Don’t worry. You won’t be sprinkling dirt all over your home.
It’s actually a fine white powder, so it’s more like sprinkling your carpet with those carpet cleaning powders you see at your local store.
The caveat here is that it can take several days to fully work.
If you don’t want to wait that long, another option is using a steam cleaner.
After thoroughly vacuuming all your surfaces, including the furniture and mattress, use a steam cleaner with a hand attachment to deep clean all your surfaces.
Use the upright cleaner to do all of your carpets and hard floors, as well.
You need to wash everything. Wash all clothing, bed linens, and your dog’s doggy bed cover.
In addition, rather than vacuuming and steam cleaning your couch cushion covers, remove them and wash those, as well.
If anything was worn or used during the flea infestation, wash it.
Use hot water and the full amount of detergent acceptable by your machine. Flea infestations are no time for half-measures.
Flea Infestation in Your Bed FAQ
Before we sign off, refer to this quick flea infestation FAQ to answer a few questions regarding the bedroom.
Even though I’ve touched on the fact that fleas really don’t want to live on a bed, most people are most concerned about this.
What happens if my dog sleeps with me and has fleas?
You will almost certainly have flea bites as the fleas move around your dog and the bed.
In addition, your bedding will be home to flea eggs and larvae.
What are fleas in bed signs?
The surest sign that you have fleas in your bed will be bites on your body.
These are sporadically placed and are incredibly itchy. Bedbug bites don’t always itch, and they are found clustered together.
Can fleas live in memory foam mattresses?
Fleas can live anywhere, but they don’t choose to live on or in mattresses or furniture.
They want to be on your dog where they always have a meal readily available.
Should I Use Flea Powder for Bed?
You don’t need to do that.
Fleas don’t choose to live on beds and furniture, and your mattress is already covered by a fitted sheet.
How to get rid of fleas in bed naturally?
Because fleas don’t actually live on the bed, and especially aren’t attracted to mattresses which are devoid of cover and a walking meal, getting rid of them is simply a matter of washing your sheets, thoroughly vacuuming the mattress, and steam cleaning with a wand attachment.
Prevent Future Flea Infestation
Getting rid of flea infestations is so much work, and it’s completely preventable.
All you need to do is give your dog flea and tick preventative every month.
This virtually eliminates the possibility of any flea infestations in the future.
In addition, it’s healthier for your dog because these preventatives also address other parasitic creatures like worms.
Once your dog has been given his initial dose of flea and tick preventative as the first step to addressing your flea infestation, leave him on it every month to prevent any further infestations.